Yina Hwang

Good in Fashion Design.

About Yina Hwang

Yina Hwang is a New York based fashion designer and graduated from Parsons School of Design. Her work has featured in several fashion magazines including Vogue. Through her brand, she aims to break down the wearer’s restriction for the freedom of expression, and help the wearers bring out their own spirits.

  • Winner of Fashion Design Award.
  • Specialized in Fashion Design.
  • Original Design.
  • Creative, Diligent and Innovative.
  • All Designs
  • Fashion
Utopia Womenswear Collection

Utopia Womenswear Collection

Fashion Design

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Interview with Yina Hwang

Could you please tell us more about your art and design background? What made you become an artist/designer? Have you always wanted to be a designer?
I spent most of my childhood with my trade-merchant father in the factory district in Yiwu, China. Growing up in an industrial city meant that the streets, factories and markets became my source of artistic inspiration. In my upbringing, where I was exposed to merchants from around the world, helped me to develop an understanding of manufacturing systems and sales, and also broadened my awareness of global markets. I had a natural interest in art and clothes since I was young. As my curiosity about “what is beautiful” grew, I started going back and forth to visit my artist mother, who is a poet and a theater actress in Seoul, South Korea. The disparity between these two very different cities and environments was stimulating, and what was what helped me to arrive at my own unique interpretation of beauty. I earned my BachelorofFineArts degree in fashion design program at Parsons School of Design. I started working for a womenswear brand in 2013. I have worked in New York, China and South Korea in fashion design, sales and wholesale departments. I eared my work experiences at fashion companies including Jonathan Simkhai, Lie Sang Bong and more. I had my first collection debut at Fusion Fashion Show in 2016 and my Fall 2020 Collection debut during New York Fashion Week. After graduation from Parsons, I spent two seasons on developing my project “Utopia” and had my Fall 2020 collection debut during NYFW, and earned recognition as a creative designer by winning A’ Design Award this April.
Can you tell us more about your company / design studio?
Yina Hwang is a New York based fashion and lifestyle product studio. In her Fall 2020 collection, Yina Hwang presented 20 looks collection along with a series of bags, accessories and a tent during New York Fashion Week,
What is "design" for you?
For me, design is fulfilling people's aesthetic and practical needs, upgrading people's life and happiness.
What kinds of works do you like designing most?
I love to design fashion products with a strong concept. It is always a fun process to interpret a concept into a highly functional design objects.
What is your most favorite design, could you please tell more about it?
My favorite design of mine is this look with the the satin lavender&silver asymmetric blouse styled with printed faux leather pants with chain decorations from “Utopia Collection”. I love the construction, silhouette and colors of each piece and overall it reflects my soft and bold personalities at the same time.
What was the first thing you designed for a company?
The first thing I designed for a company was a two piece cream tweed coat and a dress set that was custom made for an independent buyer.
What is your favorite material / platform / technology?
Lately I love making printed fabrics and I used them in my latest collection. In "Utopia" collection, I used digital print. Every print and fabric in the project is original and she mainly used PU leather, Satin, Power Mash, and Spandex for the base of the fabrics.
When do you feel the most creative?
I feel the most creative when I am spending time with like-minded friends. People around me are my biggest inspirations.
Which aspects of a design do you focus more during designing?
When I design clothes, I focus on the fit, color and fabric combinations.
What kind of emotions do you feel when you design?
I get a lot different emotions. I get excitements, but at the same time, I am serious because making clothes need accurate measurements and techniques. I need to make sure to make the best fit and outcomes for the wearers. However, I enjoy the whole process of it!
What kind of emotions do you feel when your designs are realized?
I feel very rewarded, it feels like my mind and body is full of euphoria when my designs are realized.
What makes a design successful?
For fashion products, I think the good fit, comfortable fabric and right design and functions based on user's need are the keys to make a design successful.
When judging a design as good or bad, which aspects do you consider first?
I see if it is an aesthetically good looking design or not. And functionality is as important as an aesthetic.
From your point of view, what are the responsibilities of a designer for society and environment?
I think designers are responsible about the global environmental issues. We need to definitely think about the most sustainable way for producing the products.
How do you think the "design field" is evolving? What is the future of design?
I think in the future, designs are going to be more based on the 1:1 user experience. Maybe they can read your thoughts and emotions and provide the right thing for you.
When was your last exhibition and where was it? And when do you want to hold your next exhibition?
I had my recent fashion show in February in New York during NYFW. I am possibly doing another project with a partner and at I think we will be having a presentation at the end of the project. To Be Announced!
