Q&A | Moon Choi

by Morgan Vickery

New York-based fashion designer, Moon Choi, is at the burgeoning forefront of genderless ready-to-wear fashion. Upon graduating with a BFA from Parsons, Moon won '­Portfolio of The Year' and finalist for 'Designer of the Year in ­Womenswear;' since gaining multiple CFDA design awards. For Moon, clothing is a second skin that influences identity and behavior. In continuing this conversation, she created a Journal blog segment to appeal to her brand's lifestyle community, sharing assets of art and photography.

Blending masculine and feminine silhouettes, Choi reflects the times of gender-inclusivity. Tailored suiting is a central pillar to Moon's design process, emphasizing structure as it relates to the human form. Her most recent collection for Pre-Fall 2019 embodies movement and emotion; symbolizing the 'layers' of existence with asymmetric construction and multi-layered panels. Flaunt spoke with the forward-thinking designer to discuss her design influences and conversations in clothing identity.

While drafting garments for each season, what does your creative process look like?

There's a lot of back and forth in my creative process. I get my inspiration by researching and writing scenarios regarding the design concept, mostly focusing on the silhouette and form. Then, I sketch draping shapes with fabrics in mind – referencing my research – go back to editing, draping, pattern making, fitting, etc. This whole process is repeated until I feel the garment is exactly what I had imagined. It's a long journey to get to the end result, but to me – it's entirely enjoyable as there's so much to learn on the way.

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What's your ideal design formula for balancing masculine and feminine cuts.

There aren't any formulas or answers for creating genderless fashion. After I showcased a few seasons, I figured out that it's not necessary to differentiate what's masculine or feminine and why I am trying to blend the two.

So when I begin the design process, I design based on my research on form, silhouette, and movement without the distinction of gender. As shown in my most recent collection, it's not about aggressively trying to appeal to genderless fashion, but instead, our brand's goal is for our audience to feel the message we want to convey openly with our eyes, ears, and mind.

How does clothing influence one's identity?

I believe clothing is our second skin. Clothing contains so much information about our personality, culture, interests, religion, and occupation, and this type of information reveals and influences the individual. For example, we instinctively dress according to time, place, and occasion, and as clothing influences behavior, this has a significant impact on the identity of the individual.

Fashion is the most easily accessed and consumed product concentrated on culture, trends, and lifestyles of the present age. This makes fashion absolutely influential to identity because it is worn as part of our bodies all day.

You once said that your background defines who you are as a designer. How has your background influenced your affinity with structured tailoring?

That's really related to the way of my parent's education. Tailoring is the central pillar of my designs. While growing up, I would notice what my father wore to the office - the typical men's suiting. Every time he got ready for work, he would leave in a clean, tailored look. From there, I started to observe how his clothes formed his identity and attitude. This has Influenced my collection to create gender-neutral clothing consisting of wool blazers with dramatically padded shoulders and elegantly tailored suit coats.

Tell us about the Journal portion of your website and the importance of blending art and photography with your designs.

I believe that fashion influences the identity and behavior of people because fashion is one of the most easily accessible and consumable artworks we incorporate in our lifestyle, culture, and trends. On our website, we're not just selling beautiful clothing; we're also sharing our brand's DNA through our approach to beauty and a tailored and relaxed lifestyle. By sharing the photography or artwork I'm inspired by, I want to convey to our customers the lifestyle and beauty we're pursuing.

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What inspired your most recent, Fall/Winter '19 collection?

The Fall/Winter 2019 collection was inspired by movement and human emotion. Life isn't a single layer; it's about your life experiences and how you move (physically and mentally) through it all. I thought about how the garment flows with our bodies and emotions. This collection also uses jersey for knit tops which are twisted at the torso as if the wearer had turned around. There are also trench coats with asymmetric construction and panels along the sleeves to evince a multi-layered look.

What's next?

We show our collection twice during NYFW. Besides that, we are doing our best to juggle and balance conveying consistent brand messaging, delivering a high-quality product, and utilizing the best partners to ensure that. Once the momentum gets going, I want to explore accessories like handbags, footwear, jewelry, and other leather goods.