March 13, 2010 08:23
A simple silhouette, bold colors, straight-line coats and curvy-lined dresses -- these are some of the golden rules in fashion today. But in the early 1990s, not many people showed that kind of restraint.
Andy & Debb was one of the pioneers. When everyone else was praising exaggerated style of fashion, designer couple Kim Seok-won and Yoon Won-jeong launched the brand under the banner of "romantic minimalism" in 1999. "When we first displayed our clothes in our shop, many shoppers weren't familiar with our design style, and some of them even asked us if these were imported clothes," Kim says.
Eleven years on, Andy & Debb has been featured at New York Fashion Week four times and is now selling in the U.S., Europe and the Middle East. Andy & Debb pursues pragmatic line of clothes that models would feel comfortable in walking off the catwalk and into the street.
But they also try to distinguish their designs with a unique silhouette, for example by accentuating round shoulders and making the waistline start from just below the chest. In this way, women wearing their clothes can look taller and slimmer.
The couple met when they were both studying fashion design at the Pratt Institute in New York. Kim proposed to Yoon by saying, "Let's make a world class brand under our names." After graduation, the two found jobs at fashion houses in New York. They worked for some four years and saved money but were afraid that they would lose out on their dream if they stayed for too long. So they quit, returned to Korea, and opened a small shop in Sinsadong, in 1999. In 2008, they first made it to the New York Fashion Week.
"I think the key to success was making clothes that I wanted my wife to wear, rather than making them for celebrities and actresses," Kim says. "When I made clothes that would look nice on my wife, I got the best reviews. To me, fashion design is projecting my life companion through clothes."
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