FOCUS ON – YeonJae Kim – Womenswear Young Designer

YeonJae Kim is a womenswear fashion designer who graduated from Parsons the New School for Design in 2018. She loves deriving a lot of her inspiration from art and paintings and express them through her designs, creating her collection humorously and whimsical. Her design expresses happiness and playfulness through the usage of color, pattern of various fabric. As she values that life should be grateful for itself, she tries to bring happiness and joy to others through her collection.

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“Life is Sweet” 

Life should be sweet. Life should be happy. And life should be grateful for itself. The collection “Life is Sweet” was inspired by an artist named Wayne Thiebaud who is well-known for painting desserts. YeonJae explored the art of baking and gathered ideas of various shapes and silhouettes. The idea of squiggly lines was referenced from the shapes of frostings when squished out of the piping bags. Pleats and layering were regularly used throughout to show the repetitions and layers that create the whole of a cake. The colors of her garments were taken from one of Thiebaud’s painting titled “Cakes and Pies”. Details such as B/W striped-bias tapes and striped- pink fabric were used to outline her garments to reinterpret Wayne Thiebaud’s use of contrasting colors that outlines his objects and shadows in his paintings. The overall atmosphere of the collection is to be humorous and whimsical. She wanted to create her collection, a resting, appetizing, and inviting place.

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Concept and Inspiration

Happiness is largely a matter of being thankful of the small things around us, not being greedy or desiring for more. The young designer came up with this topic to illustrate that you don’t have to look far in trying to find happiness; instead, you can find happiness in the small and mundane things around you. Her concept was inspired by an artist named Wayne Thiebaud. Thiebaud is a fine artist who is well known for painting desserts such as cakes, pies, ice cream, etc. He uses heavy pigments and exaggerated colors to portray his works. She used Thiebaud as her inspiration because he is one her favorite artist and because she was interested in becoming a patisserie before she started to gain interest in fashion.

In an interview, Thiebaud explained that he drew these mundane items to give his audience humor and happiness through inexpensive pleasures. Likewise, she created a collection to show that life is sweet if we try to find happiness in the small things around us.

Throughout the process of her collection, the first thing she did was do a fun activity with her friends and ask them to illustrate what each 5 senses of taste tasted like. She decided to create an avant-garde collection because she felt that taste is so abstract and hard to express through ready-to-wear. She also gained fun abstract shapes such as swirls and zig-zag shapes through this activity.

During her research, she explored deeply into the art of baking. One thing that interested her most out of the research process was the various shapes of piping tips to decorate the cakes. She played around the the shapes of the piping tips to create large silhouettes for her garments. She got the idea of squiggly lines and shapes from the shapes of frostings when squished out of the piping bags. Stuffings were frequently used throughout her collection to show the soft and fluffiness of cakes and desserts. Pleats were also regularly used throughout to show the repetitions and layers that creates the whole of a a cake.

Colors and details were derived from Wayne Thiebaud’s painting “Cakes and Pies”. In his painting, objects and shadows were outlined in various colors that created a visual effect to portray his works. YeonJae referenced the detail of this outline on many of her garments using black and white bias tapes and pink stripe fabric.

The overall atmosphere that YeonJae was trying to thrive for is humorous and whimsical. She wanted to create her collection, a resting, appetizing, and inviting place.

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