Originally from Seoul, Korea, Hwan Heo graduated from The Royal College of Arts in London with a focus on menswear. In 2010, he launched his womenswear label, known for its androgynous, sharpen detail and oversized silhouettes. After initially showing during London's womenswear collections in a group show for Fashion Scout’s Ones to Watch and during Seoul Fashion Week, Heo held his first solo show for Fall/Winter 2013 during London Fashion Week upon winning the prestigious Vauxhall Fashion Scout Merit Award last year. And then a year later, for his Fall/Winter 2014 collection, Heo made his Milan Fashion Week debut. We caught up with the designer to talk about The Decade Project (his 10-year collection of experimental artwork), Hussein Chalayan, what has surprised him most about the business of fashion and more …
The Fashion Law - How old are you and where are you from?
Hwan Heo - I am 39 years old and from Seoul, Korea.
The Fashion Law - Tell me a bit about your brand and how you think it is different from other brands.
Hwan Heo - HEOHWAN SIMULATION shows its collection through studies and observations through fashion history and phenomena which presents its concept based on rational substantiation. We are based on experiments and strong research which makes our shape, concept, details different from other brands.
The Fashion Law - Also – tell me a bit about The Decade Project. How did that come about?
Hwan Heo - As a Royal College of Arts graduate, I have created the brand's vision for the next 10 years is to showcase "The Critique Collection Project" where the theme for each collection stems from our experimental artwork and geopolitical aestheticism. Studying the fashion history and phenomenon from 1920 to 1990s and observing contemporary fashion, I develop and rebuild my own fashion statement. The Decade Project is a 10 year study project for me that I accumulate for a long period of time.
I am pursuing on building a decade project that will be archive that I am going to publish into a book in the future. My goal is to create a new line in fashion history and to speak about its thesis through a document.
The Fashion Law - Do you every worry about others copying your designs? Is this something that you have encountered?
Hwan Heo - I do not really worry about this matter because in fashion I see people copy other designers work all the time. And if others copy my design it only proves that my designs are better than theirs.
The Fashion Law - You showed in Milan last season? Why did you show there, as opposed to London?
Hwan Heo - Participating in the Milan and Paris Fashion Week was my long-cherished dream. Fortunately, 'Hewohwan Simulation' was nominated as the Seoul representative fashion designer - in collaboration with the CNMY and Seoul Metropolitan Government - and offered an opportunity to participate in the Milan Fashion Week. Furthermore, my future aim is to present more magnificent collections.
The Fashion Law - What has surprised you the most about the fashion industry so far and what have you learned about the business of fashion?
Hwan Heo - I am most surprised I spend most of the time managing the business and have so little time designing and researching. But in fashion business it is most important to spend time on planning, scheduling, and time management.
The Fashion Law - I know that one of your favorite designers is Hussein Chalayan. Why him?
Hwan Heo - Because his work is experimental, conceptual and original.
The Fashion Law - Do you think that you’ve made it?
Hwan Heo - Not yet.
The Fashion Law - What are you obsessed with right now?
Hwan Heo - I am obsessed with couture sewing and finishings.