Oct 17, 2017 - Nov 12, 2017

ENDLESS JOURNEY : RUBINA

Seoul Design Foundation

3rd honor designer of Seoul Fashion Week

ENDLESS JOURNEY : RUBINA
Korea's first-generation designer Rubina was the third honorary designer of Seoul Fashion Week and opened the exhibition at the DDP with the opening of the 2018SS season. Seo Young-hee, the famous art director, took charge of the total planning and styling of the exhibition.

Rubina, who made her debut as a designer in March 1980, has created countless original costumes.
The exhibition "Endless Journey" is a place where you can meet 37 years of work created by the curiosity, enthusiasm, and challenge of Rubina, a designer who loves clothes and travel like you.

On the other hand, this exhibition was held with photographers who have their own sensitivity and philosophy such as Koo Bohn-Chang, Han Hong-il, Lee Gun-ho, Zo Sun-Hee, Ogh Sang -Sun, Hong Jang- Hyun, Kim Je- Won,Mok Jung-Wook, Suk-Jun, Cho Gi-Seok.

Sometimes full of energy, like a parachute of a pilot who is just about to fly, sometimes like a piece of mandala in the Nepal monk's palace, sometimes like a fateful woman I met in a traditional Moroccan market. The world of 10 photographers inspired by Rubina's clothes unfolds another story from the exhibition.

FOREWORD

Rubina loves clothes.

It is now 38 years since I began my first project as a fation designer, nervous and excited. Looking back, each day seemed new, like traveling to an unfamiliar place. To make clothes I traveled around, and as I traveled I repeatedly made new clothes like no other that existed on this earth.

In the traditional markets of foreign countries I like to bend an ear to the stories left behind in an antiques shop and remember that time, the colors and the textures. These experiences are reflected in Rubina crations, used as themes for my collections. The attraction of travel, which lies in the encounter with the unfamiliar, seeing, enjoying and feeling new things, is much like the attraction of fashion, which lies in bringing new things together to create beauty. Travel and fashion are indeed very much alike, at times clean and pure, at other times like a strong afterimage, and even in the way that they bestow meaningful gifts.

One by one, I now intend to take out my memories of travel, which has been a friend constantly at my side and given birth to the clothes created by Rubina.
I invite all of you on this ENDLESS JOURNEY under the lead of Rubina’s creations.

STOCKHOLM 
 A harbor city of Sweden, called the "Venice of the north" for its canals and vast areas of water. 

The word 'graphic' originally means to 'carve or draw a visual shape.' For a designer, graphic means carving one's thoughts on a garment. There are times when I paint geometric shapes with a brush, but at other times I combine different fabrics as if composing a picture.

The results are generally modern looking and calculated. That was my first impression of the city of Stockholm, for Sweden is a country where even the rubbish bins on the street are carefully designed.

I perceived such calculation to be the source of the sense of balance in the city, in much the same way that carefully adding different graphics to a garment can create overall harmony, notwithstanding the benefit of being natural.

PARIS
The city where fashion and trends change faster than anywhere else. But here and there the time-honored workshops of master artisans remain.

Knit, tapestry, lace ... I like doing things with my hands. According to the texture at my fingertips, I can feel the sense of time and traces of thought that went into creating the fabric.

The mood of that day is communicated to my fingertips. Sometimes firm, sometimes loose. The lower the GAUGE figure, the more coarse and unrestricting the garment. I love this kind of naturalness.

HOKKAIDO
A city in this northern region of Japan is home to the Church on the Water by Ando Tadao, known as the architect of water, light and exposed concrete.A city in this northern region of Japan is home to the Church on the Water by Ando Tadao, known as the architect of water, light and exposed concrete.

For a garment to have a structural silhouette when worn by a model the pattern has to be three-dimensional. To properly put down the picture that I see in my head, I draw sketches, make a pattern with cotton cloth, do more sketches, then cut the final pattern. This process has to be repeated over and over again. Only when the garment that I wanted is finally produced do I feel at peace.

It's the kind of meditative peace that comes when you see a work of architecture whose perfectly geometric structure blends beautifully with its natural setting.

