Seoul Design Foundation

Discover the work of Korea's Fashion Pioneer Jin Teok

Jin Te Ok Poet of Fashion
Philosophy: The city of Seoul honored the incredible work of Korean fashion designer Jin Teok with the exhibition 'Anthology: Jin Teok, Creation of 50 Years' during Seoul Fashion Week in 2016. Jin Teok is Korea's most celebrated designer and a pioneer of contemporary Korean fashion. The retrospective exhibition pays tribute to her impressive career of pushing new boundaries of creating poetic silhouettes and manipulating fabrics. The exhibition was presented at DDP (Dongdaemun Design Plaza). International editor of Vogue Suzy Menkes wrote "In this culture of MORE! – more sound, more colour, more fashion, more relentless noise – Jin Teok has offered us, for half a century, something uniquely precious: the still, small voice of calm."

Jin Te Ok

Jin Te Ok has become the first Korean designer for prêt-à-porter. She is also the only Korean designer to have been selected by Phaidon, the British publishing company as one of the ‘20th Century Fashion Designers’. The exhibition ‘Anthology’ is a collection of the ‘poems’ of Jin Te Ok’s 50 years’ experience as a designer with the theme having been influenced by nature and daily life.

A trail of 200,000 planted LED roses led the visitors to the main entrance of the exhibition. The set design was inspired by a construction site. “Jin Te Ok’s work is still in progress and has a bright future ahead. To express the anticipation of what will be shown next, we used temporary reinforcement structures used during construction” – Space Designer Lim Tae Hee
1999 S/S Traditional and red clothing of archery, cultural combination of contemporary denim, or visual collision 

The four mannequins are dressed in 1999 S/S collections - the luxurious looks of Hwal clothing (활옷) and the carefree looks of denim cause a clash in the visuals. Jin Te Ok's clothing made of traditional Korean embroidery and vividly bright colors marked a significant milestone in her fashion history.

Traditional embroidery on contemporary vest

Traditional Korean embroidery has been used as a motif for this vest. Every embroidery stitch has been applied one by one by hand and the color was made by repeatedly dying and depigmenting the fabric

Lace crinoline

And seeing that this vest is a perfect match with this crinoline skirt made 20 years later, shows how modern and aesthetic the design was.

Hwarot dress

This dress which resembles Korea's traditional 'hwarot' uses traditional Korean embroidery as its motif and expresses the oriental image by using silk satin which has been hand-washed repeatedly to give it a vintage texture and uses a bright red color like blood.

To match the hwarot's luxuriousness with denim fabric has also been noted to be a definitive point in Jinteok's fashion history.

1995 S/S Completion of incompletion or maturity of immaturity through preparation of girl and white shirt 

The nine mannequins are dressed in 1995 S/S collections - Always a part of Jin Te Ok's world is femininity. Another is white shirts. The two elements that make her who she are the materialization of contradictory esthetics : the incompleteness of completeness and the maturity of immaturity.

Jinteok's signature white shirt

Jinteok's signature white shirt is symbolic of a feminine young girl.

The fringes at the end of the sleeves and shirt bring to mind feathers of a swan and shows a contradiction of complete and incomplete in cutting details and edges which are only shown in Jinteok's shirts.

Haute couture

This white shirt uses the bustier, commonly seen in haute couture history, as its motif by matching different lace fabrics and various cutting techniques to express a high level of flamboyance and delicacy.

1994 F/W Tranquility or elegance of mono color expressed with silence, and silhouette deeply whispering  

The four mannequins are dressed in 2014 F/W collections - The sound of silence, a night’s tranquility and a lady’s mourning. Detailed lace, the richness of monotone and the patterns of water droplets carry indications of composure and elegance.

Avant garde cape coat

This cape coat shows a distinctive line and silhouette which uses space, composure and the amount of shirring detail to create the design.

2000 S/S Stone’s stratum wearing down for a long time, growth ring of tree or curve and aesthetics of overlapping like water wave made by wind 

The four mannequins are dressed in 2000 S/S collections - Jin Te Ok's serious and solid esthetics is portrayed through baring it all by cutting black and white cloths with scissors, or stacking hundreds of cotton cloths. The results produce a form which is architectural yet holds design elements.

