- 21 FEBRUARY 2023
- MIRA WANDERLUST
- Image by
young n sang, the South Korean duo experimenting patchwork + hand-weaving with a futuristic vision
young n sang is a men’s streetwear brand that was founded by a designer couple, Youngshin and Sanglim, in 2018. This dynamic duo met in middle school and has been together for the last 13 years. Together, they have worked to make great strides in gaining recognition for their innovative style. Their continual effort towards their fashion was first recognized in 2015 when they were selected as winners for two of the Council of Fashion Designer of America (CFDA) competitions. As a result of Sang' recognition for her design, the CFDA recommended her as the “perfect creative ambassador” in 2016. This recommendation had landed her a collaboration with the NFL to design a football ball for the 50th Anniversary of Super Bowl.
young n sang is based on experimental fabrication and sustainability through patchwork and hand-weaving.
For their first collection "Wing it", the designers focused on innovative patchworking skills. For the last season "Street Vendors", hand weaving was a base and various prints and fabrics were used for making hand-woven garments. Instead, the Fall/Winter 2023 PERMAFROST collection is inspired by the Inuit people living in the permafrost.The Inuits have long sanctified "clothes making" to survive the severe cold. Making clothes has been considered as a sacred task because it is directly related t o survival by thoroughly preventing cold and wind during hunting and preventing water from seeping in. For that reason, Inuits devote effort, time, and craftsmanship in making clothes, and are very proud of it.
‘’We, who make handwoven clothes, felt a deep homogeneity in the way Inuit treated clothes, and that was the beginning of the collection. The design of handwoven line pieces begins based on threads. We search and select the textures, colors, and shapes of the threads that match the concept of the collection, and make swatch samples with selected threads. We finally select swatch samples that match the ageless design and concept we aim for, weave fabrics by hand loom based on the designs of the selected swatches, and make final collection pieces. All the fabrics of the pieces in the handwoven line are designed in young n sang atelier, and can only be experienced in young n sang collection.’’
All collections are made in young n sang atelier.
Share with us a few highlights about your background related to fashion design and how did it start?
We, YoungShin and SangLim met in middle school, and dreamed of becoming a fashion designer while spending adolescence together and went SCAD together to study fashion. In 2018, we started a sustainable brand to show beauties we have shared with each other.
Tell us more about the high sustainable standards behind the brand.
High sustainable philosophy behind the brand is ageless wear that is together from youth to old age, are with all memories of life, and evoke nostalgia for memories. Recalling precious memories in our lives makes us feel happiness. We hope our clothes will be with you in those memories and wish that the clothes you wore until old age will be a link to your precious memories.
What were the visual references or inspiration for the merman menswear collection?
Merman is a symbolic word for the man on the beach we ideally imagined. the mood of ideal imagination was Relax, coolness. We visually expressed the imagined image through the colors, materials, and accessories of the collection.
We found amazing fashion installations in South Korea. How did this start? Just walks us through the design process of both.
Just like creating collections, creating art installations is a different form of work that visualizes and expresses our identity. So the concepts of these installations are very much related to what young n sang atelier does. It is natural to do art installation works like designing and making clothes at atelier.
How important is it to develop young n sang as a culture? How would you describe in a few words a long-lasting garment?
We design ageless wear to create beauty that all generations can empathize with. Collections are introduced through young, middle-aged, and senior models. The image of young people in the future we hope is to make them aware that our collections can be shared and worn by grandfathers, fathers, sons, and grandchildren. This empathy for the beauty of clothes is beyond each generation gap, which is an opportunity to communicate and get closer to each other without walls. This will naturally become a culture of young n sang. Ageless wear transcends generations and naturally becomes long-lived clothes.
What are some of the biggest challenges, in your opinion, that independent brands like yours are facing right now? How can greenwashing be avoided?
In order to continue to produce the sustainable handwoven collections, it needs to invest more love, efforts, time and finance.
We believe the most important value of sustainability is to wear clothes carefully for a long time. Thus, ageless wear does the opposite of trendy clothes that are quickly consumed. No matter how eco-friendly clothes are, the design is too trendy to last long and is not sustainable.
In order to reduce the amount of wasted fabrics when cutting clothes as much as possible, we have developed and used our own patterns to cut the maximum amount of clothes with minimal fabrics. We produce as much fabrics as we need even if the fabric prices go up to reduce the inventory of fabrics as much as possible after production.
We are doing local production to reduce unnecessary carbon emissions.
A few words about your Fall/Winter 2023 PERMAFROST collection showcased in Paris Fashion Week and was inspired by Inuit people.
“PERMAFROST” collection was inspired by the Inuit people living in the permafrost. They have long sanctified “clothes making” to survive the severe cold. Making clothes has been considered a sacred task because it is directly related to survival by thoroughly preventing cold and wind during hunting and preventing water from seeping in . For that reason, Inuits devote effort, time, and craftsmanship in making clothes, and are very proud of it. We who make handwoven clothes felt a deep homogeneity in the way Inuit treated clothes, and that was the beginning of the collection.
What’s your favorite project that you have worked on?
This latest editorial is our favorite project that is the work with great grandfather and great grandchild, and it is a meaningful work for us because it seemed to give them beautiful memories.
A letter to your future self. What would you write?
What we wanted to achieve was not able to be never done in a short time, and needed a lot of patience, effort, and time. Do you hate Sunday in the future, too?
Interview by @mirawanderlust