Would you dare to go to Hongdae for a night out wearing the traditional Korean costume, hanbok? Or would you be willing to wear hanbok as everyday apparels like jeans? Here’s a young Korean designer who dares to do all of the above, promoting the beautiful Korean traditional costume all over the world. Hf met the author of I go to Hongdae in Hanbok, the 28-year-old modern hanbok designer and CEO of Sonjjang Designer Hanbok, Hwang Leesle (황이슬).
你敢在弘大夜蒲時穿傳統韓服嗎？你敢把韓服當成牛仔褲般每天穿著嗎？這位年輕的韓國設計師敢，她還希望把傳統韓服推廣至全世界呢！Hf 早前遇上了《我在弘大穿韓服》的作者，亦是現代韓服店 Songjjang 的 28歲年輕設計師兼 CEO Hwang Leesle（Leesle 的意思解露水）。
It All Began With Ggong
Born in Jeonju, one of the most traditional cities in Korea, designer Hwang Leesle stepped into the hanbok industry when she was 20 years old. As of now, she has become the leading icon in the industry with 8 years of experience. She fell in love with hanbok when she saw the popular Korean comic Ggong. She made a personalized hanbok out of the comic series and tried it out at her university’s festival. Soon, she was a hanbok entrepreneur designing, making and selling hanboks and organizing hanbok fashion shows.
As a young entrepreneur, she made use of the Internet and targeted young people through social media channels. She opened up her website, blog and Facebook page to lure the twenties into the hanbok market, which traditionally consisted of the elderly. She uploaded pictures of herself wearing hanbok casually, hoping that one day people will regard hanbok as daily apparel as easy to try on as jeans.
Therefore, she actually used cotton or denim materials to get close to modern apparel and lower the risk factors some young generations might have on choosing hanboks to wear. A stereotype that hanboks are expensive and hard to try does not apply at her shop. She focuses on minimizing the traditional details and instead makes simple hanboks at affordable prices.
When asked for what she considers the most important in hanbok design, Hwang answered she cares the most about TPO (Time, Place and Occasion). ‘It is important to design hanbok according to the customer’s age, status and occasion,’ she said. ‘Hanbok has to be designed carefully to fit the occasion to boost manners, look classy and formal.’
Hanbok is one form of clothing, so you need to choose the color that fits you the most. If your complexion is more of a yellow tone, avoid yellow Jjegori, and go for bolder colors such as red and blue instead. If you have darker skin, muted colors such as wine red and navy go well. Fair skins go along well with any color.
Just like any other clothes, hanbok can be worn to fit your body shape. If you’re short, you can appear taller by wearing the jjegori short and the skirt long. If you are busty, you can cover up your chest by choosing a long jjegori.
Apart from domestic orders, Sonjjang gets most orders from the U.S., Australia, Europe and South East Asia. Most of the overseas orders are placed due to the high population of the Asian communities in each country. Overseas customers’ interests are wide, ranging from traditional hanbok to modern fusion hanbok. Oriental hanbok is popular among SE Asia customers because they get inspired from watching Korean historic TV shows. Royal dynasty themed hanbok such as the king’s and scholar’s hanbok are favored.