I sneaked backstage at a fashion show!

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Ever felt the urge to break into the backstage of a fashion show and see what on earth goes on behind that runway? Well, worry no more-I’ve done it for you. And I didn’t get caught.

Behind the scenes; behind the spotlight

As some of you already know, for the past few months, I’ve been working for Korea Style Week, which is the more accessible, B2B(buyer-to-buyer) version of Seoul Fashion Week. This season’s Style Week took place in COEX(in Gangnam, Seoul) a few days ago, and I was invited(obviously, I worked for them). I’ve been to Korea Style Week a few times before, once two years ago having to sneak out during class to see the Korean designer Ko Tae yong (see post by young Konni about it here). I’ve evolved a lot since then, since I no longer have to sneak around to go to fashion events lest people should mock (everyone close to me now is very supportive of my fashion career). BUT on Sunday, I had the chance to feel that tingling feeling of secretly tiptoeing around to get a more intimate glimpse into fashion. I sneaked backstage during the Korea Style Week runway show!

I figured if I got caught I could pull out the ‘I worked for the Korea Style Week blog!’ card, although I think even so I wasn’t supposed to actually go backstage during the fashion shows.

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(this was the entrance.)

Okay, deep breath, I tell myself. This is going to be a fun adventure! I’ll just keep exploring until I get kicked out. After all, no one in the fashion world succeeds by following the rules, if there even are any, right? The moment I entered, I just saw a bunch of makeup artists lounging around with their phones, looking pretty bored. I walked past them, nodding and smiling as if to say ‘yeah, I’m just one of you guys, keep working, don’t mind me!’ (They stared for a while, probably because judging from my shortness and chubbiness they made out that I wasn’t one of the models, but I didn’t look chic enough to be one of the designers, so who was I? But they turned back to their phones.)

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(backstage. succeeded in entering without looking too weird.)

The first thing I noticed backstage was the models. Oh what beautiful, unrealistic creatures models are.

No matter how lovely, unique, or bursting with personality a model is, there’s one collective aura that they all share in common, and that’s the aura of intimidation. Even though it’s not the first time I’ve talked to a real live one(yes, the nuance IS that they’re a different species) I can’t help but give away my nervousness in the subtle tremor of my voice or my awkward smile as I ask for them to pose for a photo. Physical traits do certainly influence human interaction, I think, as I bend my knees, tilting my head to eye those long limbs through an old Canon Rebel.

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(models running around in heels, backstage. pretty artistic shot, no?)

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(It was scary to even ask them to pose; they were all at least 20cms taller than me in those heels)

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(a model making sure she’s ready to get on stage. I wonder how it would feel to look in the mirror when you’re a model. I wonder if they look at themselves and take their bodies apart, criticizing themselves for their physical flaws like most of us do.)

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Overall it was pretty hectic; after all, the main objective here is to GET THE MODELS ON STAGE, ON TIME, LOOKING FLAWLESS. No one really payed much attention to me because they were all busy doing their own thing, playing their part to keep the show running. It’s not as glamorous a process as I thought it would be.

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(the runway seems a lot more accessible and familiar from this perspective. Just a few stairs and you’re on the magical fashion pedestal.)

When the models are all lined up and the show starts to heat up, it gets quieter backstage because everyone’s so focused on monitoring the show. The director was constantly running to and fro, waving a bunch of papers with the show schedule and details around. She had a pretty intense look on her face, and she was busy talking to each person about precisely what they were supposed to do at exactly what time.

But of course, none of this frenzy is reflected on the actual runway. All we usually get to see is the models calmly doing the catwalk, looking like they’ve got their stuff together.

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(The outfits were colorful and totally weird, but I like weird.)

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(and then there are the people that have to sit and take care of all the digital stuff, lighting, sound, photography etc.)

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After getting a few shots of the models and the people that do all the digital, techno-work (bless those people! no one ever seems to notice them but they work so hard to put important parts of the fashion show together), I wandered around to observe everything else.

A box filled with ‘밥버거'(rice burgers; a pretty popular snack/meal here in Korea. They’re literally burgers with rice instead of bread.) at the entrance raised my eyebrows; I thought models didn’t eat fatty foods, especially during show season. But then a scene from The September Issue where a pin-thin model cheekily looks at the camera during a shoot and eats pie(pie! The ultimate carb-filled, gluten-loaded, evil food! I’m being sarcastic.) comes to mind, reminding me that we’re all human and should all be let off the hook to eat whatever we want sometimes. (And I enjoyed that thought as I munched on my Burger King burger after the show. I have an unhealthy relationship with their long chicken burger.)

I was trying to get a shot of the rice burgers to show you guys when I was interrupted by something much more intriguing-A BACKSTAGE MODEL FIGHT! Well, okay, it wasn’t a fight, it was just a conflict. But I was still excited. I witnessed a model surrounded by girls, shouting to another model across the corridor about something related to the sequence that they were supposed to do on the runway. The atmosphere turned from hectic and lively to serious-mode, and I heard some of the staff trying to figure out what to do with the runway sequence. “We can’t have the lights turn off without the model on stage!”, I remember the stage director saying. I’d imagined model fights to be much more physical or loud, but from my experience(of sitting around on the big black electric sound boxes(amplifiers?) for an hour or so-yeah, I know, such a foundation to judge) conflicts backstage were more…civilized.

