Fashion and Technology Converge at a Human Core

Written by on October 29, 2011 in Arts, Korea Abroad

* This post is written by Elizabeth Shim for the Korean Cultural Service in New York.

Interconnected creativity reigned supreme at the opening reception of D2P2’s 2011 Fashion Project, “From On Line to Online: All Connected.” The exhibit, featuring the latest works from 24 Korean fashion professionals, revolves around themes of social networking, technology in fashion, and collaboration among designers with different approaches. On reception night, participants pondered both the bounty and limitations of social networks. Their answers, like their fashions, were designed to both surprise and stimulate.

Jie-Euen Choi, an intern at Zac Posen

Jie-Euen Choi, an intern at Zac Posen

Jie-Euen Choi's exhibit Cyber Camepia (vinyl synthetic fabric and leather)

Jie-Euen Choi’s exhibit Cyber Camepia (vinyl synthetic fabric and leather)

Jie-Euen Choi, an intern at Zac Posen, is showcasing dresses of connected threads that are metaphors for her exhibit theme, “Invisible Networking.” Choi, an actively engaged user of social networks, particularly Facebook, said the exhibit provides her an opportunity to express her impressions of cyberspace. Choi made the transition from Korean social network Cyworld to US-based Facebook since moving to New York over 2 years ago, proving that when your real life moves, your virtual life does follow your pattern of migration.

Sarah Shin and four other designers reused everyday items to create a detachable outfit of vest, jeans, and a bag. Shin, a designer at Joseph A and Poleci, wryly observed virtual friendships on platforms like Facebook were different from actual conversations. “You’re given a chance to edit what you say,” she mused, “and that’s not genuine.” However, the lure and convenience of connecting with multiple friends or sharing information are an essential part of her designing career. “I enjoy The Cut,” Shin smiled, referring to the online fashion section of New York Magazine, “as well as Style.com.”

Esteban Ko

Esteban Ko

Esteban Ko and details of his hand-knitted Morse-coded scarf.

Esteban Ko and details of his hand-knitted Morse-coded scarf.

A completely different approach is the philosophy behind Esteban Ko’s installation of various interactive pieces. Ko’s garments and works were produced through the use of Morse codes and other distinct formulas. He hoped that technology could be used creatively to inspire other people, but rarely uses social networks, because of the drawbacks of virtual interactivity. “Interaction is losing it human side,” he said, “I can’t remember the last time I sent a letter to someone. And I’d rather see a friend. It’s much, much better.” Ko’s last statement, with echoes of the Korean sentiment jeong, reflected what the visually impressive exhibit is truly about. Style, yes, but also friendships, coming together, and sharing a convivial passion: for design, creativity, and most importantly, human interaction that touches the heart.

D2P2’s 2011 Fashion Project, “From On Line to Online: All Connected,” ran from May 18 to June 23, 2011 at Gallery Korea, Korean Cultural Service New York.

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Starting in May 2011, we have been the first class of the Korean Cultural Service New York’s cultural reporters to help promote the uniqueness of Korean culture to New York City -- the world’s cultural hub. As cultural reporters in New York City, we first take on challenges and initiatives to report about dynamic Korean culture to the metropolitan area, but we project that we will eventually reach beyond just New Yorkers to raise awareness about Korean culture to the world.