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FIDM Fashion Design Student HyeRin Lee wearing a fuzzy blue off the shoulder sweater and black shorts as she tilts her head and points at the camera

Pierre Cardin Contest Winner HyeRin Lee Talks About Her DEBUT 2023 Collection as The Story of Life

Born and raised in Seoul, South Korea, HyeRin Lee attended Jeohyeon High School. After graduation, she moved to Los Angeles to attend FIDM and was accepted into the prestigious Advanced Fashion Design program. She was recently announced as the winner of the grand prize of the first annual Pierre Cardin Young Designers Contest, and is awarded with an all-expenses paid three-month apprenticeship at Pierre Cardin in Paris, a $1,000 per month salary, and the opportunity to have a sketch cut, sewn, and made. The designer will be showing an inspired collection at FIDM’s Annual DEBUT Runway Show event this spring. We caught up with her to learn more.

Tell us a little about yourself: I am currently attending FIDM Advanced Program DEBUT after graduating with an Associates Degree in Fashion Design. I came to Los Angeles to attend FIDM and I started my whole journey here. I love designing with creative ideas out of the box. My favorite part of the design process is drawing with my inspiration. 

fashion design sketches by FIDM Student HyeRin Lee showing the process for her DEBUT 2023 collection

Tell us about your DEBUT 2023 collection: My DEBUT 2023 collection is called Revoir which means "Good bye, see you again" in French. I wanted to draw the story of our life that contains the four different sufferings—birth, old, sickness, and death. However, it is the natural up and down we experience in our life and I found the positive beauty inside of the sufferings. 

fashion design sketches by FIDM Student HyeRin Lee showing the process for her DEBUT 2023 collection

What silhouettes and fabrics can we expect to see? The collection contains taffeta, organza, spandex, nylon fabric with four different colors starting as from white to yellow, pink, and blue finishing as white. For the details, I used the shirring gathering which is adjustable and transparent with using different weights of fabrics. There are five casts molded using Worbla which is thermoplastic. I tried to use harmonious diverse natural curves and fitted silhouettes at the same time to provide more variety.

fashion design sketches by FIDM Student HyeRin Lee showing the crafting of her DEBUT 2023 collection

How did it feel to win the Pierre Cardin Young Designers Contest? Describe your design for the competition: First time when I was officially announced as the winner of the Pierre Cardin Young Designer Contest, I was so surprised that I couldn't believe it. My design was originally inspired by the Cardin Javelin which is the car designed by Mr. Cardin. I wanted to reinterpret the exterior and interior designs, curves, and colors of him. The main material concept was using the disused car elements as considering sustainability. I used the seat cover as fabric and safety seat belt, buckle, and metal latch plate as the trims. 

What is your point of view, as a designer? I always try to find something new in our life. I find it interesting when I find the contrast or irony in the point of view. 

How do you hope people will feel when they see your DEBUT designs? Through my collection, I want to send the message of hope. I want them to feel the positive side of how time flows and how our life changes whether it is good or bad. Getting old and sick is also a natural thing that we should face as human beings. I want them to think differently and beautifully as they accept their time and memory of their journey. Every step we went through is valuable in our life.

What inspires you as a creative and as a fashion designer? Anything surrounding me can inspire me as a creative and as a fashion designer. Nothing special, we can take anything creative in different views. I like to spend time thinking in different directions and debating the differences. 

What is a lesson you've learned as you've been working on your collection? Through spending nine months working on my own collection, there are still challenges and mistakes I am making but I realized that trusting the process will achieve the results I wanted. The attitude of how I take my work seriously and put my efforts into it built my collection much closer to the goal that I set before I started the DEBUT. 

Tell us about your path to FIDM: The professors in FIDM are everything for me. FIDM is my first college where I started to learn fashion and I went through the pandemic during freshman year. Overcoming the time difference and the limitation of the online classes was able with the passion of the professors. It made me learn and build my journey at FIDM. Without them, I won't be able to be here as I am now. 

How is FIDM helping you get closer to your career goals? FIDM always tries to support our consideration and be open to every possibility in our future. FIDM assists in building a portfolio, resume, cover letter, and interview for our internship and job application to achieve my career goals.  

Any advice for someone considering applying to be a DEBUT student? I would really like to say go for it! DEBUT is the exclusive experience that we can build our own collection that helps us to make our dreams come true. Not only improving the techniques in sketching and drawing, but also broadening our view and building the behavior allows us to have our own aesthetic and belief in design.

Follow HyeRin Lee on Instagram @hyerinlxx.

Categories:  Advanced Fashion Design International Student