Fashion, like art, embodies the time we live in and society bears witness to the interpretation of its historical and cultural significance.
Yes, it’s a powerful medium through which conflicting ideas of aesthetics, ethics, appropriateness, and desirability are debated within each cultural society and played out through fashion events, high profile and celebrity influences, political and religious influences, utilitarian needs, and the global spread of capitalism.
Seoul, South Korea artist, 배혜진 Hyee Jin Bae, sees clothing as culture and habit. She says, “We wear and take them off daily, which makes it a part of life. However, the process is also repetitive so it is not easy for us to recognize the act itself. I strive to discover a new aspect of our daily lives. Typically, the visual form or design is based on the functionality, but the function of the clothing that I make differs from looking posh or preventing the cold. My clothes are designed for people to focus on the act of wearing the clothing.”
Hyee Jin identifies herself as an artist who creates. In this particular body of work, she sees her creations as a form of clothing. She recently exhibited this collection at CICA Museum, Seoul, South Korea. In our exchange of conversation and her artist statement, Hyee Jin talks about the parallels of fashion and art, her view of the purpose and behavioral aspects of wearing clothing, its functionality and contribution to society.
Hyee Jin, do you feel that there is a strong parallel of fashion and art?
Yes, I believe fashion allows humans to discover a new side of them, aiming for a higher quality of life. Fashion and art is similar in a sense that it is not separated from life. Several elements may distinguish them apart from each other, but I particularly do not separate them in my design. My work is different from fashion since I strive for a better look and a better life. Fashion does not typically question the act of wearing the clothing, nor process and method behind it. Based on the fact that people wear clothes, they are more interested on the superficiality of it. It could also be a discussion of where the functionality stands among other priorities. For myself, I do not feel the necessity to strictly distinguish the two.
Talk to us about your interpretation of the “present and future” experience of wearing clothing.
Repeated everyday acts are considered as part of our daily lives without any special meaning, but in fact, they are futuristic and purposeful. Things such as wearing clothes, eating food, etc. also differ in type and content according to their purpose.
I want to give the present to those who are willingly sacrificing their present for their future. In order to experience the present behavior when wearing clothes, I slightly modified the shape of the clothes and the process of wearing it. It takes more time to wear these clothes, and requires new sets of movements. Crawling through a dark aisle, spinning in circles, raising, etc. are movements that break the repetition of routines that makes wearing clothes lose its original purpose, thus
becoming a present act.
How does this affect our everyday life?
In our everyday life that is very fast-paced, we often chase the future and live without recognizing the present. However, the repetitive and customary actions that make up our lives are components that we cannot remove or give up. When I noticed these moments of life that were ignored, ordinary life becomes special, and allows you to pay attention to your existential value.
Through my work, I am trying to experiment and demonstrate the diverse and interesting attitudes of individuals who are leading their everyday lives towards uniformity and standardized inertia of common sense, institutions, and customs in our society in today’s world. I hope my small attempts can suggest new meanings to everyday moments in real life.
Feature Photo: Courtesy of CICA Museum, Seoul, Korea | Art For Living Space exhibition, 배혜진 HYEE JIN BAE, Artist.
Photos: Courtesy of 배혜진 HYEE JIN BAE, Artist.