Joon - USA
Posted: May 31 2015
Joon visited us recently, preparing some suits for his new job in South Korea, after taking time out to travel. He took us by storm through his strong style choices of wide lapels and high, wide collars, which came out looking absolutely immaculate. We sat down with him to get his take on fashion and his top travel tips.
Where are you from and what do you do?
I was born and raised in New York City. I currently work for my family's business, in the aluminum industry; an industry and sector I have not worked in before.
You were traveling but decided to go back to work?
I had worked in the financial sector several years ago but quit in order to pursue a different course in life, so to speak. I was very interested in Buddhism and also began working in the organic farming and sustainable agriculture sector. Afterwards, I decided to take a long break to travel the world, Asia first. During my travels, I stayed in contact with my family. Issues and concerns with the family business became one of the major reasons for my decision to end (pause) my dream of world travel and help my family.
Couldn’t you have kept the hair and beard? It was awesome!
I honestly think I look better with the long hair and the beard or at least it suits my personality better. Korea is still a very conservative society stemming from Confucianism (although the history of losing the hair and beard comes from the Japanese colonial era), and Daegu city is the most conservative city in all of South Korea. I could never be able to work with a beard - but maybe down the road I can.
What was your favorite place you visited before cutting the trip short?
Every place was new, exciting and beautiful in its own way. My favorite country in general would be China. China was spectacular. Going to one place to another took a minimum of 6-12 hours on bus or train. There is so much to see and 2 months in China is not even the tip of the iceberg. The food, the people, the culture...just amazing. I think I was able to relate more to China than any other country perhaps due to the similarities to Korea.
I rode a motorcycle throughout South East Asia and my favorite single place was in Northern Laos - the stretch between the Vietnam border (Na Meo - Vieng Xai) and Nong Khiaw. No words or pictures can express this place. Driving my used, fake 100cc Honda up and down the mountains of Northern Laos, I would park by the side of the road/cliff and lay down to enjoy the view. Absolute awesomeness.
You have the best lapels we’ve seen. What inspired you to go for the wide lapel look?
I have always loved wide lapels since my first suit and was never a fan of slim lapels or slim ties. Maybe all of the gangster movies I watched when I was younger got to me, but whether a gangster, a businessman or a well-dressed unemployed person, wide lapels mean power and confidence to me. I also love strong collars. It does not matter what kind of collar spread the shirt is as long as the collar is big, tall and long. Strong collars also ooze power and confidence.
We now know your suit style - what would you wear on the weekend?
Now that I am back working 8-6, I need my weekends to be me in order to stay sane. I travel to different parts of "undiscovered" Korea every weekend and you can find me wearing the same clothes I wore while traveling Asia. If I am stuck with meetings, dinners or golf, I wear fairly standard business casual. I am not a big fan of jeans with a suit jacket/blazer, so trousers, dress shirt and jacket. You can catch me one day in a tank-top, shorts and sandals and business casual on another.
Seoul is a very trendy city, what’s a big in menswear there right now?
To be honest, I have always cared somewhat for fashion but never the trend, so I am not exactly sure what is big in menswear at the moment. Judging by what I see on the street, Korean males like tight clothing. Korea is very fad-driven so once a style hits the media, everyone has the same set of clothing. Fashion is getting much bigger in Korea but unfortunately I do not see the individuality that I believe should drive it. Suits are getting big in Korea due to the movie Kingsman and a popular Korean drama. There are a lot more bespoke tailors now which is cool to see.
Bespoke tailors are very cool indeed. And we have previously discussed the prominence of Kingsman’s suits. Maybe with all this demand for suits, we’ll have to head over to Korea for a trunk show soon!