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Beomkyeong Seong

Founder & Designer, IOEDLE

Beomkyeong Seong is the founder and designer of South Korean designer brand, IOEDLE. Launched in fall 2022, IOEDLE's designs take nostalgic retro fashion and put a modern twist on it. The brand actively explores intriguing and experimental designs, pursuing unisex styles.

The brand's collections are centred around themes of modern Korean history such as residential life in the '90s, wellness, industrialisation, and urbanisation. Unconstrained by trends and distinguished by a strong thematic consciousness, IOEDLE differentiates itself. Each garment carries its own story, allowing wearers to experience nostalgia not only through its appearance but also through the stories embedded within. IOEDLE is not just about selling clothes; it's about conveying stories.


We were eager to talk to Beomkyeong's designs, the processes behind his work, and IOEDLE's new collection 'Hazy Race'. Here's what he had to say...

Solstice: Tell us about yourself. Where did you grow up? Were you artistic as a child?

Beomkyeong: I was born in Changwon, a small industrial city in Korea. I started drawing from the age of three. Growing up, I would spend all day watching my mother, who was fond of crafts. Since then, I've had the goal of finding my own art style. My dream as a child was to become a painter and to pioneer my own art movement. I have continued to draw and still do so today. I especially love the works of Marcel Duchamp. Perhaps it's because he gave birth to modern art and questioned the ordinary. I really like Duchamp's logical approach to art. Someday, I hope to change the world with my fashion, just like Duchamp.

Solstice: How did you get into fashion design? How/where did you learn the art and business sides of fashion design?

Beomkyeong: In high school, I started reading fashion magazines influenced by a friend who was interested in fashion, and I was immediately captivated by fashion. At that time, I had a lot of thoughts about the practicality of art, but it seemed like fashion could satisfy my creative urges and create practical art. Deciding to pursue fashion seriously, I dropped out of school and went to the city of Busan to study fashion. After that, I entered fashion school. Art was like a habit to me. Studying art theory and appreciating paintings were a natural part of my daily routine. Also, having been interested in business from a young age, I read business books and economic newspapers. I am currently pursuing an MBA in graduate school. Looking back now, running a fashion brand and engaging in business seems like a very natural thing to me.

Solstice: When was the brand launched, and what is the main style/identity of the brand?

Beomkyeong: The brand IOEDLE was introduced to the world on October 10, 2022. After graduating from university, I started working at a company that produced history textbooks to gather funds to start the brand, which led me to immerse myself in the modern and contemporary culture of Korea. During this time, the company's CEO was looking for new business ideas, and I proposed a brand based on this culture, marking the beginning of IOEDLE. IOEDLE is based on a nostalgic style, reinterpreting Korean culture in a way that resonates globally. I research and reimagine stories from academic papers and newspaper articles to infuse each product with a narrative.


In essence, IOEDLE is a human-centric brand. I prioritize transparency in my production process and the thoughts and dilemmas that occur within it, emphasizing communication with my customers. By adding handmade artisanal details, I bridge the gap between customers and designers.


IOEDLE, with 'Nostalgic Korea' as its motto, adds a contemporary interpretation to retro fashion, introducing fresh changes to typical styles through intriguing and experimental designs. I focus on unisex styles based on men's silhouettes, and each piece carries a unique story of IOEDLE, allowing wearers to experience a special sentiment not just outwardly but through the internal narratives each item holds. IOEDLE is not just about selling clothes; it's about communicating stories through each product, engaging with customers on a deeper level.

Solstice: Describe the process from concept to final realised collection? What was your favourite part of the process?

Beomkyeong: I spend a considerable amount of time developing concepts, researching them through various media and reinterpreting them from my perspective. Typically, I dedicate one to two months to constant brainstorming, knowing that inspiration can strike at any time and place. I record my ideas in a notebook, filling it with either written words or drawings, meticulously sorting through which materials and messages to incorporate.


Next, I explore how to visually represent these abstract ideas, experimenting with various craft elements that evoke a sense of nostalgia, such as cross-stitch, leatherworking, vintage advertisements, typography, and knotting techniques. My favourite part is starting with vague ideas and then producing a large volume of sketches from those initial concepts. Immersing myself in the work allows me to enter a state of deep focus without stopping. Once hundreds of sketches have accumulated, I review them to ensure my thoughts are logically represented, capable of invoking nostalgia, not overly kitschy or tacky (a risk with the extensive use of craft elements), and harmonious with the overall mood of the collection. Following this evaluation, I complete technical sketches, create actual garment patterns, prototype them, and make necessary adjustments.

Solstice: What kind of fabrics are used in this collection? Which is your favourite to work with and why?

Beomkyeong: In this collection, I've used cotton fabrics treated with pigment dyeing followed by a bio-washing process to create a unique texture, aiming to capture the urban feel of new towns' concrete and cement. The knits incorporate a mix of various yarn colors to symbolize the noise of the city, while denim washed with strong chemicals by hand represents the intense sunlight reflected off lakes.


As someone who favors natural textures, I am particularly fond of pigment-dyed fabrics. The accidental effects and wrinkles that arise from the washing process highlight the naturalness and human aspects that IOEDLE seeks to convey. Moreover, I prefer fabrics that maintain a distinct shape, hence my preference for sturdy materials.


