Thinking of Soulpot

Every piece of clothing reflects the ideas of the person who created it, and becomes an indicator of how deep the soul is. Soulpot Studio’s Kim Sujinn presents a runway with a precious message that sends small ripples into the hearts of the audience, touching their hearts. Soulpot has the warmth of humanity. Fashion curator Kim Hongki introduces the designer and her warm charisma.

I have known fashion designer Kim Sujinn for seven years. Recently she celebrated her tenth anniversary during the 2017 fall/winter Seoul Fashion Week with a collection that showed comradeship and devotion to her staff who has been with her. There was a handwritten note on each seat that read: “[We] have weathered [it all]. To my crew. To my colleagues. To myself.” Making a piece of clothing, showing it to the public and selling it for profit all require team efforts. And I was thankful that she made such candid acknowledgement.

The world of fashion is full of designers who make dramatic entrances only to fade away from the spotlight. It is hard to carry a torch for a single designer for a long time amid frantic competition that plagues the industry. I exhibit designers’ works at museums, and for me, a designer’s value lies in his or her capability to deliver a message through communications, not in the ability to come up with a distinctive design. Artist-cum-designer Kim Sujinn has been a steady force and a good example validating this criterion of mine.

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This collection conveys her idea of ‘courtesy to human.’ I was grateful for Kim’s appreciation of those who have been working together with her. In his autobiography, designer Christian Dior contributed all the glory and success of House of Dior to his staff who have inspired and sometimes criticized him, naming each and every one of them. And I was full of respect for the designer. Fashion industry has built myths around fashion designers and made itself ‘sustainable’ through their existences. This has inevitably led to a single person taking credit for the whole outcome created by a group. Kim reminded us that fashion is more than an individual’s work, that it is realizing a dream of a group. How it takes more than one person to create and show a vision.

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The ability to express deep gratitude to someone is only possible when there is belief that one’s life is sustained through coexistence. A person who can be grateful is noble in itself. The pieces shown on the runway were etched with residues of time, as if she has weaved together patches of memory. Different fabrics interlaced and meshed into patterns. Black lace hinted at Victorian Goth and combined with knitted wool, leather, jersey, velvet and more lace into a dress brought a houppelande, a medieval overgown, to the mind. Slits were everywhere. Resembling stitched up nicks and wounds the designer might have suffered until now, the imprint still remains in my head.

Seeing the designer takes a bow at the finale, I was filled with emotion. How I have known this person for such a long time. Kim has shown her clout in curation as well. She participated in my show ‘Contemporary art walks down the runway (Art & Fashion),’ and her uniqueness was highly regarded by others at the art museum.

Her runway show reminded me of the quote from Whitney Otto, the author of the book How to Make an American Quilt. “Look at life as a pattern. Happiness and pains are weaved with other miscellaneous incidents into a sophisticated pattern and ordeals become a material that adds to the pattern. And when the last moment comes we celebrate the completion of the pattern.” Thanks to her, I enjoyed this season’s Seoul Fashion Week. Thank you for the fashion.

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Thinking of Soulpot

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BY SOOJUNG CHOI - MARCH 9, 2016

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