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Amid the messy stacks of clothes and hangers and personal belongings of staff members, there was another large group of humans, other than models, that intimidated me. The designers. These were the people that I was actually dying to talk to, rather than the models. I love talking to people about their creative process and inspiration for their craft; believe me, talking to someone about their art really reveals a lot about a person’s life values and perspectives. However, as busy as they were, they looked so immersed in the show, making sure their creations were properly represented to the public eye, that I just couldn’t get myself to pop their ‘bubble’ of concentration. What I did get to to, though, was ask a designer for a photo and exchange blog addresses! Hopefully I’ll get to properly have a separate conversation with her soon.

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(designers dress fabulously, obviously.)

As thrilling and exciting being backstage a fashion show is, sneaking around gets exhausting after a while. I went out to enjoy the many exhibitions by brands.

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A brand called LUVX seemed to be the main show here. They had a giant, weird booth in the middle of the whole exhibition hall and are actually pretty well-known among younger Koreans, considering the fact that I’ve seen their designs before, and I’m usually the last person to know about new hot Korean brands that idols are seen wearing.

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Walking around on my favorite dirty old pair of Skechers, I saw some designs (and people) that I really liked.

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(She caught my eye because she was tan, unlike most Korean fashion-conscious people these days (everyone here dotes on the classic pale Asian face), and because she had mint-blue highlights on the hair beneath her ears.

“So you’re here all day?”

“Yeah, you can take shifts but I don’t have a partner here so I’ve taken care of this booth each day, all day.”

“Isn’t it hard?”

“It’s doable. But don’t take pictures too close up; I haven’t got any makeup on.”)

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(I have no idea what ‘IRONY PORN’ means and, honestly, I really don’t want to find out)

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(model off duty!)

Overall, last Sunday was a glorious day filled with fun, thrill, and awe…which left me with sore feet and utter exhaustion (I’m usually a total insomniac but I fell straight asleep after coming home from Korea Style week), but that’s okay because it was a meaningful experience, both in terms of my fashion career and my life as a whole.

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And speaking of my fashion career, I’ve started working on my eBay partnership this week!

Wouldn’t be possible without you readers. I love you!

Working for Korea Style Week and my eBay partnership

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(Korea Style Week started today! I’m excited to go and meet Kim Na-young this weekend…)

I slyly added ‘working for Korea Style Week’ to my profile, but I never really got the chance to explain the whole experience to you guys, so I decided –since it’s all hot and stuffy and my air conditioner is broken (ugh) and so my brain is incapable of coming up with new ideas for blog projects at the moment– I’d take this chance to talk about the stuff I’m doing while running this blog and what opportunities I’m faced with at the moment. I feel like, as readers, you guys have the right to know what’s happening.

I’m working as an editor (part of the ‘supporters’ program) for Korea Style Week, which is the biggest fashion fair in Korea. Numerous fashion brands get together and show off their latest collections through runway shows and exhibitions, and well-known fashion designers, models, and celebrities are invited to talk about their work and interact with the public (Kim Na-young is coming this time so I’m super excited!). But now it sounds like I’m advertising so I’ll shut up. It’s basically a few days of Korean fashionistas gathering to celebrate fashion that’s actually accessible, not arrogantly exclusive.

I’m the youngest one on the Korea Style Week team, so I was nervous at first but I’m actually having a great time! I write posts for the official Korea Style Week blog(in Korean-I’m told that my Korean writing is extremely awkward…maybe it’s because I’m so used to writing about fashion in English?), I promote participating brands online, I go to the hottest(both figuratively and literally-I WAS SWEATING LIKE A DONKEY) places in Gangnam(obviously you’ve heard of Gangnam…style) with other editors/photographers to get street style shots, and I translate press releases, newsletters, and business proposals. The translating is way harder than I expected. It turns out I can be fluent in Korean and English respectively but I’m still slow at switching from one to the other. I enjoyed the whole experience though and I feel like it’ll help me in the future.

I’ve also just become an eBay affiliate! I’m excited about this too because ePN(eBay Partnership Network) is one of the biggest programs for bloggers out there so this is definitely going to be the start of a whole line of new experiences. So much to work on this summer! : )

Dear Future Me

Dear future me,

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You’re the person I am forced to live each day for, the name I’m choked up to my throat with when I fail to be diligent, the face that I pray will hold a prettier, more confident smile, the winner’s smile; the type that can ‘light up a whole room’ instead of be judged by boys that won’t even remember my name. You’re the hound that lives under my bed and inside my covers when I sleep, keeping me up until 4am, just prodding at my chest, my twitching spine, on my eyelids shut so firmly to just convince myself for a millisecond that maybe I’m mistaken- maybe, just maybe, you will come kindly. But I open my eyes again, first slowly but now immediately because I have more to lose than before, and in that moment, as I shudder and tug my covers closer to my twisted stomach and racing heart, I know with every fiber of my being that you will not come to me. You do not love me yet. I am told that I must live for you and chase you until I reach you. Then you’ll love me for the things I’ve done.

