* This post is written by Chloe Hwang, one of the Korean Cultural Service in New York’s Cultural Reporters.
New York City and fashion, modern society and social networking: these couplings of words go together naturally and logically. At Gallery Korea of the Korean Cultural Services New York, an exhibition titled “From On Line to Online: All Connected” combines all four subjects and presents them in the mode of fashion. It is organized by a Korean-American fashion association named “D2,” which is composed of Korean designers actively working in the fashion industry of the United States. A group of 24 artists (25 individuals) interpreted and created fascinating, yet unique, pieces of art. The materials varied from FedEx envelopes to faux-leather and were presented in clothes, shoes, bags, accessories, multimedia, etc.
Minbong Song, one of the fashion designers, passionately explained her group’s work, a mannequin dressed in reformed clothes from top to bottom. Song said, “We wanted to use unexpected materials beyond the ordinary. Along with the exhibition’s theme of ‘connection,’ our group thrived to underscore the beauty and practicality of recycled products. Don’t buy and don’t spend; an old-fashioned jacket can be transformed into a bag, unused buttons into eyeglasses, and fedex envelopes into fancy sneakers.”
‘The One’ was not only eco-friendly, but also perfectly fitting to the exhibition. Viewers were fascinated to discover how every piece of the outfit is connected to each other by zippers, making ‘The One’ piece of clothing. Not only did the zippers add aesthetic to the outfit, but also functioned as the core material for the exhibition.
Yoonhee Choe, in contrary, focused on the concept of disconnection. Choe said, “My designs show disconnection and isolation present in the modern society. Synthetic fabrics are irregularly placed on both dresses. You can think of someone blocking every possibility and opportunity from the society, pursuing a solitary state of being.” In addition, she pointed out a rope connected to one of her dresses and a phrase from the poem Brunt Norton (No. 1 of ‘Four Quartets’): “What might have been is an abstraction, remaining a perpetual possibility only in a world of speculation.”
Jihyang Yang from Amerex Group also interpreted the concept of ‘connection’ with wholly different ideas and materials. Her dresses were composed of computer keyboards dissected into individual pieces. Yang said, “I considered both connection and disconnection. I especially focused on the concepts of complex, puzzled connections of social networking. I got inspired by computer keyboards, which serve as the medium for all social networking services, such as Facebook and Twitter.”
Most importantly, these artists along with 22 others were able to communicate and ‘connect’ with a variety of viewers who came to the exhibition. Many compared “From On Line to Online: All Connected” to “Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty,” which is currently held at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. One of the visitors named Roberto Camacho appreciated D2’s artworks, which he acclaimed as “extremely contemporary and enjoyable.” Another viewer, Mary Barknecht, commented how she loves the “cutting-edge taste of the Korean-American artists who are able to connect the Western and Eastern styles and combine them into a fashion.”