99％IS- Designer Mr. BAJOWOO Interview
JP2: Tell us how you came to be interested in fashion.
BAJOWOO:I went to a live music house for the first time when I was in sixth grade, and people who used to be in the band were expressing their intensions and feelings. I thought I wanted to become like them but I couldn’t play any instruments. But then I thought I could reshape my thoughts by sewing by hand, drawing pictures, and tearing fabrics.
Soon after, people wearing the clothes I remade were asked “Where can I buy that?” or “Where did you get it?” Also, I started to remake costumes for the band that I used to go see. After I graduated from high school, I began studying fashion in a formal sense.
BAJOWOO:BAJOWOO is a nickname. It has been used since I officially started making clothes, hosted band events, DJed, and designed an album jacket and poster.
JP2:You are from Korea. When did you realize you wanted to work in Japan?
BAJOWOO:I graduated from high school and enrolled in ESMOD, but I quit when I was in my second year. After that, I worked as an assistant designer at Leather Factory Company and also became a stylist’s assistant.After completing my military obligations, I heard that the Sex Pistols’ 30th anniversary concert would be held that year, so I went to England.
I was only going to stay for 2 months, but I ended up staying for six because it was a lot more fun than I expected. I didn’t have enough money nor a place to stay so I moved from place to place with acquaintances I met on the street that were studying fashion design. I ended up taking the test for Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design. I passed the examination, but I was hesitant about whether or not to accept. So, I asked a Japanese designer that I met at the factory for advice. I thought I could make it happen with the things I really wanted to do in the future if I worked in Japan.
JP2:Did you have any concerns after you decided to work in Japan?
BAJOWOO:It’s natural to make mistakes if you’ve never studied, so I wasn’t afraid at all. I learned Japanese when I came to Japan. Since, I came here without even knowing hiragana, I was being taught like a kindergartener at Japanese school.
JP2:Are you particular about using natural materials for making pieces and clothes?
BAJOWOO:I make everything on my own from small parts, like snaps, since my first collection. Studs and tacks are all original from molds. Also, I always try to choose material that matches the piece and not just focus on prices for wool and skin.
JP2:Please tell us where you’re selling your pieces outside of Japan.
JP2:I have been selling my pieces in Taiwan, Soul, Hong Kong, London, Los Angeles, and New York.
JP2:Is there anything that you want to produce and express besides clothing?
BAJOWOO:I’m not finished with making clothes, so I don’t think I’m ready for other things. Although the idea of perfection is different with each person, I want to challenge myself until the very end. Of course, if there are any interesting projects out there, I would love to give it a shot. But firstand foremost, I want to establish my own brand of fashion.
JP2:What do you think of the current fashion industry?
BAJOWOO:I am not good enough to speak about the current fashion industry so there is nothing I can say. Although, whether the industry is good or bad, I always want to do the same things.
JP2:What are some of the best things you think that you’ve learned along the way?
BAJOWOO:Since, I am more of an active person and actually see things with my eyes, I don’t have much to say. I featured “Sherlock Holmes” at my 3rd collection, having researched it through the movies, novels and dramas. But it wasn’t good enough, so I visited where the story took place in the novels. It’s always like that. I will research and actually go somewhere if I am interested in something. When I go places that make me think and feel, “this is good” it creates other new feelings. In doing so, I think your sensitivity becomes cultivated and eventually you can make things different from others. Listen with your ears, breath with your nose, look with your eyes and think later. I keep that in my mind and actually try to go to places to feel, not just sit there and do my work.
JP2:What is your policy?
BAJOWOO:To do what I love and only what I want.
JP2:What are your plans for future?
BAJOWOO:I want to focus more energy on the Tokyo Collection, which will be held in October. Lately, younger brands don’t do this fashion show, and it’s been said there is no point in doing that. For this reason, I’ve decided to participate in the show.
JP2:Finally, Please give a message to our current students？
BAJOWOO:I think you should enjoy school life more. Work hard, and play hard. Make the best of everything and you’ll head in the right direction. Just don’t be lazy around the house. You can do that when you get old.
Born in 1984 in Seoul, Korea. Enrolled in ESMODE in 2003.
Afterward, started up his first punk brand in Korea, producing rock band costumes and artwork. Moved to Tokyo in 2008 and enrolled in a dressmaker school in 2010. Started up 99%IS- in Autumn/Winter of 2012, when he was second-year student