It’s a crazy thing, living for someone. Living for you entails sacrifices that I’m never ready to make and the type of selflessness and patience that I know I don’t have. We’ve both heard it one too many times, not to let someone become your everything. It’s dangerous. Every sign you give me, whether it’s a shift of your eyeballs inside their squeaky-clean sockets as I imagine you looking me in the face or the sound of your laughter reminding me that I have a purpose, resonates inside the neurons of my brain and threatens to block everything else out of my vision. But future me, that’s not how I am, so it hurts! It hurts to say no to painting all night with black coffee and Rachel Yamagata on repeat! It hurts to sacrifice the immediate adventures beckoning for me in every corner and the non-adventures telling me to sleep a little longer, ‘what more is there to life, anyways?’. It hurts that we don’t even know each other and maybe never will, though I still am obligated to chase after you, laughing in my hopefulness all the while like a fool, but that’s the only way I know to live. And for that I will always hate you.

But, then again, how could I ever truly hate you? You force me to hold back hot tears when I hear my mother’s ill voice on the phone, the sound of her voice telling . You force me to brush that boy out of my head to focus on my work to make sure I don’t lose you. All those mornings back in when I used to wake up feeling like I wanted to die because of the obsessive-compulsive disorder that made me do every action over, and over, and over again bring me back to you because whenever my mind and body tried to betray me, I knew you would always be there in whatever form.

One day you’ll stop for a while, turn around, and see me standing there right behind you with weary grey eyes with asymmetric wrinkles carved on the sides and a crooked smile showing the black void in my mouth where my yellow teeth used to be. And then you’ll finally take the timid step toward my body and greet me and congratulate me with a kiss, sucking the remaining few wisps of life out of me. And then we will be in total harmony and unity and I will know that I have caught up with you after a lifetime of mad, wonderful obsession.

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The royal family-approved shoemakers, Crockett and Jones!

Iris Apfel once said, ‘If your hair is done properly and you’re wearing good shoes, you can get away with anything.’

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Lowndes, Dark Brown Calf, by Crockett and Jones, as seen on British GQ February 2014

Though it’s (obviously) a stretch, a neat appearance is extremely important. That’s why we have dress codes(although, these days so many dress codes are just crossing the damn line) and get all posh-ed up for job interviews or meetings. Basically, inevitably we do dress to impress -and I say Iris Apfel was right about the importance of wearing good shoes. Although they unfortunately won’t let you get away with anything, with a pair of good shoes you might just get that girl/guy from your class that you’ve been meaning to ask out and have been dressing properly for, or that job that that annoying girl/guy (aka your rival) from your team has also applied for, or just your co-workers’ approval(don’t deny you want it). Whatever it may be, a pair of fabulous shoes can only bring good into your life because shoes are the ultimate style item to wrap up your overall look. Which is why you need to get good shoes-the best of the best! The ‘royal family and James Bond and GQ-approved’ ones! Well, don’t worry- I’ve got you covered. ; )

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(James Bond wearing Crockett and Jones’ Black Calf shoes,

photo © United Artists, Danjaq LLC, Columbia Pictures)

I thought that today I’d bring you guys some amazing handmade shoes, from the well-known traditional British footwear brand, Crockett and Jones. (Well I mean I’m still only a student myself so as much as I’d love to buy you all shoes, I can’t… but you can order them online HERE). They’ve been featured on major magazines like GQ and Esquire multiple times, they’ve got a long, award winning (one of them being the Queen’s Award!) tradition and luxury stores in not only England but also the US, Paris, and Belgium, and they’re loved by fashionistas all over the world-including the royal family and, apparently, James Bond in the SKYFALL movie(see photo above)!

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CROCKETT & JONES – MAKERS OF THE FINEST ENGLISH LEATHER SHOES

“Founded in 1879 in Northampton, at the heart of England’s most famous shoemaking town, Crockett & Jones specialise in the manufacture of high quality Goodyear-welted footwear. For men there are 3 ranges produced by Crockett & Jones: Hand Grade, Main Line and Shell Cordovan. For women, we also have a new collection of low-heeled shoes and boots.

As a 5th generation family managed business, Crockett & Jones is committed to maintaining the highest standards of traditional craftsmanship, quality and service which have been appreciated by their customers for more than 135 years.”

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Approved by the Prince of Wales himself! : D

Honestly, I’ve never seen more traditionally preppy shoes that manage to be so unique and tasteful at the same time. Usually formal shoes look like they were selectively picked out from the most dreary funerals of the darkest of the darkest of times in the history of Europe or something, but the men’s and ladies’ collections from Crockett and Jones are both incredible (and even my crazy modern mind loves them).

Me being me, I couldn’t resist picking out a few favorites to show you guys.

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Angel, from the Crockett and Jones’ ladies’ collection.

I personally adore the fuschia.

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Cranford 3, Black Calf, from the Crockett and Jones’ men’s collection.

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Alexis from the Crockett and Jones ladies’ collection.

I love the design and the color, and these remind me of Alice in Wonderland.

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Aintree 2, from the Crockett and Jones men’s collection.

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Butterfly, from the Crockett and Jones ladies’ collection.

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Union Jack, from the Crockett and Jones men’s collection.

Okay, I know this is from the men’s collection but fudge that I am getting these.

Now come on. They’re adorable! If you didn’t like what I picked out here, no worries-this is only the beginning. They have a huge range of shoes you can choose from, made of different high-quality materials and of varying styles and colors, and they’re ALL super durable, so you won’t be needing new shoes again after these!

