The sophisticated concept of contemporary design by SYSTEM - A chat with Hee Soo Kim The sophisticated concept of contemporary design by SYSTEM - A chat with Hee Soo Kim Vanity Teen 虚荣青年 Lifestyle & new faces magazine

The sophisticated concept of contemporary design by SYSTEM – A chat with Hee Soo Kim

By Mira Postolache

The sophisticated concept of contemporary design by SYSTEM - A chat with Hee Soo Kim The sophisticated concept of contemporary design by SYSTEM - A chat with Hee Soo Kim Vanity Teen 虚荣青年 Lifestyle & new faces magazine

Established amidst the creative landscape of the 1990s, SYSTEM stands as a beacon of contemporary fashion design, characterized by a perfect blend of modern flair and genuine emotional depth. With a philosophy rooted in authenticity, the brand intricately weaves together elements of sophistication and elegance to give rise to a unique and unparalleled vision of style. 

In a momentous stride towards innovation, the year 2019 heralded a new chapter for SYSTEM with the unveiling of its Global Collection, a bold and forward-thinking endeavor aimed at capturing the attention of the global market with its avant-garde approach. Adopting a mantra of unity amidst diversity, SYSTEM proudly proclaims itself as a brand meant for all, while championing the intrinsic beauty found within individual differences and celebrating the spirit of inclusivity. Fast forward to the Fall 2024 collection, where the esteemed South Korean designer, Hee Soo Kim, embarked on a creative journey inspired by the timeless androgynous works of the renowned painter Romaine Brooks. 

Drawing inspiration from the ethereal and gender-defying portrayals in Brooks’ oeuvre, most notably the compelling piece “Peter (A Young English Girl),” Kim sought to craft a collection that transcended conventional notions of gender expression and identity. Under the enigmatic title of “Uncertainty,” Kim’s collection served as a testament to his artistic vision of blurring the boundaries between traditional binaries, thus paving the way for a transformative narrative where ambiguity reigned supreme. In a bold deviation from the norm, the System brand found new life in this innovative and gender-fluid collection, signaling a significant shift towards a future where fashion is not just an expression of beauty, but a statement of empowerment and freedom from restrictive norms.

Join the mesmerizing world created by Hee Soo Kim through an exclusive conversation x Vanity Teen:

With over 30 years of experience, SYSTEM has established itself as a prominent fashion label. Can you expand on the brand’s journey, and how it has evolved over time to remain relevant in the ever-changing fashion industry?

Trials and errors throughout the journey, and the learnings and experiences captured in the process provides the grounds to create what is yours, the ‘foundation’. We admit this nature and always try to have a flexible and positive attitude, which motivates us to keep going forward. Accumulation of time is honest, so keep going.  

The Fall Winter 2024/2025 collection, titled “Portrait of Uncertainty,” draws inspiration from the British artist Gluck and challenges conventional gender norms. What sparked this particular theme, and how does the collection aim to redefine traditional clothing and promote inclusivity?

We wanted to talk about ‘identity’. Gluck’s life was inspiring in terms of how one expresses self-initiative over life, living by the self-created name and identity, denying the societal titles/identities such as, MR and Mrs.  Don’t we all think about living a life as a free individual, beyond conventional gender norms?

SYSTEM has always been known for its attention to intricate details and conveying an emotional and authentic vision. How do you approach the design process to ensure that these qualities are reflected in each collection? What specific design elements or techniques have been incorporated into the Fall Winter 2024/2025 collection to achieve this?

Curiosity is the key. Having curiosity in various areas and being open to societal issues is inspiring. In approaching the design process, we think about how these diverse inspirations can be reflected and combined to fashion. If we are lucky, we discover the positive ‘unexpectedness’. 

For Fall Winter 2024/2025, we focused on what we do best, classic tailoring, with a twist of ‘unexpectedness’. Structured yet exaggerated silhouette, bold but understated details, dynamic texture yet low saturation and tone of color, we tried to highlight the contrast.

Collaborating with acclaimed photographer David Sims for the second time is an exciting venture for SYSTEM. Can you share some insights into this collaboration and how it elevates the brand’s vision? What can we expect from the campaign photos being pre-released during Paris Fashion Week?

Collaborating with him is one of the most fascinating experiences. Meeting him, I was able to immediately notice his passion and love for photography. It was impressive how he creates the flow of light, and how his works express lively texture. But most amazing of all, his kindness and humor! The campaign photos describe two individuals with strong self, beyond conventional gender norms. 

