Hailing from the South Korean metropolis of Seoul, Taeyang Jung, Sihyun Mo & Sungcheol Jeong first met at Central Saint Martins on the BA Menswear Degree. Now between their second and third year of the course, the three boys have returned home where they are nearing the end of a successful year spent in the industry, collaborating on the establishment of their menswear label, WINDOW 00.
Starting a brand of their own had always been in the cards for Tae, Sihyun and Sungcheol. However, they quickly realised that joining forces would make it a much easier task. No doubt they are satisfied with their decision to collaborate; since setting up the label in March of this year, WINDOW 00 swiftly evolved from their small studio space to the runways of Seoul Fashion Week.
The moniker WINDOW 00 was born of the trio’s desire to give their label a meaningless name. As they define themselves on their website, “We are very boring, heedless and arrogant. Wild sometimes.” This self-deprecating, dare-devilish attitude seems to capture the essence of the WINDOW 00 aesthetic. Describing the brand as “simply an aggregate of looks,” the boys primarily design with themselves in mind, seeking inspiration from their own personal histories and making the kinds of clothes they have always dreamt of wearing. They skilfully draw these influences and ways of interacting with the world together under one umbrella, this broad range of inspiration clearly reflected in both the garments and the avant-garde accessories with which they are styled.
The trio begin each weekday morning at the local market in Seoul (which Tae describes as enormous by London standards), a one-stop shop for anything and everything they could ever need for their designs, from fabrics to buttons and trimmings. The market is a destination for local craftsmen and the perfect place to hunt for inspiration. It’s also an ideal spot to grab a bite to eat for breakfast before heading to the studio for the long working day.
The brand is tacitly infused with influences from their Korean heritage perfectly balanced with the sartorial adventurousness of CSM. With its mid to floor length tunics, gold fringed leather vests, crushed velvet blazers and pink satin ruched trousers, WINDOW 00’s interpretation of menswear defiantly tests the boundaries of traditional convention, lending casual bravado and a touch of theatricality to the everyday. Although occasionally deemed too intrepid for the more conservative tastes of Seoul, their design mantra remains that nothing is ever too much.
Their aesthetic succeeds in capturing the androgynous spirit of London’s street scene amalgamated with a romantic sensibility, the garments offering charismatic twists on everyday staples. Between their embellished patent leather boots reminiscent of Zorro, wetlook trousers and theatrical blouses with enlarged collars, padded shoulders and pirate sleeves, the boys manage to balance the modern with the traditional, the layer upon layer styling of garments surely a homage to the trio’s ties to London.
In bridging the very separate worlds of London and Seoul, frustrations and confusion often arise from the entanglement of two such different cultures and languages. However, despite all challenges, Tae admits that these cross-cultural exchanges and interactions simultaneously enrich and strengthen their artistic development and processes, reflecting a broader worldview and range of experience through the prism of their design.
The label is currently stocked in both London and China, and when asked how they hope to see their brand evolve in the future, they admit that the dream is to someday see their clothes hanging in Dover Street Market. Shortly to return to London to commence their third and final year of the degree at the beginning of October, things are no doubt on the way up for the WINDOW 00 boys.
Words Lucy Macdonald
Campaign Images RALAchoi