You can check them out here: MEN’S COLLECTION  ㅣ  LADIES’ COLLECTION

Tell me what you think in the comments below!

Interview with the editor of Pictorial Project: How she created the biggest fashion project of Korea

My 6 centimeter heels pounding on the hot pavement of the thriving Apgujeong neighborhood in Gangnam with its upbeat music blasting out of clothing stores on every block, I frantically adjusted my tattered plaid blouse and military-style jacket, cursing as I tried to wipe a smudge of Nesquik chocolate milk off my tights. I remember muttering “Oh **** Konni stop being so unprofessional,” every two minutes as I ran into a small path packed with indie clothing stores and Korean makeup shops and finally got to Coffee Arco, where I was supposed to meet Dahee Jung, the editor of the Korean fashion magazine Pictorial Project. (For those of you that don’t know, Pictorial Project is Korea’s biggest independent fashion photography project magazine.)

Having taken two crazy taxi rides to get there straight after class, my once neatly-combed hair was looking like a mound of garden weed and I could feel my makeup clinging off my sweat(gross, I know. Note to self-please, please bring a mirror to next interview meeting). Anyhow, I had gotten there, and as I took a deep breath and scanned the vintage-style cafe for the slim, dressed-in-black, mysterious-looking, twenty-something Pictorial Project magazine editor I had met back at the 5th Korea Style Week, I saw her in the corner, reading the latest issue of Avenue magazine with a cold latte in hand.

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Absolutely stunning.

In her 4th year of university, she’s already the editor of a fashion magazine.

Unlike me, Dahee ‘unni’(a Korean term used when a girl refers to an older girl) was calm and poised, and I thought, “That’s how I wanna be when I go to university”-chic, independent, and open to new talent and new ideas(in this case, myself, as a young fashion blogger in the Korean fashion scene). Clumsily taking out my papers and voice recorder, I smiled nervously and started to ask Dahee unni about Pictorial Project and her fashion career journey.

“I knew I loved fashion, but I was skeptical of whether I had any real talent, so I made Pictorial Project to test my limits.”

PP was born in 2013 on Facebook! Dahee unni got together with about 40 people on Facebook who were interested in her personnel recruit post. Hearing this, I obviously had to ask-HOW? Unni, how did you get 40 people to work for your project when you were completely new to the industry? To this she replied, “Although we have an overflow of fashion projects right now, at the time there weren’t many project group businesses in the fashion field to begin with, so we had a fresher approach. I thought, ‘There must be other people out there with dreams similar to mine who are looking for that certain confirmation to carry on.’ ” What I found interesting about Pictorial Project as a magazine is that it didn’t actually start out as a magazine! Yup, that’s right-it wasn’t supposed to be a magazine, but rather a collection of photos that Dahee unni and her team of friends had worked on. Literally, a ‘Pictorial’ ‘Project’.

“And then we started to get offers from bookstores like Kyobo(the biggest bookstore line in Korea) that wanted to sell our stuff,”

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Volume 4 of Pictorial Project recently got completely sold out in bookstores in Korea, and now Pictorial Project is on a two-month renewal in order to provide their readers with even more artistic goodness. When I asked about it, Dahee unni calmly explained that ever since the start of Pictorial Project, so many other project-based fashion groups have been on the rise, and all of them have started converging toward the same theme and the same goal. After the 2-moth renewal period, Pictorial Project will be back with Volume 5, and there will be more copies for a wider range of readers(D:”My original targeted reader base was people already working in the field, but most of our actual sales are made by high school or university students who are pursuing a future in the fashion industry.”), and start being distributed as a web-zine too. However, the original overall style of the magazine will not be changing any time soon, says Dahee unni- “Pictorial Project doesn’t really have one main style. We’re just a mix of a bunch of things from different designers and photographers, and as a team we’re all about respecting everyone’s individuality. I think it’s what makes us unique!”

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“FASHION X ART: We care about artistic sensitivity, more than anything.

“We focus on blending fashion and art together, rather than just showing readers what the latest trend is and what they should wear this season. I guess you could say we literally are more of a pictorial than an actual fully-functioning magazine. Also, we don’t usually work with brands or designers that are already super-famous. We work mainly with independent designers that are new to the fashion scene, to give them a platform to showcase their work.”

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‘What if a vegetarian works at the butcher’s?’

“I try to create fresh, original images based on the most random, craziest ideas. For example, one day I might wake up and think, ‘What if a vegetarian works at the butcher’s?’ and voila, there’s my next photoshoot. But then again I must admit that you can never truly create images that people have never ever seen before; different images go round and round and we see similar things again and again like with trends. It’s just a new individual perspective on the image.”

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Dahee unni at work

“Passion pay”

a Korean term to describe receiving little or no pay for one’s work;

a term recently increasingly used to describe the Korean fashion industry

“I used to get a few people here and there being worried for my future, questioning how I was going to make money with just fashion. The fashion industry is infamous for being tough; lots of people start off at the bottom of the ladder and get paid measly amounts of money. ‘Passion pay’ in Korea was also recently a huge issue… but I don’t think anyone around me really was totally against me working in the fashion industry. Everyone that knows me knows I’m an energetic, active person who likes to roam around and work.”

