Photography: Lane Lang
For Song Seoyoon and Ground Zero, this year meant showing their designs for the first time, sans VFILES. Instead of letting the hype fade, both brands delivered collections even stronger than their debuts. Brothers Eri and Phillip Chu, inspired by their first encounter with nightlife, presented a meticulous and exciting collection, part Asian-influence, part club kid.
“When I as about 10, my sister lied to my parents, and took me and my brother to a club,” recalled Phillip. “That was the first time I ever saw all these cool people and graffiti—my first experience with the underground. My sister left us outside the club for hours, and we had to run as fast as we could to catch the last bus home. That’s why you see Midnight Express on the clothes, and so much volume, and all these weird silhouettes—it’s a metaphor for us running and just going crazy.”
“Streetwear meets ready-to wear,” as the design duo refers to it, the collection mixed classic elements, like seersucker suiting, with graffitied bodysuits, exaggerated silhouettes and menswear influence. The clothes were forward-thinking yet referential, combining the brand’s affinity for animation with an updated take on subversive culture. But beyond the Chu brothers innovative designs, are their magnetic energy—each piece screamed passion as it evoked the neon-lit spirit of underground Hong Kong. More than just cool, Ground Zero is kinetic.
Though younger and newer to the industry, Song Seoyoon brings the same radical energy to her designs. Inspired by tattoos and philosophical interpretations of the body, Seoyoon’s Fall collection was part tribal, part anatomical. Featuring traditional tattoo elements on embossed leather and iridescent fabrics, the designs focused heavily on showcasing the body rather than covering it. As most designers use shape to accentuate form, Seoyoon eschews the idea of clothing as a shield, with her collection functioning more as an an accessory than the main event.
“All my work is very conceptual,” she explained. “My inspiration developed from tattoos, but that was a really superficial starting point. When I began working on the collection, I was reading books about the value of what’s inside your body and how meaningless skin actually is. We all have different types of skin, we all have a specific race, nationality, personality, characteristics—but they’re all defined by society and nature. What’s inside of us has no limit—you can be anything you want as long that’s how you really feel. When it comes to your body, it all depends on you.”
For both Song Seoyoon and the duo behind Ground Zero, emotion drives their work. As follow-ups to the highly competitive buzz of being a VFILES designer, both brands produced collections that were equally inspired and in-tune with the message they are fighting to sell. At Song Seoyoon, design is an art; for Ground Zero, it’s a call to arms. With both collections, the designers urged the importance of having a voice, and with both presentations, we heard them—loud and clear.
View the Song Seoyoon and Ground Zero FW ’17 collections, above.