Korean-based designer Juun.J is releasing a very street-inspired collaboration with the artist Josh Luke on Friday. The T-shirts, sweatshirts, bomber jackets, and New Era caps will feature Luke’s text and graphic designs on the designer’s exaggerated silhouettes. Juun.J has been crafting what he calls “street tailoring” with a very global perspective for years now—based in Seoul, he shows in Paris—so it’s fitting that this capsule will be sold through pop-ups at eleven stores in eight countries, including 10 Corso Como in Milan, Opening Ceremony in New York, and Joyce in China. We connected with Juun.J by e-mail to chat about the intersection of streetwear and tailoring, and how Rihanna can help boost sales.

—Noah Johnson

The concept of “street tailoring” is more prescient now than ever, as we have seen “streetwear” move toward tailoring, and tailoring move toward streetwear. How did you come to the idea of street tailoring? And how has it changed or evolved for you over the seasons?

My design identity and philosophy is “reinterpretation of classic.” All my designs are based on classic, and get re-created through the street taste. I always observe people on the streets to get inspirations for street tailoring. Fashion on the streets is very common, yet at the same time, very avant-garde. So-called fashion leaders are always great to observe, but I observe seniors with aged clothes or military personnel closely, as well. I get ideas from them because they are more fashionable and hipper than models on the runway sometimes. My street tailoring evolves based on changes I see on the streets. For example, I presented oversized patterns for much of 2013, whereas I put more emphasis on sharper tailoring in 2014.

Why is it important to you to continue using classical tailoring concepts in techniques in your work?

Classic tailoring is the foundation of menswear, and I believe it decides the beauty of clothes. Before the collection begins, I begin with researching and putting the most time into the season’s jackets. It costs so much time and effort, but it is such an important phase of the whole collection process. Trends and hit items might be always changing, but jacket in menswear is an immortal item. Also, I have the utmost confidence in jackets.

You’re sometimes referred to as an innovative designer. What does innovation in fashion mean to you?

I believe innovation in fashion is creating something completely original through reinterpreting what already exists in new, modern methods. This is Juun.J designs’ identity and philosophy. For now items could be unfamiliar and uncomfortable, but I reflect how people could consider those items classic in the future. I love the word evolution. I think creation belongs to God, whereas evolution is up to humans. I sincerely want to be a designer who keeps evolving.


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The fashion world seems to be looking more to Asia as a center because of growing markets there. How does being based in Korea affect what you do?

Even though I have fashion shows in Paris and stay there to get inspirations for new collections, I do spend most of my time in Seoul, Korea. Korea, especially Seoul, is a place where everything happens very quickly and has a high level of technology. People work very diligently, and everything gets done at a lightning speed. Therefore, it does not take much time to realize what I think. I think Korea has a great environment to focus on innovation since it’s easy to test adapting special functions and techniques for fashion.

Has easy access to the world of fashion from anywhere in the world, thanks to the Internet, helped your business?

The development of Internet greatly helps Juun.J’s business. Through the Internet, Juun.J’s recognition in the USA and Asia is rising even though the fashion show is held in Paris. It’s very exciting for me to have famous artists such as Kanye West and Rihanna to easily contact and show interest in Juun.J. Also, the Internet makes it possible for an item to sell out in China the day after Rihanna wears that specific item in a different continent. As you can see, Internet spreads news very quickly to famous artists and the public alike, and it helps greatly for Juun.J’s business.

The pop-up collection is more focused on graphic streetwear—was it fun for you to design? How did you approach the collection?

It’s always a pleasure to work with Josh Luke, who is such an extraordinary, talented artist. To make things more exciting and fun, graphics in the upcoming global pop-up are works that I especially like. I focused presenting street tastes in high-end style when preparing this global pop-up. The collection will have everything that streets offer: strong contrast in graphics, highlight of gold and silver, and showing sophisticated embroidery. I believe this collection will show beauty that is different from the past Juun.J graphic items.

What is your favorite piece?

I like every piece from this global pop-up, but if I do have to pick one, it would be Juun.J’s famous sweatshirt. It is made of specially developed, light neoprene and has allover prints with strong color contrasts.