Near the end of our interview, we shared a lot of ideas about the Korean fashion industry (since we’re both a part of it). I couldn’t help but nod enthusiastically, once again realizing the importance of having a clear outlook on the fashion industry to be successful in it. She said, I think the Korean fashion industry is the most interesting in the world. We’re so extremely sensitive to the latest trends and what other people are wearing, so people tend to consume fashion extremely fast, even though we’re not even one of the 5 major global fashion districts. The problem here is that when people consume fast, they’re also quick to throw clothes away. So many people buy cheap clothes from indie brands or street stores and get rid of them when they go out of style. No one seems to wear anything for a long time, like people used to do in the past.”

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“You mean magazines like Vogue, Cosmo, Elle, and W?”

Dahee unni sipped the last of her iced latte, smiling with her eyes, as I asked her about her views on mainstream magazines. I was genuinely curious of what someone who ran an artistic, individuality-based magazine would think of magazines that are targeted toward a more ‘popular’ and trend-based audience. Dahee unni was surprisingly very positive about all types of magazines, and I listened in awe, thinking ‘that’s how I want to be when I grow up’.

ME: “The fashion industry, especially the magazine sector, is under fire for promoting unrealistic body images and lookism standards, and I sometimes have friends that look down on fashion magazines because of their ‘lack of quality content’. What’s your stance on the whole issue?”

DAHEE UNNI: “You mean magazines like Vogue, Cosmopolitan, Elle, and W? I used to buy them and read through them when I was a kid and it would be really confusing. I would read a column in Vogue and be like, ‘the parade of a facade of luxury based on the latest trend which is… err what?’ And then I’d pick up a Cosmo and it would have so many different articles about different topics from celebrity gossip to a sophisticated piece on traditional Chanel eyeliner on the Paris runway and I’d never know what to read. But my thoughts changed completely after becoming an editor of a magazine myself. I began to understand fashion magazines properly. I think that while Vogue tends to stick to a certain concept or theme, Cosmopolitan also has it’s own style and it’s own story to tell. Every magazine shows what they can express best, and sometimes that just happens to be in line with modern beauty standards or the latest trends. And plus, there are lots of types of magazines… If you’re still young and need to read Vogue Girl but you’re reading Avenue, then you’re not really going to get much out of it. Similarly, if you want to see alternative artsy styles, you don’t look for it in Cosmopolitan.”

ME: “Hmm. That’s actually a really interesting point of view. So you don’t think there are any drawbacks with current..mainstream magazines?”

DAHEE UNNI: “Well, as a person who reads about five different magazines every month, I think there’s definitely a situation where each magazine is failing to be unique. Magazines that are more commercial tend to all have similar content, like what the latest trends are, how to get the guy/girl, what the latest beauty tips and tricks are, etc. I reckon it’s because magazines nowadays are desperate to fill up quantity, to make it sell.”

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The Pictorial Project team working on a photoshoot

“You’re doing it wrong, you’re going to fail,”

To wrap up the interview, I asked Dahee unni for a bit of personal advice on how to make in the fashion world.

ME: “Since I go to a foreign language high school, some around me are surprised when I tell them I’m going to be a fashion magazine editor because it’s an uncommon dream for someone in my situation. Some people even tell me not to pursue fashion! What should I do?”

DAHEE UNNI: “I think that times have changed A LOT since the last generation. People used to have to follow the ‘regular’ route to success, and if they worked hard enough, everything would work out fine. But that’s really not the case anymore. We’re in an era where success isn’t determined by the amount of effort you put into following the traditional path to success; it just simply cannot be determined. There are too many variables in today’s society. The line between professionals and non-professionals is unclear, and talent is everywhere. For example, to become a fashion magazine editor, you used to have to start from the bottom of the fashion industry, doing basic labor, and become an assistant, and then if any slots were open for writers you’d work hard again to become a writer, and ultimately an editor. But I didn’t do that-I just did my own thing, even though people would often tell me, ‘you’re doing it wrong, you’re going to fail.’ I think that in today’s world, you need to do what you love because it’s not going to work any other way. If you do something you don’t truly love, you’re going to be beaten by the people who are in that field of work because they really love it and are competent. Plus, I’d personally say ‘do what you love, and money will come naturally.’ ”

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Back to the start: I first met Pictorial Project at the 5th Korea Style Week.

They had a partnership with Korea Style Week and their own booth.

Thank you to Pictorial Project and Dahee unni : )

I just got new sunglasses from Warby Parker!

It’s getting warmer, guys! And we all know that when it’s the spring/summer season, you’re tired, sweaty, and definitely not bothered to pick out an Anna-Wintour-approved ensemble, sunglasses are a MUST. Not only do they protect your eyes from those harmful UV rays(ugh!), they are also the best all-time fashion item. Ever. Whatever you’re wearing, whether it’s full-on classy or an i-just-got-out-of-bed jumble of old clothes, sunglasses will complement your look. Although in Korea wearing shades can sometimes be seen as ‘huh-sae‘, which is Korean for bluff or pretentiousness, no one can deny the fact that a pair of shades does make you look better than, well, however you looked without them. (Apparently this is scientifically proven-‘ooh’: psychologically, sunglasses add a layer of mystery to a person and therefore makes them look attractive because they’re covering the most important human body part of emotional communication-the eyes.)

