The 26-year-old Korean designer is pretty switched on, but in a refreshingly relaxed way. And she knows what she wants: “From the beginning, I was telling myself I have to be happy with my collection.” Did that mean forgoing the famous advice of the CSM tutors at times? “To be honest I listen but I filter it. If I’m sure that I really like something, even though they say no, I go for it. You don’t want to look back and think, ‘that wasn’t me.’”
It was that same self-belief that led her to take two years out before her placement year in 2014. Knowing she was in it for life, and having been doing it for three years, Heo took time to regather her thoughts (and herself) at home in Korea. “It was the hardest decision I’ve had to make since I started,” she recalls. “I loved my friends and even my tutors were trying to convince me not to go. The challenge was trusting myself and my decision.” The interesting bit is, she didn’t touch fashion or art even once in that time. “I love cooking, I did a lot of that,” she muses. “At one point I even thought I could open a café in Korea.”
And ‘Why Not’? That’s the nature of Heo’s easy manner (and the name of her final collection) which translates so effortlessly into her clothes. “Part of me always wanted to do menswear but I was afraid because I knew it needed very intricate patterns and tailoring – in womenswear you can be sneaky about it.” But with fashion’s current climate for streetwear-led trends, she couldn’t have been more on the money this year. Her collection is pristine in its own chaotic way: sci-fi sportswear meshed with disproportionate tailoring, inflated silhouettes underpinned with subtly sexy detailing like fishnet stockings and skin-tight ribbing, sports shorts pulled over tailored blazers, old logos tees and windbreakers deconstructed and panelled onto other pieces. But what stole the show were the ‘piling’ pieces, an intricate assembly of second hand clothing sewn layer upon layer to create new and different garments, like the wrap skirt she styled over trousers.