Designer goes from street stall to ParisIt took him 10 years, but the clothing designer Choi Bum-suk, 30, has gone from Seoul’s Dongdaemun market to Paris’ Printemps Department Store and Le Bon Marche.
Mr. Choi’s General Idea brand of men’s clothing will be sold in the import boutiques corner on the second floor of the Printemps store at the end of this month, and clothes bearing another brand by Mr. Choi, W5H, will be sold in the LOA showroom at Le Bon Marche.
General Idea is the second Korean men’s clothing brand to have been launched in Paris, following Solid Homme by Woo Young-mi.
Mr. Choi started selling clothes in Dongdaemun market before he joined the local fashion industry. He never had a proper education as a designer, but Mr. Choi’s fashion sense won many loyal customers.
He took part in the SFAA Seoul Collection in 2003, earning him recognition in the industry. His customers include such Korean stars as Jo In-sung, Kwon Sang-woo and Lee Jun-ki. His clothes feature colorful prints and are designed to show off the male figure, making them popular with 20-something men.
“I am happy about launching my brand in Paris, but I want to concentrate on improving recognition in Paris rather than sales,” Mr. Choi said. “Participating in the collection and being ranked 90th among 100 designers doesn’t mean anything. After debuting and being placed 90th, it’s difficult to become one of the top 10 designers. I want to build more experience in Korea before entering the Paris collection.”
Mr. Choi opened a General Idea store in Apgujeong-dong, southern Seoul, in 2004 and started selling the same brand clothes in Lotte department stores in 2005. He also plans to open a store in Fukuoka in Japan.
“In Dongdaemun market, I only had to care about selling clothes, but in Apgujeong-dong I need to pay attention to everything, from the shop display to the music,” Mr. Choi said. “I feel like I’m making clothes the right way.”
by Jo Do-yeon