In this Style Profile feature, we speak to Mr. Park Minhong, Creative Director of AM.WE Menwear from Seoul. I actually met Minhong when I was in Seoul last October when I was attending the Seoul Fashion Week and spotted him, looking sharp and well-dressed, at a couple of fashion shows. I did not managed to speak to him at the shows, but coincidentally, when I was exploring the Apgujeong area doing street style shoots with my friend, we came across this really stylish menswear boutique AM.WE near the Rodeo Street. That’s when I met Minhong again and found that he was actually the Creative Director for this dapper Korean label for men. I immediately took this opportunity to exchange contact with Minhong and wanted to feature him on His Style Diary. I finally managed to get in touch with him again for this exclusive interview to know more about his style, his brand and some thoughts from him on Korean fashion.
HSD: Can you tell me more about your brand AM.WE and how it was started and what is your aim?
MINHONG: AM.WE is an abbreviation of our motto which is “a man wears elegance.” Although I was originally a metal craft major, I found a fascination for suits. Because I had no experience in designing them, however, I did an internship at a designer brand where I acquired my skills in making hand sewn suits and pattern making for the launching of my own brand.
HSD: What’s the inspiration and highlights for the coming SS14 collection?
MINHONG: When I prepare for up coming collections, I get my inspiration from my experiences and I like to incorporate them into my clothing. My inspiration for my SS14 collection, came from my visits to gardens and swimming pools last spring and summer. I wanted to bring those inspirations to life through my suit and show diversity in my products as a designer brand.
HSD: Is AM.WE exactly like your personal style? If not, what’s your personal style?
MINHONG: Because my inspiration comes from myself and my experiences, I always start with my personal style as a base and add new ideas on top of that. I always design clothes that I would personally wear, so I always make the craftsmanship, detail and quality of my suits a priority.
HSD: Where do you get your fashion style/inspiration from?
MINHONG: I just wear whatever I want to wear. It may sound cocky, but I don’t want to imitate others when it comes to what I wear. As a designer I think it’s important and even respectful to my customers for them to see my personal independent style.
HSD: Is there anyone who has a strong influence in your style?
MINHONG: Yves Saint Laurent. His elegant mood transcends time and space thus really appeals to me.
HSD: What is your favourite item in your wardrobe?
MINHONG: I love my suspenders, scarf, tie and long horse socks. Even with a dull suit, depending on how you match these items, the mood of the suit can be very diverse.
HSD: A man should always… (complete this sentence)
MINHONG: A man should always put forward the right attitude that will match a suit. Style is never limited to or completed just by an exterior.
HSD: What is your grooming regime? ( how do you take care of your skin, hair etc…)
MINHONG: On top of washing my face every morning, I also groom my beard which I am currently growing out. I always use good quality facial products and regularly go to the dermatologist because of my sensitive skin. As for my hair, I either do it myself or go to a salon to get it done.
HSD: Name me your favourite fashion brands/designers and where do you like to shop?
MINHONG: My favorite designer is Stefano Pilati. I love how all his work show off his unique style of masculine beauty and elegance.
HSD: Living in Seoul, do you feel that men are generally fashionable in S.Korea?
MINHONG: Men in Seoul have become much more fashionable then they have in the past as they are investing more time and money into their appearances. But In reality, most of them are still in the phase of simply following fads instead of showing their unique individual style. In about 5 years, however, I believe that we will see more and more men with individualistic styles that will be unique to Seoul.
HSD: What do you think of Korean fashion designers? Do you think more Korea brands can make it internationally?
MINHONG: Because the older and more established designers have done so well in paving the road internationally, I believe the younger generation of designers have an opportunity to try to make a name for themselves if they work hard and can make designs that are unique to Korea.
HSD: Do you think Korean people are supportive of Korean fashion brands?
MINHONG: A brand that isn’t loved in its own country cannot be successful internationally. In the past Koreans always preferred the international designer brands. Nowadays, however, they are preferring more and more Korean brand names.
HSD: Aside from AM.WE, can you recommend a few other places/brands in Korea for men’s fashion?
MINHONG: Muin is a rising Korean designer brand for men. I personally really like this brand and would like to highly recommend it.
HSD: What is one fashion mistake that you cannot stand?
MINHONG: When people choose to wear clothes based on fads and celebrities even though it looks awkward on them.
HSD: A stylish well-dressed man is…