At the forefront of Korean fashion since 2010 and now making huge inroads into the global market, designer Seung Gun, Parks pushBUTTON label showed their SS20 collection at London Fashion Week. Seung Gun doesn’t come from a traditional fashion background and has used a wealth of career experiences to approach the business of fashion in a unique and multi-faceted way. This has enabled him to build a brand where he not only creates fashion but also curates everything that accompanies it, from the show space to the styling to the music.
Fusing the avant-garde with the eminently wearable pushBUTTON are on an upward trajectory which shows no sign of slowing down. After the Fashion Week dust had settled, I caught up with the very inspiring Seung Gun, Park to discuss everything from pushBUTTONs unique and distinctive DNA to the fabulous Uma Thurman.
- Congratulations on your SS20 collection. I loved the juxtaposition of sportswear with beautiful tailoring. What was the inspiration behind it?
Contrast is embedded in pushBUTTON’s DNA, so it tends to be reflected on every collection that we do. Our brand is not limited to a certain style but geared towards a mix match or fusion of high-end and street style.
2. I particularly loved the peplum blazers. What drew you to incorporating them this season?
Thank you for your insight as you did for the previous question. That peplum jacket embodies both sportswear and tailoring as one garment. Some may undoubtedly see pushBUTTON as just a streetwear brand, but with the peplum jacket I was able to show a smarter, structured side of our brand and ultimately decided to show it as the opening look. Frankly speaking, it wasn’t easy to create the exact silhouette I wanted. Pattern making was the tough part but funnily enough we happened to add another version that is made for commercial purposes. The shape is same but easier in production process.
3. For me the collection tapped into the recent past while being equally futuristic in its conception. How important to you is it that you reference the past while also looking to the future?
Someone may recognize to know if I track back my design route, as in my design processes until now. The future we had imagined in the past is the present even though it was a fantasy at that moment, and in the present, we dream of a new future. So basically, I want to say somehow, that all those pasts and the present ended up being not so different after all, as we still continue to look into a new future.
4. Your work has channelled that 80s/ 90s cultural landscape of Hollywood movies and power dressing divas. What is it about that era that so attracts you and informs the creative process?
You are absolutely correct! The 80s and the 90s were periods rich with culture. It was the era of MTV, the change from listening to watching for music it’s the “Visual Music”. This was a shock for me back then and it changed everything. Culture and art were at its peak and artists had the luxury to produce high quality music and art. I look back to then when things were fuller and come back to the present where things may be lacking compared to the past- for instance, unemployment crisis worldwide, and global warming? At the same time, I optimistically look into the future and think everything is going to be alright. I think that the collection is affected by these constant thoughts.
5. If you could have dressed an 80s / 90s movie diva who would it be and what would the movie be?
I would love to dress Uma Tharman from Gattaca. She is exactly the woman I visualized for this collection. I loved the idea of a grey suited woman in a grey city but I wanted to reinterpret this concept with colors and added detail.
6. Your AW19 collection had a very theatrical feel with fantastical headpieces accompanying the pieces. For me, SS20 while super innovative is less overtly theatrical. Was that a conscious decision or a natural evolution as SS20 took shape?
To tell you off the record, I think it’s inevitable for designers to be unpredictable sometimes since we have to show a new collection every season. As you said, last season we had many theatrical accents and because of that I wanted to make this season more concise. I didn’t want to add anything other than a mix match of structured silhouettes. I simply wanted to express a day of the youth in the 21st century as I have imagined in the past.
7. I would describe your creations as edgy and wearable. How important to you is that they retain an avant-garde sensibility while also having that current wearability?
You are correct again! What you said is 100% right. pushBUTTON pursues to reinterpret avant-garde fashion with a wearable approach. I hope for my brand to be seen as the fine line between street and hi-end.
8. You haven’t had what many would call a traditional fashion background. You previously worked as a singer, a stylist and as a model. In what way have those various life experiences influenced your approach to fashion?
It’s that I am able to create fashion from multiple angles. Like the process from tailoring a garment to deciding on music, imagining space and working on styling- ultimately to a complete runway. Or even, like being able to style one piece of clothing in many different ways are things I benefit from my diverse background.
9. This is your third season showing in London. Both London and Seoul are renowned for their adventurous streetstyle. How do you think they compare and has London’s street style had any influence on your creative process?
To be honest with you, I am uncertain to say so. In completing the collection, I was in London- so maybe! Since I was very young, I admired London’s street style as the epitome of “freedom”. In Korea now, street style has come to a period of transition. Sometimes we must distinguish what looks good or bad among overly confident dressers. Korea’s street style however, has a distinguished Asian identity apart from Japanese street style for sure.
10. What does the remainder of 2019 and the rapidly approaching 2020 hold for pushBUTTON?
Probably prepare for the 2020 collections for the rest of this year… and in 2020, show the collections, and then prepare for the next and the next?
A huge thank you to Seung Gun, Park for taking time, out after a hectic Fashion month, to be interviewed and provide such a comprehensive and fascinating insight into the pushBUTTON identity and the influences which have shaped the brand. Big thanks also to Catrin and those absolute legends at communications agency wearevillage for arranging it all.
All images by pushBUTTON | Special thanks to Catrin @wearevillage