Acceptance Letter Studio celebrates a wide, diverse range of beauty. International, multicultural, queer, confident people can see the power of choice their pieces give. Their uniqueness lies in openness, gender neutrality and undeniable draw towards daily use. Jakeyoung Shim, founder and designer at Acceptance Letter Studio seeks to create a fashion culture that is unapologetically sensual with garments that are non-gender specific and applicable from day to evening. Crafting sustainable and well-made garments in Germany and Korea with care and with functionality in mind, the brand is aiming to align with a self-determined generation by creating products of lasting emotional value.
In today’s cross-cultural environment, we, at RED EYE, were very curious about how the designer is working to create a culture of acceptance through forms of collaboration and coexistence with all different characteristics and values, here below the interview:
Hi Jakeyoung, welcome to RED EYE, being a Korean born designer based in Berlin, share with us a few highlights about your journey and when was your first approach to fashion?
I moved to Berlin in 2016. Going from spending three years in a relatively smaller city to Berlin, it was so exciting to see what makes up Berlin. There are techno heads, hippies, people of all nationalities, posh folks, you name it. I ended up working for many different companies with very different target demographics. While it was great accumulating knowledge through my work, I’ve always been in conflict with fashion being so exclusive and unwelcoming at times. I wanted to do something about this by running a label on my own terms, and bring warmth and acceptance to core.
We love your vision regarding openness and gender neutrality. How aware are you of the fact that you are considered to be a cool designer making art pieces in a futuristic way? What is the message behind your brand and how do you expect people without a ‘voice’ to react?
At the core of it, I find that it is my job to make a garment that makes people feel good, accessible and inviting. I suggest a design in forms of fabric choice, colour and its styles, but what counts the most is the wearer having an ownership over their own self-expression through wearing my garments. I believe that my job is giving folks options to play with, rather than dictating how my clothes ought to be worn. The message behind the Acceptance Letter is. Come as you are, utilise these clothes to feel at your most authentic self.
Tell us more about your inspiration sources for the Fall-Winter 23/24 collection showcased with 3RdEye Showroom in Paris. Walk us through your design process a little bit. Are there any pieces that are your favourite from this collection?
It is definitely the puffer jacket. It is so warm, light and it makes the body look nice and structured. The topstitching is supposed to mimic the inverted triangle shape of traditionally masculine physics. I think no matter who you are, we should be able to play with that when we feel like it.
The best things are usually created when people follow their own vision rather than just pursuing success or money for its own sake. How challenging is the business part for you as a creative based in Berlin?
In my eyes, Berlin is not a hustle culture city, which I love. But I often feel like I am running around like a headless chicken while people are living it up. I was told and being told now that I am making my life too complicated by running my label.
They are not wrong. But see now, for me, Berlin is a culture rich city where you will never run out of inspiration and the studio rent is cheaper than all major fashion cities. There is soil for young creatives here. Not to mention, there are institutions like Fashion Council Germany actively supporting young fashion designers.
How would you define the term “long-lasting” in fashion? How do you face challenges in such a complex industry?
I live by what my relatives told me once. She is a pattern maker and runs her own business in the Fashion production sector. It’s not about making one big noise, It is about consistency. I am relatively fresh into running my own label and I can already tell this is a lot about endurance. To add to this, I think it is about being able to read the world and adapt, or stick to your niche that wants very specific products from you, or move on to something else that isn’t fashion work.
How do you explore the needs of innovation and revolutionary changes through the fabrics when it comes to be worn by different personalities. What makes you satisfied? What makes you happy?
People come in all kinds of forms, and personalities right? Whatever I make, people need to wear the clothes. I think it is unsuccessful for me when it looks like the clothes are wearing them. In terms of innovation and revolutionary changes through textiles, I think it has to do with the way I develop garments. While I have my sketch and Moodboard at my disposal, I spend a lot of time analysing the garments and trying them on. Therefore I can understand the DNA of that specific piece, and see how the extracted identities can marry the atmosphere of the collection.
We know that your garments are inspired by the youth’s freedom of expression and such things are clearly seen in your garments. How can you create such strong garments in a positive way?
Oh, heavens, I wish I had a better answer for this. I think it has to do with the way I develop the garments A, and B it is because of the people I collaborate with in the process of making the collection happen. I suppose It is one of those things that is so hard to reverse engineer when you are too invested in it to zoom out.
How has your childhood had an impact on your career? Is travelling regularly also an important aspect of your creative process?
I reckon most Koreans can relate, especially ones that grew up in Seoul.
Seoul, where I am from, had an intense go-go-go energy I somehow can never find in Europe. It is so full of energy and fast-paced.
Meanwhile, Berlin has its own tempo that is slower and down to earth. I enjoy dipping back and forth between these two different cities. As long as I find a balance that serves me, getting different influences from two places works for me.
What’s your favourite project that you’ve worked on during your career?
My favourite project was working with a filmmaker, Jeremiah Lemohang mosese. I made a headpiece out of chandelier crystals, and it was all hand sewn for one special scene. I had lots of fun making this piece. My fingers are probably not too happy.
Name us a few creatives you would like to collaborate with.
I would love to work with Raveena, I love her music and visuals. She is sublime
What was the last place that really fascinated you?
It is an odd one because I’ve been to this place too many times. New York fascinates me a ton and it never fails to do so.
A letter to your future self. What would you write?
Please do not panic. Oftentimes it is no big deal when you look back at it 3 months later, if not 3 weeks or 3 days.
Interview by Mira Wanderlust
Image Courtesy Acceptance letter Press Office