So today I want to share with you the hottest, latest sunglasses collection that I found on the wonderful land of the internet, by the famous American eyewear brand Warby Parker! It’s called the Daydream Collection, which I think is the perfect name for a sunglasses line since when you’re wearing sunglasses you can daydream all you want and no one will ever know. If anyone’s looking for a bit of a mysterious-and-dreamy, high-fashion, or simply fun look, congratulations! You’re looking in the right place.

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THE WARBY PARKER DAYDREAM COLLECTION

Available online from March 17 – which is today! Go get them glasses, guys : D

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Oh and just when you thought it couldn’t get any better-it turns out that not only do they have the best sunglasses for this season, they’re also an extremely respectable, trustworthy, me-approved(if my opinion means anything to you, that is, haha) brand. Their motto is to sell glasses at affordable prices-to everyone! Whenever you buy a pair, you’ll also be helping a nonprofit to work to give more people proper, affordable eyecare.

Every idea starts with a problem. Ours was simple: glasses are too expensive. We were students when one of us lost his glasses on a backpacking trip. The cost of replacing them was so high that he spent the first semester of grad school without them, squinting and complaining. (We don’t recommend this.) The rest of us had similar experiences, and we were amazed at how hard it was to find a pair of great frames that didn’t leave our wallets bare. Where were the options?

It turns out there was a simple explanation. The eyewear industry is dominated by a single company that has been able to keep prices artificially high while reaping huge profits from consumers who have no other options.

We started Warby Parker to create an alternative.

-Warby Parker

Sounds like something from a presidential speech, but nope, it’s just your favorite always-accessible(in LA, NYC, Boston, etc. and online) eyewear store.

What I especially love about their new Daydream Collection is not only the fact that they’re totally affordable, but also that they’re simple and chic AND they seem to draw attention at the same time. The collection is based on the most basic color tones and would go well with any outfit, but they’re definitely not boring, if you know what I mean.

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If I had a boyfriend, I’d buy these for him. They’re called Topper Striped Beach, and do they look dapper or do they look dapper?

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Now these I’d buy for myself. Actually Imma get them right now. I am in love with these- they’re called Piper Petal Tortoise, and the color tone is just the right shade of a transparent pink-ish color with a chic petal design. They’re not too rectangular, which adds a retro sentiment. I would wear these sunglasses with an A-lined sleeveless minidress and simple heels. And sport a Taylor-Swift-style red lip, too.

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Since I have severely damaged eyes from staring at laptop screens my whole life and sensitive skin, I especially feel the need to try to protect myself from the sun(seriously, my whole morning beauty routine is almost entirely dedicated to ensuring I’ll be UV-free for the rest of the day), so I’m the kind of person that’d do anything to keep away from those rays- sunscreen 24/7, hats, and of course, sunglasses. I have a feeling I’ll be wearing them an awful lot this season since I just bought not one, not two, but three pairs of Warby Parkers online(I got Abel Jet Black, Topper Crystal, and Piper Petal Tortoise -you can find them all here).

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Meeee! Shades to cover up those dark circles ; )

A friend says I look like Michael Jackson in that pic.

Here’s a huge thank you shout-out to Warby Parker! : )

Why I’m a Taylor Swift fan and proud of it #beingbasic

It seems that Taylor Swift has become the epitome of “mainstream”. I mean, even my DAD knows what she said in her latest interview, and he’s Korean and has never heard of the Kardashians(I repeat, the KARDASHIANS). She’s all over the place, with her music becoming anthems for teenage girls and rise to success becoming topics of great academic research for scholars all over the world. Her latest album, 1989, was the biggest-selling album of 2014, and her Billboard records match up to those of the Beatles.

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She’s become so terribly successful and famous, in fact, that it’s making us all feel guilty to admit we love her. Like any well-known person, she has almost as much haters as fans.  But it’s not just the haters-it’s the fact that there are so, so many other people that listen to her music apart from themselves that bothers people. Liking Taylor Swift’s easygoing, lighthearted songs make people feel “basic”, and, let’s face it-no one wants to feel basic, when we’re all so convinced that we’re incredibly important and one-of-a-kind. ‘Basic’ is the new negative word for ‘typical, shallow, and not special(, let alone artistically valuable)’. Downloading her songs alone on your phone at night while getting emotional about your ex makes you feel like you’ve become that basic, (usually perceived as)dumb girl that orders the infamous pumpkin spice latte while texting on her iphone, in leggings and Uggs. 

And it’s not only that. It’s also the fact that almost all her songs are about the simple emotions involved in falling in love and falling out of love, unlike other mega-selling records of the past that are known for having real artistic value, like ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ by Queen, or ‘Thriller’ by Michael Jackson, or ‘Rehab’ by Amy Winehouse. Of course, lots of other famous songs are about love too-take Whitney Houston’s ‘I Will Always Love You’, for example- but we remember ‘I Will Always Love You’ as a romantic, soulful, legendary song. I’ve never, ever heard anyone call that song “basic”. However, everyone calls Taylor Swift’s songs basic.

Why? I assume it’s because her songs have simple melodies, simple lyrics, and are about simple emotions that we’ve all felt before. They’re not about some deep, artistic rendition of love. They mostly describe the feelings a high school girl would have about that cute boy/girl in Biology, the lousy ex that betrayed you for another girl/guy that you spent all night crying about while eating chocolate in your college dorm room with your friends, or your current S.O. that you smile about before falling asleep every night, imagining holding his/her hand and going on picnics and doing ridiculous lovestruck things that you see in every soppy romantic comedy movie. The thing is, her songs are mostly about everyday feelings. Things that don’t apply exclusively to those who are in a love so complicated and holy and mature, but apply also to the ‘average’ teenager next door that loves procrastination, doesn’t know where her/his life is going, and has a crush on her/his classmate at school.