Where does the design inspiration for your works come from? How do you feed your creativity? What are your sources of inspirations?
I find inspirations from people around me and through my personal experiences. I always try to fill my life with fun and inspiring episodes through trying new things and traveling. "The most personal is the most creative" this is a quote I like.
How would you describe your design style? What made you explore more this style and what are the main characteristics of your style? What's your approach to design?
I like to put chic, elevated and emotional elements in my design. I want people to feel the energy when they see and wear my design, how they interpret it is up to each wearer.
Where do you live? Do you feel the cultural heritage of your country affects your designs? What are the pros and cons during designing as a result of living in your country?
I live in Manhattan, New York. The old and modern buildings, streets, diverse people and culture.. the inspiration is everywhere in the city and I love it! New York definitely has influenced my designs.
How do you work with companies?
It depends on what type of project I am doing with companies. But one thing I can say is I have a lot of meetings and conversations about the design and development with the team during the working process.
Can you talk a little about your design process?
As an example, to start my "Utopia" collection, I self-experimented by going towards the other end of the spectrum of what society views as “perfect” by using surgery tape to distort my physical appearance to lay down the foundation of what I will be creating. The distortion led to the collages. The collages led to the prints which also created the silhouettes to my initial prototypes.
What are 5 of your favorite design items at home?
My custom made huge work table, Paintings on the wall, Marshall Bluetooth speaker, Life size tiger doll and my sofa.
Can you describe a day in your life?
Normally when I work on a collection, everyday I pin inspiration and reference images on a big board. Also I put fabric swatches and trims on the side. I start my day by listening to music and go through organizing those boards and go over thinking what I have to do on the day.
Could you please share some pearls of wisdom for young designers? What are your suggestions to young, up and coming designers?
Don't be afraid to show your talent and ideas to the world, we are all making the world a more beautiful place to live. This is what I always tell myself too.
From your perspective, what would you say are some positives and negatives of being a designer?
I think both positives and negatives of being a designer is that you always think about work. I started fashion design because it's fun at the beginning, but when it becomes "job", things are not always enjoyable. So I always remind myself that this is what I like and what I always wanted. I am blessed to do it.
What is your "golden rule" in design?
Follow your intuition, and always be adaptive to changes, open to other people's idea.
What skills are most important for a designer?
I think the ability to realize the abstract idea to the final outcome, understanding wearer's needs is very important for a designer.
Which tools do you use during design? What is inside your toolbox? Such as software, application, hardware, books, sources of inspiration etc.?
I like mixing physical sketches and paintings with digital tools such as photoshop and Illustrator. For this project, I used a broken scanner to make effects on the prints.
Designing can sometimes be a really time consuming task, how do you manage your time?
I write down what I have to achieve every week, and the rest of the plan is flexible.
How long does it take to design an object from beginning to end?
It depends, but when I develop my full collection, it takes about one season from design to final production.
What is the most frequently asked question to you, as a designer?
"What is your purpose as a designer?" I always answer "I just want to be a part of the things that make the world more beautiful"
What was your most important job experience?
One of my most important job experiences I had is when I worked at Jonathan Simkhai as a design intern. I had a chance to work closely with the lead designers of the team. I learned a lot about product development and had opportunities to participate in some of the fun projects.
Who are some of your clients?
People who had been following and supporting my design for years now are mostly creatives who love art and fashion.
What type of design work do you enjoy the most and why?
I like designs that are pleasing to the eye, and functional at the same time. For example, there can be a clothing rack that looks like an art statue, and it's functional at the same time.
What are your future plans? What is next for you?
I want to collaborate and work for companies and gain more team work experiences. At the same time, I would like to continue new creative projects!
Do you work as a team, or do you develop your designs yourself?
I like to work as a team. When I design, I like to take my time to develop designs myself, but also I have a lot of conversation my collaborators for the best outcomes. I have good friends who always inspire me, and conversation with them always make everything better.
Do you have any works-in-progress being designed that you would like to talk about?
I am brainstorming on a project, with my like-minded friend and a partner Elle Haein Kim. We are working on a project that reflects our Korean heritage that is interpreted in our own way.
How can people contact you?
People can contact me through my email: yinahwangstudio@gmail.com or through Instagram Direct Message at @yinahwang_studio