120 layers of muslin

This object was made by cutting 120 layers of muslin. The many layers of muslin were cut boldly to bring to mind the cross section of the layers of the earth by expressing the silhouette's lines and sides of this dress.

Influenced by the thought of a worn out rock left in the desert for thousands of years, it displays the flowing of time and the gradual evolution of history.

'Mi-In-Do' ensemble

This piece expresses the Oriental mind by using the 'Mi-In-Do' in her '97 S/S Collection along with Korean traditional fabrics such as hemp cloth and red Jamisa.

The beauty of Korea's historical beauty is applied by adding a printout of the historical drawing of renowned Korean artist Shin Yoon Bok on the pleated skirt.

2015 S/S Lightness of zero gravity expressing with preparation of classic race and High-tech air mash

The seven mannequins are dressed in 2015 S/S collections - For a collection as light as air, Jin Te Ok introduced a material called air mesh to the world of high fashion. The contrast in texture of mesh and lace, the balance of white and beige, and the parallelism of transparency and opaqueness was used to modernize her collections.


This piece was made with a very air-like delicate fabric of mesh and lace which was used to show a harmony of contrasts, transparency and opacity of beige and white.

2005 S/S Beads forming with delicate mesh and dribbling above race and fridge flowing like tender drizzle

The mannequins are dressed in 2005 S/S collections - An image taking after the brightness of early morning dew or a child’s tear, beads shining as bright as diamonds, fringes that look like it belongs on a show girl’s outfit. All these details were rhythmically put together to display pure femininity.

Silk jersey tassel dress

This dress expresses the woman's softness by using tassels and pleats.

2013 S/S Modern Korean haute couture including flow of light connecting from daybreak to morning into crystal

Crystals varying in color, it treats light with an esthetic touch and emits extreme femininity, neo-romanticism, Korean haute couture and spiritual beauty.

Swarovski crystal blouse

The diverse colors of Swarovski crystals are embellished on soft mesh jersey and silk mesh to express femininity and new romanticism.

Each crystal and gold wire are applied one by one manually to project an image of ice. This work has exemplified a Korean style haute couture and spirituality.

1999 F/W Black rhapsody describing abyss of designer’s inner side like shadow’s silhouette 

The five mannequins are dressed in 1999 F/W collections. Jin Te Ok's lonely and gloomy inner self, reinterpreted as the sensations of nightfall, forming deep creases in twill fabric as delicate as a spider’s web completes a radical and intense form.

1999 S/S Stitches carved with thin material revealing flesh and tactility of gentle wind reaching skin 

The six mannequins are dressed in 1999 S/S collections - Plover stitching and suit materials’ stitching on an organza delicately reveals some skin. And the final touch to Jin Te Ok’s inherent craft is the layering of thin organza to complete a three-dimensional look.


This object and vest was made stacking thin layers of organza to give it a three-dimensional structure.

The dress was made of many layers of silk chiffon to project the idea of bird feathers.

Object made of layered organza

This object was made with silk organza making it look like a stack of papers and was repeatedly hand-dyed to replicate the pattern of marble.

Also details of hand-stitching was used for this piece in her '94 F/W Collection.


This long shirt was made using many different types of stitching methods and of those methods she used the catch method as a motif for her design for all her pieces in her '99 S/S Collection.


This piece, from her '00 F/W Collection, was made to express the layers of the earth by overlapping many layers of chiffon.

"Jinteok's design is like a poem"

-International VOGUE editor Suzy Menkes

2002 F/W Essence of designer craftsmanship like punching and beads shine as stars above black leather 

The four mannequins are dressed in 2002 F/W collections - The cut-out techniques defying the ‘normal’ shapes of leather give us an insight into the mind of a master craftsman. The black zipper, plastic buckle and bead additions on black leather are Jin Te Ok’s witty twist to fashion.

Seoul Design Foundation
Credits: Story


Photo by: Lee Jongkeun

Directing by: Seo Young Hee

Seoul Design Foundation. All rights reserved.

Credits: All media
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