Repression, control, restraint. Three key words to describe the Korean brand Byungmun Seo 2014-15 F/W Collection.

It is a provocation, a cry of protest against censorship, in any forms. With subtle politeness, I’m censored removes the gag of the so-called respectability from the men-fashion while enabling the new millennium young men to express their concept of freedom through the clothes they wear. 

Byungmun, head director, tells us about with his courtly manners and that totally Eastern savoir-faire able to put everyone at ease. He decides to found the brand in 2012, after completing a master’s degree at the London College of Fashion. He mixes his Asia traditional culture and the western-style sense of innovation. He creates structured garments with monochromatic tones, deep of that depth exploring the human soul. He who is full of passion, dedication and love for this craft through which he can communicate his way of being, an irreproachable one. We listen to him, we are conquered because – as one day Milan Kundera said – no one can do a thing about feelings, they exist and there’s no way to censor them…

Fucking Young! – Welcome Byungmun! How are you? Your brand is synonymous of creativity and experimentation but of essentiality and functionality as well. When and how was the idea of founding Byungmun Seo born?

Byungmun Seo – I started my own menswear label in 2012 after finishing a Master Degree at the London College of Fashion. At that time, I was interested in the research of new structures for garments and while researching I realised that there was  another boundary to be overcome: to make a new relationship of pattern pieces for creating new structures going beyond the traditional and conventional ones. I am from Seoul so my fundamental idea has been rooted in Asian history and culture. And in Asian history and culture I also found that in Asian traditional costumes there were ideas to structure garments different from  the western ones. So I was fascinated by the perspective to see new constructions obtained thanks to new methodologies and the good mixture of Asian and western inspiration. This was my first step toward the Byungmun Seo label.

FY! – You use a palette limited to four colors: black, gray and touches of pure whites. Would  you explain to us the reason for this choice?

BS – When I think about my collections, I always try to look at deeper into the immense inner human side and at specific phenomena envisioning a hidden imagery to go beyond the preconceived ideas and the customary associations we can see. This allows me to project the hidden imagery into new journey aimed at finding the so many new different aspects of objects and phenomena while rejecting to believe they only have their original and traditional characteristics. I enjoy this process of creating new effects of juxtaposition by using the different aspects of a same object or coextensive phenomena. So, I just adopt this process of using various blacks on the basis of either texture or brightness in order to accentuate and create new contrasting effects. Moreover, I think black is the best colour when you focus on specific methodologies to show new structures for garment, as I do. But I do sometimes use some bright colours which can be well-matched with black. It actually depends on what I can envision in each season.

FY! – Your clothes are designed for a gentleman of the twenty-first century: fresh, luxurious and original. Byungmun, which adjective would you choose to define your style?

BS – Unconventional, reformist, innovative

FY! – The item that tells the story of your brand best and the one that just should not miss in your wardrobe…

BS – Structured coat, jacket and also low-crotch trousers are the items that best show both the typical Byungmun Seo look and the idea of the spatial relationship that I want to convey through a garment structure.

FY! – Byungmun Seo is a brand based in Seoul but which immediately caught the attention of Western audiences, too. How did you manage to combine two so different “souls”?

BS – I have researched a lot about the differences and similarities between western and Asian realms while developing the idea of creating new structures and it has always involved a journey to find a new harmony between the two realities so that they could give a new meaning to each other. That is what I am doing: not just sticking the preconceived ideas about what we can envision from the two different “souls” but rather turning the new balance and combination between them into reality for communicating with others.

FY! – The fashion market seems to be more and more projected towards the East. As a Korean, how do you live this new ferment and what do you think the future of the industry is?

BS – I have also felt that more and more people are looking at what is happening in the East now and paying more and more attention to the development of the Eastern fashion so as that of the Eastern music, film and other things. I think it is a very positive phenomenon to experience new flows of fashion. And I am really enjoying this process of being part of this ferment. I also hope I can represent  a kind of bridge to connect this change to further stages. As for the future of the industry. I think it will specialize and commercialize further. It will expand through collaborations with art, film, music and other areas that are able to express this changes; thus creating a progressive image for itself.

FY! – I’m censored is the name of the A /W14 Collection. “A reflection of hidden construction of garment by censorship mediums, excluding, hiding and removal of cutting line or spatial meeting between each pattern pieces on a structure of garment”. Could you tell us about? Inspiration, mood, key pieces?

BS – The main key words for my 2014-15 A/W Collection are surely  repression, control and restraint. I looked at how people have been repressed, controlled in their life. And I conceived the censorship as one of the tools used to control people. This censorship leads to exclude, hide, remove some realities in order to manipulate people. With this in my mind, I applied the censorship mediums into pattern cutting method. The faces of two-dimensional or 3-dimensonal garment patterns are used to hide cutting line and sometimes they remove the line with their structure and create new constructions making layers or overlap of garment patterns. I’ve also excluded specific parts of the garment structure such as armhole or lapel, pocket etc. to create new spatial relationship and connections between the pieces other than their original ones. I have used different fabrics or materials in these spatial relationships to accentuate the contrasts. So, it is all about creating new constructions of garment and unique combinations of materials. And I’ve wanted to emanate how we feel about being censored through the mood of this A/W14 Collection. My structured coats and jackets are good enough to explain all this.

FY! – Why have you chosen to focus on the man-fashion rather than the woman one?

BS – For me, menswear includes specific structures different from womenswear and able to show a different beauty. Menswear has proposed construction that I haven’t found in womenswear yet. I just want to derive new beauty from the hidden structure of menswear and I am planning to deal with female fashion in the future because I think it might represent another good opportunity to propose new approach. I also think my structured garments could be easily applied to womenswear, but I just need more time to make the plan concrete and real.

FY! – A model, a star or a historical figure who best embodies the spirit of the Brand?

BS – I think that Cole Mohr can be well-matched with our collection. I like his look and style because each time he looks different from himself and I think he has so many different faces he’s always able to express his routine in an unconventional way.

FY! – Favourite band. Favourite painter. Favourite book.

BS – What is coming to my mind now are: Gotan Project, Picasso and 1984 by George Orwell.

FY! – A small preview of what we will see in the S/S15 Collection

BS – It will have a look stronger than ever with a poetic imagery of resistance.

FY! – What is really FUCKING YOUNG! according to Byungmun?

BS – Our friend who listens to our voice.


Thanks a lot!