Extended Interview with Yina Hwang

Could you please tell us a bit about your design background and education?
I earned my BFA degree in fashion design program at Parsons School of Design. I started working for a womenswear brand in 2013. I have worked in New York, China and South Korea in fashion design, sales and wholesale. I eared my work experiences at Jonathan Simkhai, Lie Sang Bong and more. I had my first collection debut at Fusion Fashion Show in 2016 and my Fall 2020 Collection debut during New York Fashion Week.
What motivates you to design in general, why did you become a designer?
Generally I like all creative activities, and I think designing fashion products allows me to be the most creative.
Did you choose to become a designer, or you were forced to become one?
I chose to become a designer. When I was young, my parents used to let me try learning many different musical instrument and other things but I always felt no interest in it. When I was 15, I naturally got into art and design. Then I decided to get professional education so I moved to New York and attended Parsons.
What do you design, what type of designs do you wish to design more of?
I want to design clothes and fashion items that does not get influenced by trends. I want to create designs that never gets old.
What should young designers do to become a design legend like you?
I would like to tell young designers to never lose your passion, passion allows you to keep moving forward. Don't be afraid of critics. Be adaptive to changes!
What distinguishes between a good designer and a great designer?
I think good designer makes a good looking object and a great designer makes objects that is not only good looking, but also that considers the user's needs, and highly functional.
What makes a good design a really good design, how do you evaluate good design?
I evaluate good design based on 1. practicality and functionality 2.aesthetic 3.creativity
What is the value of good design? Why should everyone invest in good design?
Because good design upgrades your lifestyle. Good lifestyle brings you happiness.
What would you design and who would you design for if you had the time?
I would love to design clothes for Björk. She is a big inspiration for me and I think it would be a really beautiful project to interpret her message into garment pieces.
What is the dream project you haven’t yet had time to realize?
I want to make a creative studio where diverse creatives can gather and work together.
What is your secret recipe of success in design, what is your secret ingredient?
I think I have three recipes: Be adaptive to changes, Always be open for critics, Find good references!
Who are some other design masters and legends you get inspired from?
Dries Van Noten is a designer who always surprises and inspires me with his collection every season. The beautiful and harmonious color combinations of prints, the silhouettes of the garments always inspire me.
What is your greatest design, which aspects of that design makes you think it is great?
I like the printed gray faux leather jacket from the "Utopia" Collection. Because I think it is one well-constructed jacket that shows the creativity and functionality at the same time. I successfully transferred my art collage work into pattern making. Also it feels pretty comfortable on the body even though it is a leather-like material.
How could people improve themselves to be better designers, what did you do?
I am always open to critics. I like to listen to other people's idea. Because design is meant to be shared to upgrade people's life and happiness, it's not just an art, others' idea is very important as well.
If you hadn’t become a designer, what would you have done?
I am into cooking and food plating. I think I would have become a chef. I like getting creative with food, and I like to cook for people.
How do you define design, what is design for you?
I think design is the creative activities and processes that is done to realize certain purposes into a certain visual/physical form.
What helped you to become a great designer?
I met my mentor in my life when I was living in China. He was 100% supportive to me and kept reminding me of "different way of thinking". For my "Utopia" collection,
What were the obstacles you faced before becoming a design master?
Before I was indecisive in my execution. Now I have a better eye to make right decision.
How do you think designers should present their work?
I think designers should be able to present their work in any form they like. Online presentation, public presentation, runway, exhibition .. in a professional way.
What’s your next design project, what should we expect from you in future?
I am brainstorming on a project, with my like-minded friend and a partner Elle Haein Kim. We are working on a project that reflects our Korean heritage that is interpreted in our own way.
What’s your ultimate goal as a designer?
