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Hanbok Designer: 김도은 – INTERVIEW

This month Kim Do Eun, a talented Hanbok (Korean traditional dress) designer spent some time with us to share about the traditional clothing, her challenges and how she started her company! The beautiful dress is simplified as she promotes Hanbok clothing as an incorporation with daily life, rather than just for festivals, weddings and events.

So you have been designing Hanbok for 4 years now, tell us about how you started your company? While I was doing other work, I had a chance to learn Hanbok, which I was interested in, as a degree and I naturally started my own business.

Why did you choose to work with Hanbok?

Originally, being a designer was not my dream, however, I really like Hanbok since a young age. In the end, I went to University Department of Traditional Korean Costume, and that has lead me to where I am now. You know, the older you get, the more you need to be encouraged to do something!

What are your biggest challenges in being in the Hanbok industry?

Trying something new, in order to differentiate ourselves from the other Hanbok shops, is the most enjoyable thing! On the other hand, I also found it hard. Because if it goes well, it could be 대박 (amazing), but if it doesn’t, it could be a waste of one season.

What are the biggest projects you have worked on so far?

I worked on the collaboration between HanOkGuesthouse x Photographer x D’ARTE This is the project in which famous photographers take pictures of models wearing my Hanbok. It is going well at the moment, so I am really looking forward to seeing the results.

Why do you think Hanbok dress is becoming popular again amongst young people these days?

By keeping Hanbok’s own unique emotion, a lot of Hanbok designs combined with modern sense and practicality have been produced. Especially ‘daily life Hanbok’ is really popular nowadays. In contrast to traditional Hanbok which is uncomfortable and hard to manage, ‘daily life Hanbok’ have improved in modern way. As a result, ‘daily life Hanbok’ has had an advantage of easy-to-wear and cheap price which leads to its growing popularity amongst young people.

Have you made any Hanbok dress for non-Koreans? What are their reactions and why do they choose Hanbok?

I once made an American baby’s Dol(돌/ Celebrating First birthday) Hanbok. The reason why they chose Hanbok as a costume at the event was that one of their family members is Korean. They have naturally experienced Korean culture and got to know the beauty of Hanbok via their family members. I suppose my Hanbok suits their taste, because I mainly work on making Fusion Hanbok. They also found it much more interesting, because Habok is basically other foreign cloth, and the silk and pure silk (which are Hanbok’s main fabric) are quite rare fabric in other countries.

What would you like foreigners to know about Hanbok?

Hanbok is a graceful and fine Korean traditional attire created by the colour sense (the impression of a colour) and beautiful combination of straight lines and curves. I have found that many foreigners do not know what ‘Hanbok’ is, even some people think Hanbok is Japanese of Chinese traditional attired. Therefore, I want people to know Hanbok is Korean beautiful cloth.

What is your mission/vision for the future?

Wearing Hanbok in daily life has now become a trend between young people, and there is a growing interest in Hanbok as well. Therefore, I will try my best to develop Hanbok, so that people will be able to wear Hanbok as an everyday dress.

Shari Coakley

Longing to travel, and document my experiences. A vast taste in music; always enthused by culture and people. Favourite city so far? Seoul...<3



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