I utilize 5 main colors called ‘Oh-Bang Saek’ as a base: Designer Grace Moon

1. When did you first discover that you wanted to be a fashion designer?

Growing up in South Korea, at the time there were not many international fashion designers in Korea. I was always talented and interested in artistic and visual presentation and after finding fashion could be a profession, I wanted to be a designer on a global stage to really inspire other girls, especially other Korean girls, to utilize and expand their creative capabilities and to empower themselves through bold expression.

2. How would you describe your designs?

Having studied fashion in London at 19, and living in the United States for over 30 years now, I am inherently American as I am Korean. As such most all of my designs attempt to  seamlessly fuse Korean heritage with a more Western expression, blending and showcasing my bi-cultural background, innately American and innately Korean.

3. What are your favorite materials to work with?

Fabric and material is essential to a designer’s work. Fortunately I have a great sponsor in Gyeonggi Textile Center (GTC). GTC is a Korean textile company representing 100+ different textile mills in the province of Gyeonggi in South Korea. I am the first designer that GTC has sponsored internationally, and we work very closely with the LA branch, GTC-LA, to prepare trend setting, unique, and quality fabric and materials to utilize in my designs.

4. How important is color to your design process?

Color is extremely important to me, one can say it is almost the most important to me and my designs. Color is an expression of the mind and a window into the soul. As such, I place an enormous emphasis on the colors I choose to present and the different ways I present them. Traditionally, Korean culture utilizes 5 main colors called “Oh-Bang Saek” meaning “5 Colors”. They include red, blue, yellow, black, and white and it is used extensively in Korean traditional wear. I utilize these colors as a base and homage to my heritage and mix that with the bright and vibrant colors of California, my 2nd hometown.

5. How did your knowledge of color theory change the way you think about design?

Because I think so importantly of color, I think I place immense and highlight color and styling with colors. If you look carefully at my designs, I believe I use a pretty minimalist approach. My designs are not super detailed or super extravagant. Rather they tend to be plain and simple so as to highlight and accentuate the beautiful textile of Korea as well as the colors I employ. I believe that is my strength and what differentiates me as a designer.

6. Who or what is your biggest inspiration?

Inspiration comes from all places, but for me it most of the time comes from culture. Having lived in California for 30+ years, I am just as Californian as I am Korean, but there are often very jarring difference in culture between these two cultures. It is those differences that inspires me to figure out how I can seamlessly blend two things that seem so different, seem to be opposite, and bring harmony. I often think of it in a bigger scale, just like in fashion, I believe despite our differences, whether in culture, race, sex, or religion, there are ways in which we all can come together as human beings, and that is the bigger statement that motivates my designs and my work.

7. What is the biggest risk you ever took with a design?

I am not sure if it was a risk, but I had a design I wanted to show in New York Fashion Week that I was looking very much forward to. However, the model that I chose for the design happened to be 15 years old, and in America, as an underage model she couldn’t wear my design the way it was because it was too revealing. I ended up changing almost everything, cutting parts, sewing others, adding accessories to change and cover the model, but also to accentuate the design to the model and it turned out to be quite a hit at the show. I think one of my strengths are the split second decisions, a certain “feel” for putting my designs together. There are a lot of great designers with fabulous designs, but I think my strength lies in putting the pieces together in a unique and special way.

8. What are you working on now? Any new designs you can hint at?

I have been invited to show during Paris Fashion Week and Gyeonggi Textile Show in South Korea in October. I am fervently preparing for that now. I have been, and still am, a huge fan of Audrey Hepburn and Princess Diana, as fashion icons and the beautiful souls that they were. My designs will be inspired by the two strong and beautiful ladies that not only inspired me, but also a multitude of people and generations.