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General Idea Spring 2017: From Factory Worker To Korean Fashion Superstar


General Idea’s Spring 2017 Menswear Show by Designer Bumsuk Choi

Bumsuk Choi came from humble beginnings, but had ambitious dreams of becoming a clothing designer at a very young age. He grew up the son of a street vendor in South Korea and dropped out of high school to work in a clothing factory. Having had little exposure to fashion besides his own personal interest, he learned the craft of pattern-making and picked up invaluable sewing skills along the way. On weekends Choi sold fabrics at the Dondedaemun clothing market in Seoul and eventually started constructing his own pieces. “I made a T-shirt that was a mess, but I cried because I was so happy I made something,” he said. His passion for design inspired him to open a street shop in Seoul’s artsy Hongdae district. The success of his shop led to the launch of his label General Idea. Choi went on to become one the first Korean menswear designer to present his collection at New York Fashion Week. Despite selling very little clothing the first three years, Choi continued to design and steadily built an audience over time. His brand, General Idea has exploded in South Korea and is a favorite among famous K-pop singers and Korean movie stars. Choi has also received accolades for his designs in the United States. In 2010, the New York Times selected Choi as one of its ‘magnificent seven’.  He sees his role as a prominent designer, as a service to his country, “I think of myself as an athlete,” he said. “I want to represent all the other Korean designers.”

For Spring 2017, Choi channeled futuristic travel with models wearing flight suits and carting shiny, silver suitcases. His oversized graphic t-shirts read ‘Sunset on Mars’. Choi’s fascination with technology was visible in his signature, minimal, modern silhouettes with soft rounded shouldered jackets with wide lapels worn over crisply tailored shirts and trousers. A generous amount of elongated outerwear was rendered in a palette of camel beige, light pink, aqua, green and various shades of blue. Bumsuk Choi’s continues to hit the refresh button each season and experiment with new cuts and proportions with out losing his signature ability to combine high fashion concepts and covetable street fashion.