Yeaji Lee is a 22-year-old fashion designer based in South Korea. She started her design adventure quite early; When she was eight years old, She was a gifted art student through the 20-1 competition rate at the Seoul Arts Center’s Art Gifted Academy.
When she was 12, she only prepared for four months and got into the most famous art middle school in Korea called Yewon School. And then, when she was 15, She entered Seoul Arts High School, Korea’s highest private art high school, in third place. During high school, she used to rank first and second in a major in design. Currently, she entered the Department of Fashion Design at Ewha Woman’s University and is taking a leave of absence. During her leave of absence, she worked as an intern in Münn Seoul, a high fashion brand in South Korea, for three months. After that month, she is preparing for her brand; the name is “it’s Yeah.”
Sassy & Co Magazine recently caught up with Yeaji to discuss her journey in the fashion world and here’s what went down:
How did you get into the fashion industry?
What do you like most about being a designer?
From the stage of coming up with creative ideas to the design process and the results, the whole design process is the most attractive thing to being a designer.
Downside to being a fashion designer?
The disadvantage of fashion designers is that the first starting point in the fashion industry is mostly passionate about pay and exploitation. These things are taken for granted. Also, I think it is not easy to grow into a fashion designer in South Korea. I hope there is strong support for designers in other countries.
What has been the most memorable experience of being in the fashion industry so far?
My most memorable experience was when the Louis Vuitton Cruise 2020 Fashion Show was held at the hangar of Incheon International Airport, South Korea, and I was contacted. I thought it was really a dream. Can a high-profile fashion brand really contact me who was just a helper without any connection?? Fashion and I are meant to be! As a result, on October 31, 2019, it was an opportunity to see and talk to the people behind a top fashion brand. Louis Vuitton’s employees, stylists, and local top models, as well as Louis Vuitton’s exclusive models. The scale of the fashion show and the production of the video were incredible – and I was only 20 years old so it was my most memorable experience and I’m grateful to them.
Who have been the most interesting people you’ve met so far?
Currently, the most interesting and respected person I have met is Han Hyun-min, a creative director in Munn Seoul. He is a leader in our country’s fashion world. It is the first Korean brand to enter Milan and London Fashion Week and is recognized abroad. Before he majored in fashion design, he majored in graphic and photography design, and I also studied visual graphic design before majoring in fashion. I’m making him a role model because his life, style, etc. are my favorite directions and feelings. I’m currently working for his brand and I’m very happy to work for it.
What has been the most valuable lesson you’ve learned while in the fashion industry. This can be about the industry or yourself.
In Korea, I took gifted art classes at the Seoul Arts Center when I was in elementary school, and went to Yewon Scool when I was in middle, and hen went to Seoul Arts High School when I was in high school, getting advice and valuable classes from excellent teachers and friends. It’s really hard to choose just one. But if I can choose the most valuable lesson, It might be a lesson my parents told me. They always said “do your best in everything if you want to succeed” and “invest generously in your major.” THIS would have been the most intense advice and help in my design life.
Is your family supportive of you being a fashion designer?
My parents are fully supportive. They always helped me if things are related to my major. Without support, I would not have grown this much.
If you could go back in a time machine to the time when you were just getting started, what would you do differently?
If I go back to the past, I think I will continue to walk this path and I would have a more external experience like exhibitions, performances, and trips, not textbook studies. Oh, there’s an anecdote I remember. It was April when I was in my first year of high school. My family was supposed to travel to Dubai for a week. My parents told me to give up studying for the exam and go on a trip, but I disagreed. I said to them” I can’t go! I have to study. The midterms are important. This midterms grade is related to the university I wanted so I must study, and not travel around.” Except for me, my family went on a trip and had a great time (laughs), I didn’t go on the trip so I should get a good grade right? Nope! I didn’t do well on the test. Screwed up and had no sexual impact on going to college (laughs), I think I should have had more valuable experience since I was young and not studying school textbooks all the time.
What is the best advice you have ever been given?
Best advice, “You’ll be good at whatever you do. I’m always rooting for you.”
What are your future plans? Inside your career or out of it.
I don’t want to succeed as a fashion designer. I’m very interested in directing that encompasses vision, hearing, and spatial. Right now, I took a year off from University. I want to work under the creative director Han Hyun-min, who I mentioned above, to improve my social experience and skills. I have a dream of making a personal high-profile brand or becoming a high-profile brand like Dior, McQueen-style creative director.
I want to be a career woman who is superb in the world.