I want to upgrade people's life and happiness and help create a more beautiful world.
How does design help create a better society?
Design improves people's lives and happiness which naturally helps create a better society.
What are you currently working on that you are especially excited about?
I am brainstorming on a project, with my like-minded friend and a great partner Elle Haein Kim. We are working on a project that reflects our Korean heritage that is interpreted in our own way.
Which design projects gave you the most satisfaction, why?
My "Utopia" project. Because everything including the fabrics is original. The challenge was getting the right prints on the right fabric. Every fabric has a different result of prints and has a different approach to sewing. I went through a series of fabric tests and garment prototypes to reach the final result. When I saw the final lineup, and when I had the runway show during fashion week, it gave me the most satisfaction.
What would you like to see changed in design industry in the coming years?
I would love to see more diverse sustainable materials in design industry.
Where do you think the design field is headed next?
I think design field is going to be based on the individual's lifestyle. ADD MORE
How long does it take you to finalize a design project?
It depends on each project. Short term projects can take up to a week, and long-term projects can go years.
When you have a new design project, where do you start?
I start with an inspiration and make a narrative story, and I decide colors and fabrics.
What is your life motto as a designer?
Balance and harmony are two important words for me as a designer.
Do you think design sets the trends or trends set the designs?
I think the trendsetting magazines or companies present each season's trend by suggesting certain styles and design comes after it. But in order for that, there has to be designs before trend. So it makes sense both ways.
What is the role of technology when you design?
Technology allows me to realize my design into physical forms. I like to create print fabrics with different technologies.
What kind of design software and equipment do you use in your work?
I like mixing physical sketches and paintings with digital tools such as photoshop and Illustrator. For this project, I used a broken scanner to create effects on the prints.
What do you wish people to ask about your design?
I wish people to ask me about the process of the design and production.
Who is your ideal design partner? Do you believe in co-design?
My ideal design partner will be someone that's like-minded, creative and have similar design taste as me. I do believe in co-design.
Which people you interacted had the most influence on your design?
My like-minded and creative friends are my biggest inspirations and they give the most influence on my design.
Which books you read had the most effect on your design?
Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty covers McQueen's early work to the latest one. This book talks about his life story as a person and a designer. I was impressed and fascinated by his creativity and commitment for his work. This book has inspired me a lot.
How did you develop your skills as a master designer?
Professional education and design work experiences in fashion and production industry.
Irrelative of time and space, who you would want to meet, talk and discuss with?
I want to talk to Bill Gates and ask him what secret he knows about the future of the humanity.
How do you feel about all the awards and recognition you had, is it hard to be famous?
I feel thrilled and motivated when my work wins awards and get recognitions. It is hard to get a recognition, but once you get it, it feels like all the hard work has paid off.
What is your favorite color, place, food, season, thing and brand?
Black, my studio in Upper East Side, Sashimi, Summer, my Bluetooth speaker and Dries Van Noten,
What makes your day great as a designer, how do you motivate yourself?
When the final outcome comes out just as I designed and when my work get recognition, I feel very rewarded and motivated.
When you were a little child, was it obvious that you would become a great designer?
I was always a playful and creative child will a lot of energy. I loved styling myself based on concepts. And I used to love taking pictures and make little editorials. I knew I would be doing a creative job when I grew up.
What do you think about future; what do you see will happen in thousand years from now?
That is a very interesting question and I love it. Because I think about it a lot. People in 1020 had a very different life from now. I think in 3020, technology will improve so much and people will live an easier life. There will be a lot of jobs we have now that might disappear in the future and also there will be new jobs as well. Whether to make the future earth beautiful place to live or not, depends on us.

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