Dear Shaded Viewers,

If names like Juun.J, Songzio or
Wooyoungmi are now familiar within the fashion industry, a new generation of
Korean designers has come to the fore, reinterpreting menswear in a
subtle and sensitive way. Korean fashion is not about overt
statements or provocative looks. A clever mix of elegance, refinement
and comfort, it merges sartorial contradictions in order to create a refreshing and dynamic form. One of menswear's rising stars in Seoul,
Jehee Sheen keeps intriguing press and buyers with his intricate
presentations and streamlined silhouettes. Recently picked by Browns
in London, his line keeps evolving each season, with an emphasis on
beautiful tailoring. We sat down with the Korean designer to discuss
Giorgio Armani, inner luxury, and why he likes playing with different
formats when it comes to Fashion Week.

A still from Jehee Sheen's short film 

You used film last season to showcase
your collection and put a presentation together for Spring Summer 13.
Do you find the runway restrictive?

Nowadays, the most important thing for
designers is to have their own concept and philosophy. I don't think
the format you use to express your ideas has to stay the same. I like
change. When we shot a film last season, it was the perfect tool to
distribute internationally, and I feel that it's a great way for
designers to get their message across.

You studied fashion in Seoul, didn't

Yes, that's right. Once my studies
were completed here, I went to Milan and did a Masters course at Istituto
Marangoni. It took me three years to do it, and I worked for Giorgio
Armani straight after graduation. I stayed at Armani for three years
and launched my debut collection at Pitti Uomo in Florence.

Spring Summer 13 presentation

When did that happen?

It was in 2009.

What did you learn at Armani that was

Initially, I studied womenswear, not
menswear. When I stayed in Italy, I found menswear truly inspiring. I
value the knowledge Italians have when it comes to precise tailoring and the construction of garments. They can find the perfect
line for a suit, and I was amazed by how professional they were.
Armani changed the way we envisage suits, and I don't think anyone
will contradict me on this. He's a global reference when it comes to
menswear and tailored items. I designed menswear when I was at Armani
and learned how to achieve the right balance between fashion,
technology and style. At that time, I wasn't really able to
distinguish the differences between European and Oriental taste.

A silhouette from Spring Summer 13

Armani has always been inspired by
Asia though.

Yes, Asia is a leitmotiv within his

Why did you decide to focus on

I wanted to create my own masculine
figure. I looked at a lot of menswear brands, but couldn't find one
that truly spoke to me on a personal level. There are still a lot of
stereotypes around when it comes to men. I'm not interested in machos
or fashion victims.

How would you define this man?

In Asia, people say that a man should
have a strong heart and a strong body. A strong body is a
representation of a strong heart. What I try to express in my clothes
is the internal -and spiritual- voice of a man. I focus on his
personality and what you cannot always see.

Is Korean fashion more about the
inside then?

Yes, it is. It's about the finer
details. Luxury is what you cannot see, but you can feel it
once you've got it on. It's about a private experience, which only
belongs to the wearer.

A silhouette from Spring Summer 13

There's a softness that characterizes
your clothes, which is not always frequent for menswear. Why is it
relevant to your vision?

I love contrasts, and like the idea of
a loose volume on a toned body, or playing with elements that are
soft and firm at the same time. I really love these contradictions
between body and cloth. They keep coming up in each collection, one
way or another. I like using models who have softer features, too,
but they need to have a strong soul. Their charisma is obvious,
and I value that quality in a man. I guess the way we perceive
beauty here is different from Europe. Visual beauty is one thing, but
I'm much more interested in revealing someone's soul, or what goes on
within their mind.

Are there pieces you keep reworking
each season?

I love outerwear, especially when it's
cozy and gives you room to breathe. Still, I favor a tight shoulder
structure when it comes to tailoring. I guess it's nice to play with
these notions of formal and informal.

How would you describe your clothes in
a few words?

It's quite simple. My clothes are
about attitudes.  



Philippe Pourhashemi

A freelance fashion writer, consultant and stylist, Philippe Pourhashemi was born in Tehran in 1976. He grew up in Paris, before moving to Scotland to study Foreign Languages. His passions are fashion and culture, as well as music and film. He writes and styles features for Metal in Barcelona, Behind the Blinds in Brussels, Contributor in Stockholm, Veoir in New York and SKP in Beijing. He was named Fucking Young's Editor-at-Large in 2016 and has contributed to ASVOF since 2008, acting as Correspondent-at-Large since 2012. An avid traveler, he likes to explore exotic fashion weeks and unexpected destinations whenever he can.