The Japanese zip brand spotlights the work of former Margiela menswear designer Mason Jung in a marriage of high fashion and high function
Despite the current debate surrounding fashion’s breakneck pace, there have always been certain designers who have skirted around the speed of the fashion calendar. One such creative is the South Korean-born, London-based menswear designer Mason Jung, whose work is being spotlighted in an exhibition at the recently opened YKK London Showroom in Shoreditch. Keeping in sync with the left-field principles that formerly landed him a place at then-named Maison Martin Margiela, for his eponymous label Jung carves his own path: instead of designing seasonal collections he works on a continuous “series” of clothing that are presented in installations and exhibitions in place of runway shows.
“Transformations” showcases two pieces from Jung's graduate series of the same title. While this small number might come as a surprise, it makes perfect sense that the designer would want to focus attention on his work, given his reluctance to conform to the industry’s speed. Echoing this nonconformity, for his series “Transformations”, Jung took the classic suit and gave it a major twist. By subverting traditional forms of tailoring with strategically sewn zips, his two pieces “Blanket Suit” and “Sleeping Suit” morph into a blanket and sleeping bag. Both, in fact, draw on Jung’s experience of compulsory military service in his late teens, translating his aversion to uniformity and formality by creating alternative, expansive forms out of restrictive attire.
Combining high fashion with high function, Jung’s designs are an ideal match for the YKK London Showroom and the Japanese brand's design-meets-utility ethos. Long synonymous with innovation and technology, YKK’s relationship to high fashion is tightly zipped. Although principally known as a manufacturer of fastening products, the brand sponsors the International Talent Support awards, championing young designers. Its latest chapter in the fashion community is the new multi-purpose Showroom that serves as a platform, which YKK curator Kei Kegami says “aims to help emerging brands, young designers and students”. Crucially for Jung, “this kind of platform is important to encourage originality and ingenuity in fashion, especially in the current fashion industry where it tends to be instant and homogenous.”
You can see the conceptual fashion work of Mason Jung at the YKK London Showroom, from February 1-29, 2016.