Posted on February 25 2020
by Amos Chin
The series of events that led to the establishment of “theSTOLENGARMENT” can be best described as a blessing in disguise. This unique menswear brand was founded by Jungwoo Park, better known as Woo Park, who started his label after a serendipitous twist of fate.
After graduating in 2017, Woo Park participated in the 2017 St Martin-in-the-Fields show where he showcased his graduation fashion collection. However, things took an unexpected turn when one of his exhibited garments was stolen by a trespasser. Days later, images of a homeless person wearing the same garment captured on CCTV.
In spite of the joint efforts of the London Police, the garment was never retrieved. Nonetheless, Woo Park was inspired to launch his own label to commemorate the surreal event. In a tongue-in-cheek fashion, his label was playfully yet appropriately named as theSTOLENGARMENT.
Get to find out more about the STOLEN GARMENT in our conversation below.
What made you decide to start your own label?
The compensation received from my stolen graduation piece enabled me to kick start new projects. With new projects and garments being executed, I participated in and won a fashion design competition called “Survival Fashion K”.
Do you mind explaining your concept for “the STOLEN GARMENT”?
I was often dubbed as the “naughty kid” by my drafting lecturer in school, therefore inspiring me to create apparel for those with an inner rebellious persona.
On the contrary, the guy who stole my graduation garment played a role in the establishment of theSTOLENGARMENT as well.
Essentially, I hope to produce collections with eccentric detailing that are so bizarre – one might think that it’s a beautiful mistake.
Describe your brand in 1 sentence.
“Clothes that I want to wear even if I have to steal”
What are the future plans for “the Stolen Garment”
I am one of the 10 designers that’ve been selected for the “10 Soul Program”. It’s a platform/program that enables these selected designers to represent Seoul Fashion Week. Essentially, I would like to expand internationally once I’ve built my reputation locally.
What's your inspiration for your latest collection?
I wanted to celebrate the fleeting stages of boyhood and the adolescent life that follows. Surprisingly, imagery of flowers came to mind during the development process. Logical questions about the allegory of flowers and their beauty got me intrigued and cogitated.
“What happens to our belief in the allegorical beauty of flowers when we find beautiful flowers made up of monstrous petals, or beautiful petals arranged into the most monstrous flowers?”
Eventually this paradoxical part-to-whole dynamic of the monstrous and the beautiful, became the concept. The designs are provocative yet romantic, flamboyant yet subdued. The idea is to concretize the uneasy unity of the monstrous and loveliness.
Do you have any personal favorite designs?
I get mixed feelings about all of my designs. My opinions are often polarized after every show. Nevertheless, my current collection would have to be my favourite although I feel that I could have done more.
Are there any brands/designers that you look up to?
I’ve been collaborating with Q Millinery and Ki Lee for a while now. They’ve not only been business partners but also an inspiration.
Do you have plans on creating a brick & mortar store someday in the future?
Definitely, owning a retail space would elevate my brand as well as for the growth of theSTOLENGARMENT.
What do you think about the current menswear fashion scene as well as the evolution over the years?
Looking back at the history of menswear, the changes have been very subtle.
However, in the past 15 years, the traditional boundaries in menswear started to get more obscure.
Many labels and brands are now trying to expand and push these boundaries which I find very intriguing and attractive.