Korean brand Ulkin @ulkin_official, which originated in art and sustainability by making upcycled bags out of discarded paintings, talks with us after presenting its latest collection during Seoul Fashion Week 2022. We had the incredible opportunity to ask them for more details about this collection, but of course, we asked them about the source of their creativity, the processes followed, and the origins.
Vanity Teen. I would like to start by knowing your origins. How and why did you start your own label?
Ulkin. Ulkin started as a brand making upcycled bags out of discarded paintings. So many artworks are thrown away for practice, and we saw that there was still potential to rebirth the value by making them into something different, like bags. This is how we started and the reason why ulkin is originated in art and sustainability. And since 2016 we are presenting collections that introduce the brand philosophy and other concepts as well.
VT. You use sustainable materials, and you say that your brand is “hybrid fashion” and that you “De/Reconstruct” Could you explain to us what those terms mean and what’s your main aim with these specific techniques?
U. These terms are a hybrid that ulkin pursues similarly to “borderless”, as we try not to define or categorize but to mix and combine things that are different or even opposite. As a part of the process of working on each collection, sometimes we need to deconstruct things or sometimes rebuild them as a part of the process.
VT. About the sustainable part, which processes do you use to make your brand sustainable? How important is that to you?
U. We use upcycled materials, not only for the bags but also for the clothes. For clothes, our collections mostly source from garments that are thrown away, dead stocks, vintage pieces, and of course, recycled or upcycled fabrics like polyester or nylon. We take this part, presenting the collection that is developed by upcycling, as a process of making sustainable fashion more interesting and something cool.
VT. What was it like for you to present your collection during Seoul Fashion Week 2022? Could you go more in-depth and tell us more about your latest collection?
U. We all know that the whole cultural industry is going through a huge change in Korea, not only fashion. We saw that some of the content that is based on Korean culture achieved success and we have no doubt that this era is an opportunity. Seoul Fashion Week is like a rich soil to be rooted for Korean fashion and a gateway for the brands that are dreaming of growing into a global brands.
VT. Last but not least, how do you see your brand in the future and how would you like it to evolve? And how would you like your personal style to evolve?
U. As a fashion brand based in Korea, we would like to grow into a global brand that can embrace and integrate every culture with fashion, collaborating with global artists from various areas while representing sustainable fashion brands.