Today in our feature of #PMPeople, we shine the spotlight on one of our Korean Designers, Sohyan Bhaak, the charismatic designer behind Post December. She describes the philosophy behind her choice of name as the idea of the thirteenth month, which only exists in our dreams and memories. She believes the art of cutting and slashing can have both a destructive and healing connotation, and has attempted to represent these juxtaposing actions in her collection.
PM: Post December is known for its unique laser-cutting pattern. Can you tell us more about it?
SB: It has been 3–4 seasons since I started developing my own cutting pattern. Designers have their own way to show the brand’s identity or personality – whatever you call it – and some use color, some use unique fabric or pattern. For me, it’s cutting pattern. I create new patterns every season and incorporate them into the collection.
PM: How do you decide the concept for the season?
SB: There is no rule. It can be a word from a newspaper one morning, a phrase from a book that I read, or a song that I heard. Once I have a keyword, our team starts the research process. Starting from the first and secondary definition, we try to find out everything around that keyword. At the end of this process, we will have this image board where we have mapped all the related concepts. And this image board is the concept guideline for the collection.
PM: Your SS15 collection is called “Slash” – what is the inspiration behind the name and the clothes?
SB: Slash derives its title from one of the exhibitions, which was held in the Museum of Arts and Design (MAD) in New York, and signifies the action of sharply and pointedly cutting or slitting. This fits into Post December’s concept of creating new pattern and design with cutout leather, fabric, etc. The action of cutting the surface can represent the image of violation and viciousness, but also represents the suture during surgery. This naturally links to a healing process. In this way the juxtaposition of destruction and healing comes full circle.
PM: Your jackets and coats have an interesting skull logo subtly included either in the design or in the back. Can you tell us more about this unique motif?
SB: I have a few random things that I love and Metallica is one of them. I watched this movie called “Metallica Through the Never,” which featured the band. In the middle of the movie, there is a close up of James Hetfield’s face and one of his tattoos caught my eye. That tattoo was the inspiration of the skull. It’s pretty random, but it’s a privilege that I have as a designer to mix and match the concepts I like.
PM: You have traveled the world – what is the one city besides Seoul in which you feel equally at home?
SB: London. I lived in London for 3 years - studying and working there. One day I was coming back from vacation in France. France was awesome, but when I arrived in London, I felt relieved and you know… emotionally safe. Then, I knew that London had grown on me and was very special.
PM: Your clothes are edgy, yet elegant, with an inimitable and unmistakable Korean identity – what do you hope American women take away from your collection?
SB: I don’t want to limit Post December’s identity to Korea – but I think you are asking what makes Post December special and what I want to tell customers in America. It is hard to find the exact word in English, but “delicacy” I would say – a very small difference, a little detail you won’t discover if you don’t pay attention to it. I want to meet customers who see and feel these small differences and understand the importance of little details. It can be a finish of the collar of a shirt, that skull that I put in the back of some coats. Through one little detail that excites your curiosity, we click, and we expand our relationship – this is the ideal relationship I have imagined for a long time.
PM: You studied design in the U.K. – how has that experience informed your design sensibility?
SB: My experience in the U.K. really strengthened the core philosophy and the theoretical side of my work. As a daughter of teacher parents, the theoretical approach is something I was told was important and I was accustomed to; and my time in the U.K. was in line with that. Whether I like it or not, this made a huge impact on the brand. I care a lot about the essence, the basics, the meaning of my work – sometimes too much (Laugh). I wish I could be more creative and free, and I think I am learning to do that along the way.
PM: What is the biggest challenge for you personally as a designer?
SB: A balance between doing the things I think are right and being commercially successful. In the beginning, I didn’t separate them, thinking that if I do what I like it can be financially successful also. But, this is not necessarily so all of the time. It took some time for me to understand this and I am trying to find a fine balance between these two.
PM: Everything Korean is currently in vogue – beauty, music, pop culture, and of course, fashion. What is your view on this new explosion of all things Korean?
SB: Very natural. I always thought that Korean artists are very talented. There are many smart, yet creative, artists in Korea and they are especially dexterous – very quick and clever with their fingers. With the right platform and investment, I believe it can be bigger, or at least we can continue the trend.
PM: What is the one piece that best reflects your label’s style aesthetic completely?
SB: The Laser Cut Top – camel color. Very easy to get, yet unique. I love the color, too.
PM: What are your three favorite pieces on Porte Mode (besides your own)?
SB: I love Rahul Mishra’s style. The Merino Embroidered Gown is gorgeous. The Embroidered Winter Crop from Hemant & Nandita was a very interesting piece, too. Very modern, yet still has got that Indian touch. It’s very hard to pick only three but I really like LIE’s Long Sleeve Print Dress.
PM: Who is the “Post December” woman?
SB: Is it bad if I haven’t defined one? I am still young and my brand is new. I think I am experimenting with lots of things through my interaction with the customers. In the beginning I was more focused on what I want and the clothing itself, but now I try to listen and hear more from customers. I have a successful bespoke business in Korea and through that I have learned a lot. I was blessed to communicate with my customers directly. Please be a part of my journey and complete the “Post December Woman.”