Designers Byungmun Seo and Jina Um talk their brand and their experience showcasing a collection at Seoul Fashion Week.
When it comes to the fashion capitals of the world, one that is currently stirring up endless amounts of excitement is Seoul. And, a brand that is responsible for this is the luxury-meets-streetwear label BMUET(TE). Dreamed up by the talented Byungmun Seo and Jina Um, the label has been making a name for itself thanks to its uniquely balanced aesthetics and support from the likes of the king of streetwear himself, Justin Bieber. And now, in a bid to continue on with their domination of the fashion game, the brand turned their attention to their latest project: showcasing a AW21 collection at Seoul Fashion Week.
When speaking on their new collection, the pair stated, “when we look at the unknown portrait of anonymity, it should be provocative and not tell you what you already know. It is up to the viewers to interpret the story. Who it is, what kind of life they lead, where they may come from and so on. Irrespective of the race, social standing and preconceived idea, we just convey the narrative to viewers.”
Following on from their successful showcase at SFW, the designers sat down to discuss all things fashion with Wonderland. Head below to enjoy our interview with BMUET(TE)…
Hi Byungmun and Jina, how are you both?
Hi! We are doing great, thank you!
Do you both remember the first moments in which you realised that you wanted to pursue fashion as a career? Byungmun: Yes, I remember the moment. When I was a kid, I often went to the secondhand bookstore on the street market and found old fashion magazines that were eye-catching.
I was fascinated by amazing collections from respected fashion designers such as Helmut Lang and Martin Margiela. Their work looked totally different from what I thought fashion could be, and I wanted to step further into the fashion area to see more. That was the start of my journey towards becoming a fashion designer. Jina: My mum majored in fine art, so I was influenced by her aesthetic, and I always liked her vintage dresses.
Let’s start at the beginning of your journey together! I know you both met in Seoul, but how did you make the collective decision to move to London?
Yes, we first met whilst working as designers in Seoul and moved to London because we both wanted to broaden our horizons and develop our skills. Not only with fashion but also other areas such as art, music, street culture and architecture. Individually, Byungmun Seo completed his Masters at London College of Fashion in 2012 and Jina Um pursued new research in fashion design and collaborated with various artists in London.
And, you have your brand BMUET(TE)! Can you talk us through the meaning behind the name?
BMUET(TE) is the combination of the ‘BE’ verb plus the French word muet – muette means silent in English. It represents our thought that we are silent and imagine to create.
BMUET(TE) focuses on deconstructing and reinterpreting luxury, what drew you towards this sector of fashion?
We both have been inspired by the very early collections of Martin Margiela and Helmut Lang and were fascinated by their ideas around breaking the rules and recreating styles. We looked to redefine that style with the process of deconstructing and finding new beauty from that viewpoint. And now, we bring that process and beauty into our collection.
Congratulations on making it to SFW! How does it feel to be presenting at such a prestigious fashion event?
We couldn’t feel more excited! We think SFW is getting more diverse and attracting a wider audience. We like the dynamic waves being made in Seoul.
And you are unveiling your AW21 collection! Can you talk us through it? Is there a particular theme that the collection is based around?
For the AW21 collection, we were looking at 17th and 18th-century portraiture and mixing Victorian references with dramatic silhouettes and rich fabrication.
And, could you talk us through its name, “DEAR ANONYMOUS”?
When we look at the unknown portrait of anonymity, it should be provocative and not tell you what you already know. It is up to the viewers to interpret the story. Who it is, what kind of life they lead, where they may come from and so on. Irrespective of the race, social standing and preconceived idea, we just convey the narrative to viewers.
You have seen the likes of Justin Bieber wearing your designs which is so exciting! Do you have anyone else that you dream of dressing one day?
We like the style icons Sasha Pivovarova, Natalia Vodianova, Emma Watson, Rihanna, and Madonna. We hope to collaborate with them soon.
What is next for you? Do you have any other projects that you are plan to work on soon?
We are planning to nurture and strengthen our brand awareness and expand to the international market. Our next collection should visually communicate with more people, and we plan to have an installation and pop-up store from which to talk about our label. We are also talking with well-known boutiques to plan some collaborations and are very excited about the projects.