Yubin Min Tells the Story of a Flower in Her DEBUT Collection
Born and raised in South Korea, Yubin Min attended the top fashion and design high school in Korea. When she was accepted, her mother gave her a bouquet of roses in celebration, and Yubin’s love of flowers began. Now, they are the main source of inspiration for her DEBUT collection which will be part of FIDM’s Annual DEBUT Runway Show event, live-streaming on Thursday, August 18, 2022 at 6:00 PM PDT. “I used fabric manipulation to illustrate the transformation of colors and textures during a flower’s lifecycle—from when they are merely buds to slowly blooming into their fullest form and then dried and covered with resin to preserve their original form.” We caught up with the Advanced Fashion Design student to learn more about her path, point of view as a designer, and her collection.
Tell us about your DEBUT collection: My grandma often whispers, “that was my blooming age,” to herself whenever she looks through her old photo albums. She is referring to her prime when she was in her early to mid-twenties, like when a flower is at its fullest bloom. In my eyes, however, she is always in her blooming age whether it was when she was a 19-year-old college student, a young mother in her thirties, or even now in her late seventies.
Many people take photos of the memories they want to treasure so they can always remember a loved one, themselves, or even an object at a specific moment. This human desire to hold on to what we value is because of the ephemeral nature of life. For me, such an object that has great value are flowers. Not only do they have a special place in my heart, but are also the main inspiration for this collection. My love of flowers started with a bouquet of roses my mom gave me when I got accepted to the top fashion and design high school in Korea—my dream school. The flowers reminded me of how happy my mom was when she heard the news. I took care of them with love and devotion and even dried them so that I could keep them forever and always remember that moment.
While this collection was inspired by flowers, I was able to find direction on how to develop my inspiration when I came across Polish artist, Marcin Rusak. Specifically, Rusak’s statement, “With most of the work that we do, it is not about the outcome; we are interested in the evolution of the ideas and the progress of the materials,” significantly changed my perspective on how to create value. It deeply influenced my approach to this collection and helped me further expand my outlook on beauty. Not only does the collection illustrate my desire to preserve the beauty of flowers at their full bloom, but also the beauty found in evolution and progress.
This collection has great meaning to me as a designer. It helped me grow technically, as seen in the elaborate detailing and use of various materials, and further shaped me as a designer while expanding my outlook on beauty and life. The collection challenged me to reexamine my desire to always try to find the aesthetic merit of objects at their prime. It made me realize that the blooming age refers to an authentic value that is created when an individual or an object undergoes change. This change can be due to nature, society, culture, technology, or even the arts. I plan to continue to highlight the evolution and creation of this new authentic worth in my designs.
What silhouettes and fabrics can we expect to see? For this collection, I used fabric manipulation to illustrate the transformation of colors and textures during a flower’s lifecycle—from when they are merely buds to slowly blooming into their fullest form and then dried and covered with resin to preserve their original form. I also added hand printing to imitate the technique of ink wash painting on vivid yellow silk satin and tan washed silk charmeuse to further illustrate the changing of colors and textures. On top of the hand printed flowers, I added iridescent silk organza and other sheer materials to represent the texture of wax or resin used to preserve flowers. In addition, the collection highlights detailed work that further portrays flowers and preservation such as the patchwork of suede flower cutouts, handmade flowers from strips of organza, and hand sewn silk chiffon. These details are carefully designed and highly elaborate so they can also be seen as individual pieces of artwork. These individual works come together to create one large masterpiece and thus start a new cycle of existence. This on-going cycle of rebirth not only represents my story but also my statement on sustainability.
What is your point of view, as a designer? Mixing and incorporating traditional values such as tailoring and craftsmanship with new technologies and sustainable practices have always been my niche category.
How do you hope people will feel when they see your designs? I hope the viewers will relate to my thoughts.
Tell us about your path to FIDM: As I entered middle school, I got the opportunity to experience the work of a fashion designer through the job experience program. After that, with a desire to express my ideas visually, I began to create a design journal while acquiring the necessary knowledge through books, the internet, and pertinent exhibitions. With my first portfolio created as a result, I was able to enroll in the fashion design high school I wanted, and started studying fashion in earnest there. I had a desire to go to college in a global environment where opportunities for greater growth while attending high school were given, and I entered the American Fashion College in 2018.
After entering FIDM, I have focused on finding elements that can be my own statement through my own emotional instincts, the work of various artists, and social and cultural issues. This is because I have the belief that I can form artistic integrity that is not swayed by fads. I have a very strong respect for the value of traditional tailoring. I used traditional tailoring elements in almost all design work, but I always incorporated an added challenge of obscuring those traditional values from being seen as results in line with conventional codes. The design approach I pursue is to create my own new domain by combining the traditional values with a new culture. In particular, I actively try to create my own unique statement through material manipulation, because I think that it is possible to create a result with both a creative and authentic value.
What inspires you as a creative and as a fashion designer? I enjoy the process of discovering my artistic and cultural niche through the medium called clothing, which is an embodiment of building my own authentic statements by studying the issues that interact with the people.
What is a lesson you've learned as you've been working on your collection? This work is undoubtedly the biggest challenge of my life, as it is the result of running for half a year with the determination to prove myself, but I am well aware that this is also a process for the next evolution. I will continue to take on new challenges and build my own strong design integrity.