SYSTEM has recently launched the SYSTEM Global Collection, targeting the global market with a modern and elevated approach. Can you elaborate on the brand’s transition and expansion into the global arena? How does this collection align with SYSTEM’s identity and philosophy?

SYSTEM is opening the first global flagship store in Paris, Le Marais this year. The new flagship store will allow you to directly experience the brand heritage and identity. Keep yourself updated on the latest news on flagship stores and the collections @system__1990. 

In an industry that often emphasizes exclusivity, SYSTEM aspires to create affordable fashion for everyone. How does the brand balance accessibility with maintaining its unique and sophisticated aesthetic? What challenges do you face in achieving this mission?

SYSTEM embodies the brand’s design identity by combining refined ready-to-wear with accessible details. The primary goal of the brand is to create a fashion collection that is accessible to all while emphasizing individuality, ‘it’s for everyone, but more about difference’. And as previously highlighted, this is only possible by trials and errors, learnings and experiences, accumulated over time, 30 years of journey. 

The combination of masculinity and femininity is central to the Fall Winter 2024/2025 collection. How does SYSTEM experiment with structural silhouettes and geometric details to highlight these opposing elements? Can you provide some examples of how traditional items have been transformed into stylish and edgy pieces?

We focused on what we enjoy best. Taking tailoring to another level by using contrasting features and developing new silhouettes. Contrasting features include masculine shoulder and waist line to create new proportion, using contrasting textures from denim, vegan fur, to vegan leather. Changes in deep V-neck and asymmetric neckline added flexibility in silhouette.

As a fashion designer, what do you believe is the role of fashion in challenging societal expectations and promoting self-expression? How does SYSTEM contribute to this movement of empowering individuals to embrace their own unique style?

The role of fashion, I believe, is to make everyone enjoy the moment. People should be able to talk freely about themselves through fashion, beyond societal frames. Just like the ever-flowing fashion, we should also loosen up, be free and flexible, and enjoy the moment. 

As SYSTEM’s brand concept ‘NOW IN NEW FORM’ states, we incorporate various and vibrant cultural elements, such as movies, books, art, and subcultures, to present a sensible and distinct approach that celebrates diversity and individuality. 

Looking ahead, what can fans of SYSTEM anticipate in terms of future collections and collaborations? Are there any specific goals or aspirations for the brand in the coming years?

SYSTEM’s journey will continue and we are always welcome to join the journey.

Finally, what advice do you have for aspiring fashion designers who are looking to make their mark in the industry? What key lessons have you learned throughout your career that you would like to share with them?

As a child, I was quite oppressed, holding back expressions, but it will be nice to be able to express myself more clearly. Clear self-expressions often help you identify yourself and allow you to focus on what you truly like.  Remember, do not easily stop your journey. Trials and errors only lead you to new learnings and experiences, and discovering your foundation. Keep going! 

A letter to your future self.  

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The sophisticated concept of contemporary design by SYSTEM - A chat with Hee Soo Kim The sophisticated concept of contemporary design by SYSTEM - A chat with Hee Soo Kim Vanity Teen 虚荣青年 Lifestyle & new faces magazine
The sophisticated concept of contemporary design by SYSTEM - A chat with Hee Soo Kim The sophisticated concept of contemporary design by SYSTEM - A chat with Hee Soo Kim Vanity Teen 虚荣青年 Lifestyle & new faces magazine
The sophisticated concept of contemporary design by SYSTEM - A chat with Hee Soo Kim The sophisticated concept of contemporary design by SYSTEM - A chat with Hee Soo Kim Vanity Teen 虚荣青年 Lifestyle & new faces magazine
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The sophisticated concept of contemporary design by SYSTEM - A chat with Hee Soo Kim The sophisticated concept of contemporary design by SYSTEM - A chat with Hee Soo Kim Vanity Teen 虚荣青年 Lifestyle & new faces magazine
The sophisticated concept of contemporary design by SYSTEM - A chat with Hee Soo Kim The sophisticated concept of contemporary design by SYSTEM - A chat with Hee Soo Kim Vanity Teen 虚荣青年 Lifestyle & new faces magazine
The sophisticated concept of contemporary design by SYSTEM - A chat with Hee Soo Kim The sophisticated concept of contemporary design by SYSTEM - A chat with Hee Soo Kim Vanity Teen 虚荣青年 Lifestyle & new faces magazine
The sophisticated concept of contemporary design by SYSTEM - A chat with Hee Soo Kim The sophisticated concept of contemporary design by SYSTEM - A chat with Hee Soo Kim Vanity Teen 虚荣青年 Lifestyle & new faces magazine
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