I enjoy searching for fabrics that offer an unconventional feel, always on the lookout for materials that incorporate new technologies. In this context, denim that allows for a variety of effects is also one of my favorite fabrics. For the next season, I plan to apply new techniques to denim.

Solstice: Which designers do you look up to/have influenced your work?

Beomkyeong: Alexander McQueen is a designer who greatly inspires me. I have always held a sense of awe for McQueen's perfect tailoring and his ability to elevate fashion to the level of art. In particular, the Fall/Winter 2009 and Spring/Summer 2010 collections continue to provide me with fresh inspiration every time I see them. When facing difficulties in my design work, I often ask myself, "WWMD, What would McQueen do?"


When I worry that my designs might be too excessive, I think of John Galliano. It seems Galliano would likely say, "Be bolder in your design!" Imagining his encouragement dispels all my worries and boosts my confidence. I motivate myself by considering Galliano's ingenious designs and the effort that must lie behind them.


Additionally, I learn a great deal from the creativity and detail in the works of Jean Paul Gaultier and Thierry Mugler. Given the current circumstances, where we need to secure investments and generate profits, I am focusing on designing practical, wearable clothing. However, the desire to create avant-garde outfits, inspired by the designers I admire, is always present. Someday, when IOEDLE has more leeway, I wish to fully express my creative desires.

Solstice: Your new collection is named ‘Hazy Race’. What is the meaning behind the collection name, and how did you get the inspiration for it?

Beomkyeong:​ During a conversation with my team, the topic of the new cities where we spent our childhoods came up. I decided to develop a season themed around the shared memories of growing up in these new towns. The development of new cities in Korea has not always been successful. They were rapidly constructed under vaguely defined plans within a short period. These were cities not centred on human needs but rather resembled factory settings, promoting standardised family values like an IKEA showroom. Politicians, eager to accumulate achievements within their terms, seemed to rush the construction of new cities as if trying to set a political record. This situation inspired the term 'Hazy Race'. It signifies the 'Hazy' planning and construction as swift as a 'Race'.


I embarked on a deep exploration of new cities, reading academic papers and newspaper articles, and visiting new towns every weekend to gain a comprehensive understanding. In my metaphorical reinterpretation, I pondered the artificial spaces where people live together like fish in an aquarium, the violent intrusion of towering buildings into nature, and yet, amidst such spaces, the happy memories and roots I formed during my childhood. This process of gathering inspiration involved reflecting on these contrasts and the essence of my experiences growing up in these uniquely planned urban environments.

Solstice: What is your favourite design from this collection? Why?

Beomkyeong: My favorite design is the 'Migratory bird cross-stitched shorts.' This design effectively reflects the core theme of this season and the nostalgia that IOEDLE strives to evoke. Observing the birth of new cities and the mass migration of people to these areas, I was reminded of the movement of migratory birds. The fly of the shorts was intentionally designed to mimic the shape of a migratory bird's beak, and the upside-down, weathered flower held by the bird symbolically represents the fading memories of home. The shape of a house, or a place of refuge, is delicately expressed with a triangular cut at the bottom of the shorts.

Inspired by the memories encapsulated in cross-stitched frames that could be found in almost every home during my childhood, I meticulously embroidered the figure of a migratory bird onto a grid-patterned ripstop fabric. During this process, I created the embroidery patterns on a computer, undergoing various tests and design modifications. Therefore, my affection for this design seems even deeper.

Solstice: This collection is mainly made up of unisex pieces. Why? Do you think this is important in modern fashion design, to make things more inclusive and sustainable?  

Beomkyeong:​ In modern society, I believe there is no point in strictly dividing clothing into menswear and womenswear. Instead of categorising them dichotomously, it's more accurate to view them as the two ends of a spectrum. IOEDLE is located just a bit closer to the menswear end of that spectrum. We aim to create clothing that he/she/they can all wear comfortably.

In modern fashion design, the distinction between menswear and womenswear, aside from the differences in patterns due to physical differences, is almost nonexistent. That is, the tendency for menswear to be masculine and womenswear to be feminine is now considered somewhat outdated. Personally, I find menswear with feminine elements to be stylish. Imagine a man wearing tweed and a pearl necklace.

I believe that inclusive and sustainable fashion is very important for consumer happiness. I pursue fashion that makes people happier and more confident by wearing it. If you feel that the clothes you wear do not suit you, then it is not the right fashion.

Solstice: How do you see IOEDLE growing and evolving in the future? (What are your aspirations for the brand in the next 5 years?)

Beomkyeong: The biggest regret we currently face at IOEDLE is that, being a small-scale brand, we cannot devote ourselves entirely to design work. Moving forward, I aim to gradually grow the brand, creating an environment where more time and energy can be dedicated to design. Furthermore, it is my goal for our designs to be recognized and stand out. While we are currently operating in the Korean market, we plan to become a global brand over the next five years. Considering the relatively small size of the Korean market and the somewhat conservative attitude of its fashion consumers, entering the global market is increasingly important.


In particular, we are currently receiving significant interest from California and Paris. These two regions, rich in cultural diversity and with consumers who have an open attitude towards fashion, are expected to play a crucial role in IOEDLE's growth into a global brand. We plan to expand our global sales network, focusing on these two areas in the future. This expansion will allow IOEDLE to reach a broader market and interact with consumers from various cultural backgrounds. This development is the vision that IOEDLE pursues for the next five years, and we will do our best to realise it.

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