Yune Ho founded his eponymous line in 2012. He grew up in Korea, and moved to New York to make his dream of becoming a fashion designer a reality. Learn about his story below!
What was it like growing up in Korea? It’s a very sweet and vivid experience for me. I enjoyed the environment and culture in Korea while I was growing up. It is, of course, very different from here even though I grew up in the big city like New York. The way my family lived was very traditional and very Korean. For example, we celebrated different holidays from here. We dressed in Korean traditional costumes and prepared the traditional Korean foods for each holiday. It was really beautiful and very special.
Were you nervous to move to a different country? I wasn’t nervous at all when I moved to New York. Instead, I was extremely excited. I was very brave and liked to explore new things. I was really curious about what I hadn’t experienced. This is probably why I travel frequently. I was lucky that my parents allowed me and supported me to do so.
What gave you the confidence to start you own line? Once I realized I wanted to be a fashion designer, it became my dream to start my own line. Working for designers like Derek Lam and Michael Kors helped me learn commercial responsibility while maintaining design integrity and brand mission. After a lot of blood, sweat, and even tears at times, I can say that dreams can come true.
How did you learn what goes into creating a collection? I’ve learned pretty much everything from experiences. Working within the designer and mass-market segments of fashion helped me to better understand the customer and how my personal aesthetic relates to the market. When working for other designers, I placed myself in their mindset and their customer’s mindset. Now I focus on developing the same discipline with my own designs. My experience shows me it is most important to remain true to myself.
Where did you find your factories? New York is an amazing city for designers and artists. It's great because most of the people you need to work with to do business, such as great sample makers, buyers, photographers, models and customers are based here. You can also easily find inspiration for your work. Mostly, I have worked with the factories in New York for Yune Ho.
How did you ensure you could ship on time? Working in the fashion industry is stressful, because it is very much a deadline-oriented field. For example, you have to order fabric to develop the collection by certain time. If not, you wouldn’t have fabrics to make samples. You cannot present your collection without samples, so you wouldn’t get orders from buyers. From the beginning, you must be very deadline oriented.
What is your relationship with retailers who carry your brand? As a small brand, it is a great opportunity for us to be in the big name department stores. Working with department stores is like a marriage between designer and store, so it’s fair to have commitments like exclusivity or margin agreements. This is an example of how running a fashion brand is quite different from creating the collection. There are a lot of things you need to take care of.
What advice would you give to someone interested in starting their own line? I am lucky enough to have partners who can work on business parts (margins and etc) and deal with stores. My advice to future designers would be to find a partner who can do “business” first so you can focus on creating a beautiful collection.
What do you do on the weekends and in your free time? I spent most of my time at work with a lot of people during the weekdays, so I prefer quiet and lazy weekends. I love staying home and spending quality time with my dog, Howl.
What was it like going to Parsons? Is it necessary to go to design school in order to become a designer? I learned more than just designing a garment or making patterns at Parsons. There are so many talented people who have the same dream as I do, so I learned that I must work harder to be on the same level as them. It’s not necessary to go to design school to simply be a designer. If you could find out the necessary path by yourself , why do you need to pay so much tuition for school?
Shoppable links to some of my favorite styles below!