No one can accuse New York based designer Hyden Yoo of being conventional. From his unusual first foray into the public eye as a contestant (and champion) on a now infamous reality TV show, to his counter-culture inspired designs which have earned him major praise throughout the industry, Yoo has always taken the road less traveled.
This non-conformist spirit and creative energy was palatable during his Fall 2011 presentation, which was staged as a private party at the Soho House with a serious lost-weekend vibe, and remains one of the best collections we've seen at Mercedes Benz New York Fashion Week thus far.
Now, as the Fall 2011 peices are finally hitting stores, and the designer prepares to unveil another iconoclastic collection the designer took a moment to chat with SW about inspiration, style, and doing it his way.
SW: As its been well documented in previous interviews, your path to fashion as a career deviated from the usual route of school/major label internship/go out on your own. In fact, your path included everything from competing on a reality TV show, to working as a business consultant. So what was it that brought you to fashion as a career? How did you know it was what you were meant to do?
HY: I always liked clothing. It was something I always bought when I had money saved or something that I bought for friends and family as a gift. Well, I’m still not sure it’s something that I was meant to do because it doesn’t come naturally for me. I just really like what I do, and I work really hard at it.
SW: Before officially launching your women’s collection for Spring 2010, you had a successful menswear line for several seasons. What prompted you to expand your brand into the women’s wear market, was it something that you had always planned on doing?
HY: Yes, I think moving into the women’s market was a natural expansion for us. Sometimes I wonder if we jumped the gun and started too early, but I think every season has gotten stronger and stronger, so I’m happy with where we’re at.
SW: Fast Forward to your Fall 2011 collection, which was inspired by Teddy Boy subculture in Britain in the 1950’s; what is it about this particular time and cultural phenomenon that caught your attention? How did you know it was the direction you wanted to go in for your collection?
HY: Both girls and guys were so bad ass. I really liked that attitude they had, not giving a crap about anything. I think a lot of stuff has been done and redone in fashion, so we thought that having this edgy direction would help us stand out a little bit.
SW: What’s next for Hyden Yoo, what is currently inspiring your creative direction? Any hints you’d like to share about your upcoming Spring 2012 collection, which we are all looking forward to seeing at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week in New York?
HY: You will have to see and try to guess. The collection has some romanticism, a slight hint of eroticism, and a dash of taboo. No hint here other than the fact that it’s gonna be the jump off! It’s going to be great. Our entire team has things in motion to make it an excellent presentation.
For more information about the designer, check out SW's coverage of Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Fall 2011.