SEOUL
The capital of the Republic of Korea. An old city that was capital of the Joseon Dynasty for 500 years, a place where high-tech skyscrapers blend with lush forests.

The list of good things about a knitted garment is endless. It's simple but luxurious with an elegant line. It naturally reveals the shape of the body without special tailoring devices such as the use of darts. It doesn't crease so it's wonderful for traveling. Above all, the greatest advantage is the ability to express varied colors and textures by connecting threads together. Connection, communication ... These are the words that come to mind.

In the 1980s, there were few places that made the kind of knitted fabric that I wanted. Out of frustration, in 1984 I set up my own factory. Even today, when I step inside the factory, I feel as if I could meet the younger version of myself, who was thoughtless perhaps but also courageous back in the 1980s.

JODHPUR
A city in northwestern India that is famous for its traditional hand-dyed textiles. It's also called the "Blue City" because all the buildings in the middle of the city are painted cobalt blue.

I have never had someone else dye my fabrics. Many of my employees have been with me for a long time, but when it comes to dyeing I do everything myself from beginning to end. Because I'm the only person who can express the picture that's in my head.

I love dyeing. The results are unpredictable. I love that element of chance. But thanks to this work, my fingernails always have all sorts of pigments stuck underneath them. Some people will think they're just dirty, but to me they're beautiful and something to be proud of. I am a designer after all.

SEATTLE
The biggest city in the northwestern part of America. This was the birthplace of "grunge," which emerged in reaction to the elitism of the 1980s. 

I have often wondered what I would have been in my former life. Considering that I like travelling and clothes, I'm sure I must have been a gypsy. On my travels, I have deliberately set out to meet the gypsies of Europe and Asia. Their clothes are inevitably old and worn, with loose threads here and there. Though they appear to dress carelessly, none of the gypsies were seen wearing the same clothes. They care nothing about what other people think and dress for comfort, expressing their own individuality.

When I think about their unique sense of style, in my own way I create designs for the urban bohemian.

Sometimes I punch holes in a knitted piece, and sometimes I play with the hems, leaving them unfinished with unraveled threads hanging down, and every time I get so much enjoyment out of it.

CAPE POINT
Also known as the Cape of Good Hope, this is the southernmost point of South Africa, the place where the Atlantic Ocean and Indian Ocean meet.

The military look and the sports look were in fashion in the 1990s. By combining these two themes I wanted to make more energetic creations. Nothing is filled with a more beautiful energy than the human body. So I placed a parachute inside a garment that reveals the lines of the body, in a way that the parachute would spread when the zipper was pulled down. I decorated the parachute with cloud motifs from ancient Goguryeo tomb murals, making it look as if it would fly up into the sky at any moment. It was a playful idea, but being a designer means dreaming and using your imagination.

MASAI MARA NATIONAL PARK
This is a wildlife reserve located in Kenya, Africa, home of the brave Maasai tribes, the warriors of the grasslands.

I once traveled to the vast grasslands of Africa, which are called Serengeti on the Tanzanian side and Maasai Mara on the Kenyan side. I came face to face with nature, the kind you usually see only on TV where many kinds of wild animals live in peace.

But of all the wonderful scenes that I saw, those that really stayed in my mind were a lone tree that had put its roots down in hard earth with not a blade of grass in sight and the clothes of the women of the native African tribes. From a distance, the tree looked like a white bird gazing at the sky. Up close it was a curious combination of all colors, from dark brown to grey, a color that couldn't be named. We've always called this "wood color" without really thinking about it.

The colorful cloths wrapped around the bodies of the African women, as straight and beautiful as that tree, were so beautiful that I wanted to take them back to my studio right away.

Based on the colors and textures that I experienced back then, I created a collection on the theme of 'Africa.' The garments may have been created by my hands but I consider them to be the product of the people and nature of Africa.

MUKTINATH
A sacred place of Buddhism and Hinduism that lies on the Annapurna trekking circuit in Nepal. 

After seeing the Buddhist temples, monastic robes and funeral services in Nepal I was fascinated by the way the color red was used to pray for the purity of the soul and by the mandalas, which contain the truth of the universe. Although I am a Christian, religious and cultural differences meant little with the people of Nepal, who live without greed in a beautiful natural environment. Everything in Nepal seemed transparent and endearing, so that even the wooden gate of a village house covered in peeling blue paint looked kindly and benign.

