IN Interviews : Sunghee Bang


Sunghee Bang's Spring/Summer 2011 collection, “Astronaut vs. Samurai,"is a collaborative piece with videographer John Karian. Using elements from astronauts and samurais, the viral film features fashionable women's utilitarian wear from the past and the future. Bang's large collection consists of novel, one-of-a-kind costume pieces and ready-to-wear.

The collection plays with the juxtaposition of the future versus the past, east and west, and tradition in contrast to innovation. It also communicates modernity and tradition through different types of fabrication and silhouettes. Though the inspiration is very unique, what is particularly striking about the work is the use of  different textures and prints. The collection's signature marbled and kaleidoscopic digital jersey print really helps in melding the collection's different surfaces. The strong trims and construction details allow everything to carry a definitive aesthetic. From the black column-maxi dress with its sheer black, webbed back panels, to the structured blazer jacket, Bang's clothing has potential to blend perfectly with a plethora of wardrobe closets. Each piece is singularly just as intriguing as the collection's styling. It would be interesting to see how this collection could be styled given a different perspective.


Whose idea was it to create a collection/viral film this season? What spurred the “Astronaut vs. Samurai" concept? John Karian originally asked me to create costumes for him to use for a personal project, but I didn't have time since I was always working on building my line. When it came time to start designing Spring 2011, it occurred to me that I could create costumes that not only could be used for the video project, but also be a part of my collection. I created the Samurai suit and the Astronaut suit with both the video and a ready-to-wear line in mind. I chose the Samurai and the Astronaut because they were perfect representations of contrast. One represents the past, tradition, and eastern ideas, while the other represents future, modernism, and western ideas. My clothes are about expressing beauty through seemingly opposing ideas.


What's the Sunghee Bang customer like and what is their personal style? My customer is fashion-forward and is not afraid to stand out style-wise. She is edgy, confident, and creative.

What is We The People NYC and how did you get involved? It was actually all pretty random. We The People Fashion Collective was doing an open call for new designers and I just responded to it. I brought my collection over to the shop and met Vera and she loved it. Vera has a great eye for interesting design and I love that she's supporting upcoming talent.

After reading the brief Sunghee Bang collection statement, I feel like there is a bit of a fight to keep traditional techniques in fashion design; is this true? Is new and innovative fashion hurting or sprucing up the youthful perspective in the fashion world? I don't think I'm fighting for either side. My aesthetic is about embracing both the past and the future and marrying them in a beautiful and wearable way.


In such a big industry, what would you say is the key to staying relevant as a fashion designer and in business? Stay relevant by being open in every way. Immerse yourself in all creative fields whether it's design, or food, or art—be inspired!

What's on your reading list these days? What keeps you Infashuated and inspired? I am an avid blog reader! My Google Reader has a list 30+ of fashion, food, design, knitting, and travel blogs!

What would you say is IN or trending this Fall/Winter? Classic, simple silhouettes. Shapes seem to be more conservative.

What's in the future for Sunghee Bang? Only time will tell!

--Special thanks to Michelle Yin and Sunghee Bang for taking time from their busy schedule to shed some light on the Sunghee Bang collection; it's been a pleasure. All images supplied by Sunghee Bang. Interview by James Buford, and edited by Alicia Fairclough for Infashuated © 2010.