“I’ve always enjoyed feeling a connection to the avant-garde, such as Dada and surrealism and pop art. The only thing the artist can do is be honest with themselves and make the art they want to make. That’s what I’ve always done.”
Jeff Koons, artist
What is avant-garde? Who can be considered avant-garde?
Avant-garde is sensitivity. It’s vision. It’s a tale. It is “drawing” the times by anticipating trends and desires of a curious society.
Giacomo Balla, Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dalí, Vasilij Kandinskij, Kazimir Malevič, Henri Matisse have been avant-garde in art.
Arnold Schönberg, John Cage, Alban Berg, Anton Webern, Igor Stravinskij, Pierre Boulezhave been avant-garde in music.
Coco Chanel, Elsa Schiaparelli, Christian Dior, Mary Quant, Vivienne Westwood, Alexander McQueen, John Galliano have been (and are) avant-garde in fashion.
SONGZIO is the Korean brand founded in 1993 and directed by Jay Songzio today.
SONGZIO has been for thirty years a genuine expression of an avant-garde that we would define as post-contemporary, as (new) New-Vanguard.
It is an avant-garde that investigates the deepest needs of all human beings first and of the Generation Z then.
It is an avant-garde that elevates essential everyday garments to a level of earthly aesthetic pleasure.
SONZIO is a harmonious dialogue between East and West.
SONGZIO’s designs originate from a subtle sense of duality between seemigly opposing aesthetics: angular yet soft, rough yet elegant, dark yet bright all coeisting in order and disorder.
SONGZIO has no sex. SONGZIO has one colour: black.
Hello Jay! When and how did your interest in fashion start?
Hello! I grew up in a family of fashion designers so it is difficult to say how and when my interest in fashion started. Fashion has always been a very natural and fundamental part of my life and my family’s life. Because it is such an integral part of my life, it’s beyond the concept of having an interest.
What’s s SONGZIO?
Songzio is an avant-garde Korean designer brand that seeks to create “art fashion”.
Can we define it as an ideal bridge between the Korean aesthetics and the European one?
I don’t know if I can call our brand the most ideal bridge between Korean aesthetics and the European one. However, it is true that in our collections, we seek to express and display the convergence of these two very different aesthetics, in sometimes dramatic way, and sometimes in a very subdued manner. However, as seasons go by, the application of oriental and western aesthetics seem to become more and more natural. Years ago, it used to be often the case that I tried with conscientious intentions to show these two-opposing aesthetics. But, now, it seems to appear naturally. It’s more of an emotional expression more than an intellectual one.
In 2017, you assume the role of creative director. What was your approach to the brand, its DNA, its (family) history? How do you imagine it in the future?
Our brand was always an avant-garde brand creating a very unique, and new designs with the aims of achieving a very pure art-like fashion. Our brand’s DNA has therefore always been very subversively creative, innovative, and ever-changing. My approach to this brand was in two quite different directions. First was to amplify and further enhance the house’s creative capacity through artisanal craftmanship and art-piece creations. I wanted to fully take advantage of Songzio’s legacy and artisans from our ateliers to design and build the most creative collection of the highest quality. Second was to expand our business commercially. From the brand’s foundation in 1993 to 2018, we were not a commercial brand: our brand’s sole aim was to create a creative collection. I wanted to modernize all the unique designs we accumulated during 25 years and expand our brand commercially. In the last 5 years, we focused on becoming Korea’s largest designer brand. From now on, starting from Paris fashion week, we seek to become an international brand.
I would summarize your style in three words: new-avant-garde, unisex, black. What do those points mean to you?
They are all the words to best describe myself. We always try to design with a pure heart, and what is most like myself.
In your description, I can read “since 1993, SONGZIO has been a figurehead of Korean fashion industry with its iconoclastic design and artisanal savoir faire. Songzio brands are a unique part of Korean men and women’s vestiaire”.
Could you explain how you keep this kind of principles in your fashion and its evolution?
Our multi-brand strategy is quite useful in keeping such principles. We have Songzio, our avant garde collection flagship brand, Songzio Homme, our ready to wear contemporary menswear brand, Zzero, unisex youth brand, and Ziosongzio, a formal brand. We also have plans to soon launch a womenswear brand. Each brand fulfills its own role. The flagship brand shows Songzio’s utmost creativity. Songzio Homme fulfills the more commercial desires with a pret a porter collection. Zzero always advances our house in a very young and innovative direction. Ziosongzioshows a taste of Songzio to professional men and women who must dress in formal attires. Each brand partakes in making Songzio a unique name in Korean fashion.
SONGZIO’s FW23 collection captures the coexisting dualities in human soul. Sometimes visible, yet sometimes invisible, this collection brings out the perplex senses and emotions that coexist within us. this collection is a self reflection of who we are and who we appear to be.
The title is evocative: REFLEXION. Tell us something more.
I tried to best capture a sense of order and disorder. Although this idea of a boy gladiator lingered in my head while imagining and designing for the collection, this “Reflexion” collection is a representation of many dichotomies in our emotions and intellect; dark yet colorful, savage yet elegant, composed yet expressive…
Its key piece?
Well, every piece is a key piece in my heart but I guess the first look speaks for the collection. Asymmetrical leather blazer with hand draped leather piece on one side.
What is the future of fashion?
More personal, more real.
As we said, you’re also creative director of SONGZIO HOMME (founded in 2017) and ZZERO (founded in 2018). How do you combine the three different souls of the three Brands? What’s the fil rouge?
As previously mentioned, these two brands all share the same spirit of Songzio, creative and avant garde. Songzio Homme is the more contemporary interpretation of Songzio’s aesthetics, and Zzero is a very youthful interpretation of Songzio’s creative spirit.