Don’t pass Ji Oh

Ji Oh is to millennials what Comme des Garcons and Issey Miyake are to GenXers and Baby Boomers. Looking at her collection and social media imagery, she is a dreamer, a surrealist, an artist, and definitely of the now.

“Provocative Basics”, her tagline, is spot on.

Ji Oh says, “I make uniforms”. Uniforms for whom?… She is clearly dressing artists, or at the very least patrons.

The clothing designs are crisp, clean, streamlined, understated, and elegant in their simplicity, but they are also sexy in a way that is not ostentatious or gaudy. Her palette is predominantly black and white, with some sky denim, red hues, and the occasional green or cobalt.

Her clothing is comfortable and easy to wear while being unique enough to make a statement that substantiates the wearer as intelligent. In this way, I am reminded of both Agnes B. and Sonia Rykiel, who share a similar understated European and Asian quietude.

Ji Oh, while South Korean in origin, studied her craft at the prestigious Saint Martins in London, and Parsons in New York – arguably the world’s top two schools for fashion.

However, unlike her peers from the UK, Ji is not as over the top as those costume couturiers, nor is she as conventional as many American designers.

Rather than focusing on either outrage or tradition, she cuts and drapes to create twists, often literally, on classics, using asymmetrical silhouettes, unexpected cutouts, and deconstructed raw seems, creating a very wearable collection of fashion forward sportswear that can just as easily be worn to the office, to a luxurious picnic (from Dean & Deluca) in Central Park, or gallery hopping in Chelsea.

The clothes in Ji Oh’s collections are paradoxically architectural, geometric, and yet also comfortable enough to be easily wearable. She has several cuts that are inspired by kimonos and yet are softened and simplified to make them comfortable rather than restrictive.

The statement Ji is making is not about power or sex, but about thought, self-expression and confidence. These are clothes for women, not girls. Her clients know who they are, and they whisper to make their statements bold rather than scream.

All of this is very 2018, so it is no surprise that she has quickly ascended the ranks of designers that are important in this precise moment. Her collections are perfectly in harmony with the now and the fashion world has taken notice. Ji Oh has quickly gained recognition with multiple sponsorship wins from the Korea Fashion Association, nominations as an FGI Rising Star Finalist from 2014-2016, and was named a Samsung Fashion Design Fund Finalist in 2016. Ji Oh is also a 2016 CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund Finalist and current CFDA incubator 4.0 awardee.

-Michael Tronn

 

 What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?

 Work hard in silence, let your success be your noise.

Ji Oh resort 2019

How would you describe your brand in five words or less?

Uniform redefined.

 

Can you give us some background on yourself? When the brand launched and

how was the brand conceived?

I first launched Ji Oh Fall of 2014. After WWD covered our first

collection, we began to sell at Barneys New York, Harvey Nichols,

Intermix, and a handful of specialty stores across the world.

Ji Oh Spring 2015 Ready-to-Wear
Ji Oh Spring 2015 Ready-to-Wear

What inspires you right now?

Reconstructing and playing with garments always inspires me. You can

often find me at Salvation Army playing with oversized shirts and pants.

 

What is your largest adversity at the moment?

It’s always an ongoing process to ensure I am using the best quality of

fabric at affordable market prices to ensure I am giving the same best

quality and price value to our customers.

 

Who are your icons and why?

I don’t have any specific icons, but I do find myself admiring those

who are 100% aware of who and what they are wearing and how they carry

themselves while wearing it.

Ji Oh Spring 2016 Ready-to-Wear

Who is your dream client you would like to dress?

I don’t have anyone  in specific as a dream client, but my loyal and new

customers are my dream clients. It’s always been a dream to dress for

people who were dreamers like myself.

 

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?

Work in silence, let your success be your noise.

 

What couldn’t you do without?

Biking.

 

What music do you listen to when you design?

Whatever my studio manager, Ishmael is playing on Spotify. It’s usually

an eclectic mix of Oldies, New Wave, R&B, and Classical.

Ji Oh resort 2018

What themes are you pursuing in your designs?

Menswear is a re-occurring theme in my designs. Reconstructing classic

uniforms like men’s shirting is another theme I always pursue, but

making sure it’s effortless and wearable.

 

What should we being looking out for in 2019 from JI OH?

Expanding further into the Asian/European markets and continuing to

build our new sustainable capsule collection, ANOTHER by Ji Oh.