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Taylor’s songs are mainstream because we can all relate to them. I’ve been told that I try too hard to be unique and sophisticated and that I act too mysterious and chic(which is actually because most of the time I can’t think of anything smart to say so I just sit and stare at people), but I can’t help indulging in the common ‘girliness’ of Taylor Swift’s songs every once in a while, sometimes. When I’m singing in the shower. Everyday. Okay, fine, I have practically ALL her songs on my playlist on my phone, AND I’ve been to a Tay Swift concert back in 8th grade. But I refuse to be ashamed about my affinity for this ‘basic’ culture. Whenever I tell people I like Taylor Swift, their initial responses are always either ‘Seriously?’ or ‘Wow I thought you were really unique and different though’. No one says that when someone likes Amy Winehouse, or Nirvana, or Weezer, or AC/DC, or some alternative indie band. When someone says they like Oasis, it’s all ‘Ohh you know your music!’, unlike when someone says they like the Backstreet Boys(yes, I just made a My Mad Fat Diary reference).

I DON’T GET IT.

I don’t understand in the first place how some pieces of art/music can apparently essentially hold ‘more artistic value’ than others. Art isn’t like a math test; it isn’t something where you can just weigh one against another. Every piece of art holds a different meaning for every single person, evokes different emotions in every single person, and affects every single person in such a variety of ways, and I do have the audacity to say that the silly drawings that I drew of unicorns and princesses when I was four mean way more to me than a Jackson Pollock painting or a Michelangelo sculpture worth millions. 

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Also, I think it’s wrong for people to talk about mainstream pop singers like Taylor Swift or One Direction or even Justin Bieber(unless they’re talking about his stupid antics, then, yeah I agree he needs to get his life together) and their music in a condescending way, assuming that they have less artistry than other ‘legendary’ musicians like, I dunno, Nirvana. Firstly, creating something that the vast majority of ‘common’ people can relate to is not only more difficult than people think but also extremely meaningful. Taylor Swift’s songs reach out to so many people, whoever they may be, and I believe that this connection through her music, between her and the listeners, is a manifest of one of the biggest, most sacred assets of humanity-artistic communication. Because at the end of the day, being able to touch the heart of another or make someone see a certain reflection of their own life through something you created, and being able to create something that can bring a huge group of people all over the world together emotionally in sympathy(even IF it is just about your highschool sweetheart and how you broke up with her/him at school), is one of the most important fundamental principles of art itself. Secondly, even if lots of popular singers today don’t make their own music, I still think that performance(not just ballet or operas but also performing at the Superbowl) is also a legit art which requires much artistry and effort. The process of interpreting a song and using your voice, body, or instrument to communicate with others about the song, whatever that song may be, is still just as valuable as the process of creating the song itself.

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Rock on, Taylor.

Intimate Conversations

Honestly, my life feels so stagnant and dull right now. It’s the same routine over and over, and I really just cannot stand monotony. No big projects, no big events, just day after day of overly peaceful, mere existence to the point where it almost hurts. Seriously, not doing anything hurts. But not having anything major on my hands does have one single advantage-it brings out the little things I otherwise wouldn’t have noticed if I’d been busy. Here are some unretouched, raw photos I took of my sister today and raw, fairly intimate conversations I’ve had over the past week.

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(while ice skating together last Wednesday)

Me, carefully tiptoeing and clutching onto the railing for dear life: Aren’t you scared that you might fall over?

Sister, laughing, whizzing past: Well of course I might fall over! But then how are you gonna do anything?

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My mother, on me:

“She’s a free spirit.”

(Quick shout out to my mum: Mum I know you read my blog, my ‘I’m a coward’ post was on your phone yesterday)

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A teenage dream’s so hard to beat
Every time she walks down the street
Another girl in the neighbourhood
Wish she was mine, she looks so good

-Teenage Kicks by The Undertones-

This song is my ringtone right now. Makes me wanna just drop everything and dance and not pick up the phone.

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Dad: I can’t believe you might be married in only ten years’ time! Time flies.

Me: I’m never getting married.

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The best thing about this outfit on my sister is the plaid. I love plaid. Whenever I see someone walking down the street wearing plaid, it’s like, damn we would be so good together we would be soulmates.

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Me, to my crush: So when are we gonna meet up again?

Crush: Um, I dunno. (and then proceeds to not reply for days)

(#yesIknowmylifeissad #whoswithme)

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Best friend: But I think YOU need to stop pretending too. It shows in your facial expressions and the way you talk. Stop trying to act all emo and tough.

Me: I guess it’s my self defense mechanism. I hate feeling vulnerable. I try to put up a strong front.

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Me: Did you know that I have dimples, when I laugh?

S.O.: Did you know that I have dimples?

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Me, to myself: Stop worrying. Get up and do something.

