오 예 린
During my final year at RISD, it seemed as if all pivotal, crucial realizations sat pending for twenty-two years and deliberately decided to hit me mid-thesis. Formerly, I didn’t know who I was as a person or as a designer—as a daughter or as a young woman. And though I recognize self-discovery is an endless journey, for the first time I felt the weight of my own skin and began materializing who I was and who I wanted to be. Consequently, the woman I wanted to design for came to life.
Much of this realization came from my mother. Ironic considering she constantly patronizes my character. It is the reason I love her—she is my life coach; the one person in this world who cares enough to put all of her essence into shaping me into an exceptional individual. It is the reason I hate her—she is my toughest critic; the one person who draws attention to flaws most and even I would not otherwise perceive. She breaks me down to pieces to mold me into a better “me”.
She is a classy, sophisticated woman aged to exactness, much like wine. And I am simply, young. Nowhere near attaining the self-aware maturity she has acquired throughout her accomplished lifetime. I am caught between a past of adolescent rebellion and a present, sporadic desire to follow in her footsteps.
This internal struggle and the growth I experienced this year affected every aspect of my life. Disappointed with what was supposed to be the first half of my senior thesis, LUXE STREET, I obdurately decided to start completely anew and create this autobiographical collection during my final semester.
The woman I designed OYERIN for is a combination of my mother and myself. I strove to construct these two identities into my thesis collection, while drawing inspiration from my bi-cultural upbringing rooted in Korea and Texas—specifically the traditional Korean hanbok and American athletic wear. The conservative, religious, morally upstanding mother who embodies the definition of refinement is shown in the overall modesty and in the restricting, yet elegant high collars. My youthful spirit is alive in the colors and prints and the conflicted rebel shines through in the subtly sexy midriffs and leg-exposing-pleated skirts. All the while, OYERIN addresses the profound desire to be comfortable, both in one’s clothing and in one’s own, imperfect self.