“One day my friends said to me that people either hate or love my work and I don’t really mind. There are always two sides to everything.” says Ara Jo, a London based fashion designer from Korea. We love her work!
Tell us about you
My name is Ara Jo and I am a freelance fashion designer.
I’ve been working in London since 2009 after I graduated Central Saint Martins Womenswear. But I am planning to move to New York next year. My main interest is collaborating with artists mainly musicians, so I would love to take another chance in another place to extend my experience as a fashion designer. I am very passionate about fashion and I also love music so much.
How did you get into fashion?
I always wanted to become a fashion designer since 13. Making little pieces, hand stitching and all kinds of stuff. My mom loves fashion and she loved dressing me up when I was younger so I can’t deny that environment had affected me.
Where do you normally get your inspiration from?
Mysterious objects. I always make my own muse in each collection and love to create mysterious woman in my imagination. My collection is about full of enjoyment, craziness and unique. Women who want to enjoy their femininity with my garments, they are my clients and I am inspired by them as well.
Tell us about your famous collection, ‘Whitemare’.
The collection is for women who can enjoy my collection, is confident and loves herself.
I would describe my style is very sexy, bold, enjoyable and unique, “something different”. I like showing off woman’s beautiful body silhouette so my garments are body fitted, tight or very glamorous. One day my friends said to me that people either hate or love my work and I don’t really mind. There are always two sides to everything.
Lady Gaga had worn one of your collections. How did it happen?
Well, they are two outfits from my CSM graduate collection; 2009A/W Whitemare.
I got contacted from Dazed and Confused right after my collection was on catwalking.com
I didn’t expect it that she would actually wear my garments. But I just thought ‘I could give it a try’.
Since then, “Lady GaGa in Ara Jo’s outfit”, it was the one of my biggest moments in my life. It made me to be a fashion designer without any doubts. I always wanted to run my own label so I could design whatever I want.
Any other celebrity has worn your collection?
Lady GaGa, Jamelia, Kimberly Wyatt (Pussycat Dolls), Sabrina Washington, Leona Lewis, Solange Knowles, Buttafly, Junior Brat, Roses, Victoria Park and many more!
Are there any celebrities that you want them to wear your collection?
Tell us about your new collection, where did you get your inspiration from?
The most recent collection is called, “The Empress”.
The highest class, very strong, attractive and bit mysterious woman. As a representative, she leads people and rules. She is the most confident woman, more than anyone else. I got inspired for this collection by Mongolian/Tibetan people. They live in extremely cold climate but they have very colourful costumes and it really caught my eyes. They wear amazingly beautiful costumes, accessories. People who live in a cold land but have their own colour? I thought it would be perfect for this Autumn/Winter season. I used luxurious fabrics such as sleek fur, shimmering silk, smooth leather, glittering mesh and jacquard. Colour tones are simple based as milk white, pure white, ivory, light dirt pink and there are also accent colours like black & gold. As a result, all these “good-mood” are combined together very well. To sum up, “The EMPRESS” collection represents very royal, luxury, glamorous and bit of ethnic mood.
What is your daily routine?
I normally work at my place or my friend’s studio.
When I need to research about new collections, I always go to libraries.
As I make the garments all by myself, when the time comes to produce garments, I just work non-stop. Drawing, cutting and sewing all day. Very tiring and stressful but also very exciting as well. All my garments have stories and I give them unlimited love.
As you live in London, where is your favourite place?
I don’t really have a favourite spot, I am quite adventurous so I like to go and try new things including new places as well. I quite like the area of Black Heath at the moment. You don’t really feel like you are in busy London, there is huge grass lands and lovely houses so you can relax while you enjoy the view.
Five best things about London.
Creative people, London buses, freedom, multi-culture. Can’t think one more thing, hmmmm..
Five bad things about London.
Teenagers, they are just so rude. Some arrogant and selfish people in fashion industry whom I need to deal with sometimes! Bloody expensive to live in London, internet (unbelievable) and service (awful)
Who is your favourite fashion designer and why?
I used to like Hussein Chalayan but don’t really have a favourite fashion designer at the moment.
Maybe I would say me! Ha!
What is your interest apart from fashion?
Music. I love music, I listen to it everyday especially when I work. I can’t live without music.
I love hip-hop, R&B, bit of Reggae and funky as well.
I have quite many African, Caribbean friends so I am very familiar with their culture.
I would love to travel to Accra(Ghana) or any Caribbean countries.
Do you have any other role model apart from fashion designers?
5 things that you cannot live without
Fashion, music, my sewing machines, family and friends
Interview by Sohyung Kim