Talking to Korean fashion people in a cafe: An honest look inside the newly arising fashion scene

I take a few deep breaths and inhale the sugary warmth of the two-story Gangnam Pascucci cafe. Pulse throbbing in my ear, heartbeat racing through me, I sit in front of four models, two stylists, and a photographer. In my head I’m repeating my all-time mantra(which has never worked but I still do it anyways); keep cool, keepcool, keepcool oh forgodssakekeepcool! I have never really been a cool-looking, laid back person (type A humans I feel ya), and the situation of having these seven gorgeous, successful human beings before me, within two meters of my vicinity, is making my cheeks flush a deeper, embarrassing shade of vermillion-crimson.

And hey, no judging – being a fashion blogger doesn’t mean I don’t still get overexcited and nervous whenever I meet awesome, influential (and not to mention- major heartthrob material) people! Plus, these people aren’t your average fashionistas, they’re the new bomb of Korean fashion, and they’re already impressing people all over the country with their independent photoshoots, individual styles, and penetrating insights on the industry.

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Meet the emerging heroes of the Korean fashion scene, the popular Korean fashion group, Alexandergrupe. Continue reading

I’m a coward. There, I said it. (My passive-aggressive tribute to 2014)

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(Me in Jeju Island for the first time. This year.)

I’m a coward. Honestly, truly, I am terrified of life. It gives me the chills to think that in a year I’ll lawfully be an adult. It scares me that I may or may not get married someday. I am frightened of becoming attached to things or people. It scares me that I know I am scared and yet I am not doing anything about it.

What’s stupid is that I’d always thought I was the strongest person in the world. I just knew I would succeed. I knew I was clever, driven, and assertive, and I was confident that I had the ability to ‘make a dent in the world’, as Steve Jobs stated. The word ‘coward’ never really came to mind when I was referring to myself, even while I was thinking my deepest, darkest thoughts.

Over the span of a year, it’s shocking, almost bloody brilliant even, how my perception of myself has changed. It’s kind of like the feeling you get when you look back at an old photo of you back in the day and you get that rush of nostalgia whooshing up your throat, threatening to seep out through your eyes as tears? Well, that’s how I feel about the past year, 2014(of course, there is no need to state ‘2014’ specifically again, but I feel like simply calling it the ‘past year’ isn’t enough; like we need to establish and state some sort of concrete, serious name for this chunk of time that has come and utterly rooted up my previous self-image). After all, it’s the year I’ve realized how much of a freaking coward I can be.

I realize that I didn’t act all dismissing and condescending about love because I’ve never felt it before. Of course I have. Everyone has experienced love in whatever form, at whatever time in their lives, but I always gave this sort of I’m-superior-because-I-don’t-care-for-petty-emotions-like-that sideways smirk(which has kind of stuck to my face as a default expression now) and said, in the chicest, most nonchalant way possible, ‘I don’t believe in love’ because I was scared of it. Because I know, deep inside, that I can so casually and obliviously slip up and become attached to someone who may not love me as much as I love them. I was avoiding the issue altogether, like a coward. I know that once I get quite close to a person, falling into them is as easy as getting someone to agree that Beyonce is definitely, without doubt, queen of pop(aka easy-peasy).

These days I’m especially terrified of the future. Well, my future, to be exact. I (or at least I feel like I have) have experienced so many miserable failures(what happened to getting a boyfriend? what happened to getting better at Spanish? what happened to getting better grades? seriously though, what is up with these grades? WHAT. HAPPENED. KONNI.) in 2014 that I could write a whole, hardcover, at least two hundred page book on how to fall and smack your ass hard on the ground called life. I know this is getting repetitive and possibly a little obsessive-addictive creepy but I can’t help but keep asking my inner, shriveled self- WHAT HAPPENED??? I used to be the girl with all the fierce attitude of the whole room, sucking out the patience in people until they finally got tired(physically and mentally) of me and told me to shut up and go chill or something, the girl who would obviously be voted ‘Most likely to succeed (and break her neck trying because she just cannot stop being so obnoxiously enthusiastic)’; now I feel like I’m just a shadow of that girl. Right now I don’t feel ready to take on the world at all. Now I’ve become obnoxiously anxious of my future, although of course I don’t really show it, I just think it in my head. I’ve got a year left until I get sucked into society as a (*ooh*) ‘grown-up’ but let’s face it: I AM NOT GROWN, UP, DOWN, RIGHT, OR LEFT. I feel like I’m back to the start of the monopoly board because bloody 2014 came and gave me that red card thingy that has instructions on it that tell you to go back to ‘START’.

And the problem here is, when I’m scared, I somehow get petrified, as if someone came and shot me with a stun-gun. I collapse under fear. I cease to think rationally. Like right now. I’m barely thinking about what’s coming out of my brain and onto this laptop screen, but here I am, writing my thoughts out (although it may actually be a good thing since this post will probably turn out to be one of my most raw, honest ones). One thing I do know now, though, is that I really need to pick myself up and make sure that all this was worth it. Since I can’t change what has already happened in the gloomy, swamp-like depths of 2014, I inevitably owe it to myself to at least make sure that it was all worth it somehow; that it was all for ‘something bigger’.

So basically, since 2014 has upper-cut me in the face so many times, I just have one wish for the new year. That I improve myself and get to a happier place.

2015, don’t expect me to play along like last time. It’s MY turn now.

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(P.S: Also, when in doubt, eat.)

Goodbye, 2014.