South Korea’s recent affluence has sparked a renewed interest in the nation’s traditional arts and crafts, architecture, and music. Once keen to modernize at any cost, Koreans now pay serious attention to preserving their cultural heritage and promoting it both domestically and abroad.
One aspect of traditional Korea experiencing a strong revival is the art of hanbok, the traditional Korean attire. The domestic industry has grown rapidly in the past decade, featuring up-and-coming professionals keen to marry Korean traditional style with modern fashion, as well as attracting Western designers and global brands always on the lookout for new fashion trends.
Our guest for this episode is In Oh, a leading hanbok designer in Seoul. We talk about her work and inspiration, her customers and her dream of making the hanbok a modern, young and mainstream fashion item.
Before opening her own workshop, Inohjudan, in the vicinity of one of Seoul’s traditional palaces, In Oh assisted famous hanbok masters and worked in the United States for several years. She attended Santa Monica College and studied fashion design at the Los Angeles Trade Technical College.
Celebrities wear very fancy, very expensive hanbok. So sometimes young people think [it’s] beautiful because it’s expensive. I’m a little bit worried about [that]. That’s why I started an Internet « shopping mall » to show people cheap but nice designs for teenagers and people [in their twenties] to wear hanbok. That’s important to me.
The interview was conducted on May 20th in Seoul.