[ELLE] Why i wear my hanbok – 18.09.19
Enter Leesle. South Korean fashion designer Leesle Hwang founded the brand in 2014 to promote modern hanboks that reflect our current needs—namely, her designs are washable and have pockets. As Korea’s global influence spreads—from K-pop to K-beauty—it seems only natural that Korean fashion would follow. In 2015, Karl Lagerfeld presented his Korean dynasty-inspired Chanel cruise collection in Seoul, which included his own take on the silhouette. A year later, Carolina Herrera partnered with the South Korean government to create three custom-made hanboks, which were shown at New York’s Museum of Arts and Design. And this past March, Seoul Fashion Week’s opening runway show featured an all-hanbok line by renowned costume designer Kim Hye-soon, using unconventional fabrics like faux fur and sequins. Street-style photos show young women and men pairing jeogoris with jeans, mixing traditional outerwear with sweaters, and even bending the hanbok’s gender rules with unisex pants.
I visited the Leesle Design Lab store in Jeonju, South Korea, a few months ago, eager to embrace the refreshed, more accessible iteration of the hanbok. There, I slipped into jackets with high slits and belts, Y-collared blazers with knot buttons, and short jeogori tops paired with chima skirts in lace, linen, and cotton—each piece a beautiful blend of old and new. I left with an armful of new clothes to take home to Chicago.