ANTWERP
Belgium's second-largest city and a renowned city of fashion and art. Antwerp fashion is characterized by its strong avant garde individuality but it never loses sight of the functional side. 

My clothes feature a lot of strips. I like the way they swish about every time you move. They're like the blood vessels in our bodies, or like the roads that connect heaven and earth. They come in diverse forms.

Sometimes I make them thin and string-like, and sometimes wide like a piece of fabric. Depending on the way the strips are tied, the form of a garment can change in myriad ways.

In a sense, the strips function as a small comma, a pause in the process of dressing. Haven't you stopped and thought of something else while quietly tying a cord? As if making a quick stop somewhere on the road.

GUIZHOU
An alpine region ranging from 600m to 1200m above sea level located on eastern part of the Yunnan-Guizhou Plateau in southwestern China. It is home to the Miao hill tribes and many other minority tribes.

Of the 55 minority tribes in China, the Miao hill tribes are famous for the rich, bright colors of their traditional costume. Some call them the 'gypsies of the East.' They are skilled at dyeing, embroidery, and silverwork, and with just one look at the clothing and hair accessories of the women I knew they were exceptional.

EPHESUS
A city in Turkey by the Aegean Sea where the ruins of an ancient city-state from the Greek and Roman Empire remain. 

I once spent the night in a place near Ephesus, Turkey, where ancient Greek and Roman ruins can be seen. Tables and chairs covered in white lace, waitresses wearing white lace dresses. Faraway the mountaintop is already dark and above it a big star shines. It seemed to be a different time to the rest of the earth.

The next morning, the sunlight that had come from the Aegean Sea penetrated the white lace curtains and once again the scene seemed removed from reality.

When I see sunlight streaming through gauze, loosely woven on a low gauge, I can recall the pleasant indolence of that day.

GYEONGJU
The thousand-year-old capital of Silla, which used to be called Seorabeol. It is a city harboring countless cultural treasures and many secret, untold stories.

Sometimes I design clothes on the theme of hanbok, traditional Korean costume. Brocade has a subtle sheen that makes it a wonderful material.

I make a headpiece that a princess in ancient times would have daintily worn on her head as she traveled to see the sea.

When we see clothes from the past, contemporary designers thinks of the clothes we wear today. For a designer, time is an eternal source of inspiration.

BAGAN
A marvelous Buddhist historical site tucked away in Myanmar. With 2,300 pagodas and temples preserved over an area of 42km² is the "home of pagodas" and center of handcrafts including lacquerwork.   

In the past, people talked about making clothes as 'forming' clothes. We may use high-tech materials today thanks to scientific development, but regardless of past or present the act of making clothes requires the dreams and devotion of the maker. Of course, I chose this path in life because I liked making clothes so much, and it is always an enjoyable process.

In Buddhism, it is believed that the results of one's deeds in the present life will influence the next life. Samsara. It is likely that I will keep wandering and returning, and find myself making clothes in another world.

MARRAKESH
A city in the central Morocco. In the Middle Ages the city bore the marks of Islam and French colonialism. The old town area was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1985.  

When you reach Marrakesh, the most dynamic city in Morocco, the reddish tones created by the old brickwork make you dizzy. At the traditional markets, the colors, sounds and smells can overwhelm you and make you lose your way.

The unfamiliar fruits and vegetables in baskets, the ornaments and fabric scraps of myriad odd colors and textures from an unknown period. Even the fragmented window in a corner of the restaurant was not just one color.

The city is a place where distinctions between East and West, religions and cultures become meaningless. It was as if all things that exist on this Earth had gathered here and bloomed as one giant flower.

서울디자인재단, 루비나
Credits: Story

RUBINA

Photographer: Koo Bonchang, Han Hongil, Lee Gunho, Jo Seonhui, Uh Sangsun, Hong Janghyun, Kim Jaewon, Mok Jeonguk, Kim Seokjun, Jo Giseok

Director : Seo Young-hee

Seoul Design Foundation. All rights reserved.

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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