Future Vintage: Interview with Fashion Designer Rejina Pyo
5th February 2020
By Natalie Chui
Fuelled by a love for vintage clothing, Rejina Pyo’s designs reflect her expert eye for bold colour and penchant for comfortable tailoring. Having garnered devoted fashion fans, we talk to the designer about feeling nostalgic for clothes and why versatility is always her first priority.
For Rejina Pyo, it’s important that her designs work for our busy lifestyles, and not the other way around. “I want the women who wear my clothes to live fully in them,” she says. “I have always wanted to design pieces that can live on for generations.”
Self-described as ‘future vintage’, Rejina’s collections combine the designer’s love for timeless clothes with unique flourishes; from statement sleeves to checked prints and delightfully bright colours. With zesty summer dresses and tailored jackets that elevate everyday style, it’s no wonder that she’s garnered an audience of fashion fans.
Born in Seoul, South Korea, fashion design was embedded into her DNA. “My mother was a designer,” she said. “She has always been a major inspiration in my life.” Rejina first studied fashion design in Seoul, then took up a job designing fashion for a department store, before moving to London to study the prestigious masters degree at Central Saint Martins. After graduating and working for Roksanda, she launched her namesake brand in 2012 to critical acclaim, and last year Rejina won the British Emerging Talent Womenswear Award at the British Fashion Awards.
Here, we talk to Rejina about the endearing appeal of vintage clothing, and why it’s necessary for her clothes to be versatile and comfortable.
###### **You’ve described your clothes as designs that are made to last for years. Why are you drawn to vintage clothing and what are the ways you achieve timelessness with craftmanship?**
RP: “I love vintage clothes, they maintain relevance over time despite trends changing and can be passed on to daughters, sisters or friends – I feel quite nostalgic for pieces that I’ve had for years. I’ve always found it really important to work with high-quality materials and consider every detail very carefully. But ultimately versatility is the core of everything, and I love seeing how my clothes are interpreted by the women wearing them.”
###### **Who are the women in your personal and professional life that inspire you?**
RP: “So many women around me are inspirational; from my mother, friends, colleagues and even chance meetings. I love working with a strong group of women – each with their own style and opinions, and it’s great to see how they style the clothes in their own lives. When I’m designing, I feel drawn to female artists like Angela de la Cruz, Georgia O’Keeffe, Barbara Hepworth and Etel Adnan.”
###### **Bold use of colour is apparent throughout your collections, what draws you to using powerful bright shades?**
RP: “Colour is such a powerful mood and energy influencer and I like to challenge myself to experiment with unexpected colours that make a statement. I love working with colours that clash, because I find that in some strange way, they actually mesh together.”
###### **Why is comfort and ease of movement so important to you?**
RP: “I want women to feel confident in my clothes; to wear them to work, to travel, just to have fun in, and not feel uncomfortable or restricted. I’ve thought about this more since becoming a mother, while running a business because time is so precious – so versatility and comfort is top priority.”
###### **Can you touch on the importance of a female fashion designer designing for women?**
RP: “A female designer understands perfectly what it feels like to actually wear the clothes she designs. She can relate to the needs and experiences of other women and this shouldn’t be underestimated. I also believe female designers are great listeners to the women around them, which creates a great two-way dialogue between the designer and wearer.”