In this issue of ASIAN VOICE, we feature iina, a brand that enjoys every step of the brand making process, from its challenges to its rewards. Taking its inspirations from SF to life itself, this interview explores iina and its journey in the fashion industry.
Nana : Can you give our readers an introduction to the brand, iina?
iina : ‘iina’ is the process of visualizing my bizarre and surreal imagination based on retro futurism. It develops various graphics and silhouettes in every season and tries to present a new visual paradigm.
Nana : Why did you decide to name it “iina”?
iina : I had taken art classes since I was young and it was natural for me to choose to specialize in fashion design. Although my parents were against it, that was all I was really interested in. I couldn’t think of any other way. And ‘iina’ is my name. Technically I’m ‘Lee ina’, though, they have the same pronunciation in Korean. Most of the brands or collections I admired were named after the designers themselves and it looked genuine and cool. So I’ve been dreaming of a brand named after me.
Nana : What has influenced the creation of the brand and the pieces designed for your brand?
iina : The fantasy and SF genres are my favorites. Mostly, I get inspiration from the futuristic, dark, and dreamy vibe of movies like Blade Runner series, Paprika, Ghost in the Shell, and Fantastic Planet. There are many inspirational musicians too. When preparing for the latest season, I listened to the Bjork song ‘Utopia’ over and over again and also watched the music video often.
Nana : What are some of the challenges you have faced during the course of building your brand?
iina : It literally feels like every moment is a challenge. Because the whole process of creating and making something new is fierce and never easy. Perhaps that’s why it is even more fun and fulfilling. lol..
Nana : How do you come up with the themes for each season?
iina : There is no set way. Sometimes I make decisions while seeing a movie, an exhibition, or listening to a song, or while walking or taking a shower, some ideas flashed through my mind. As it is a brand after my name, it has an organic aspect. It seems to show the ever-changing me, my thoughts, and my values.
For example, one of my childhood memories was the motif of the latest collection. I was a little kid who liked to find things in common with my friends, even with the small things that anyone would have lol, and then I was so happy because it felt like I found my twin. Now it feels like many of us, including me, have lost that kind of naivety. This season’s theme, ‘finding a twin’, is based on that experience. I drew a story that connects the past and the present myself, reinterpreting the animation ‘Alice in Wonderland’ that I liked yet, undaunted.
Nana : Is it possible to let readers know a little about your next collection?
iina : It’s still early to tell yet, though it will be a collection that delivers a message about climate change. We are working on a variety of items, including a new version of this season’s best, ‘4 pockets pleats dress’.
Nana : Is there a particular artist, movie, place, book that you would recommend our
readers to check for inspiration?
iina : I would recommend the ‘Black Mirror’ series on Netflix. It helps me a lot in imagining the future and coming up with stories
Nana : Do you have any advice for our readers who are seeking to find a way to build a brand like “iina”?
iina : It’s important to know what you like and what value it has, and also you should consider concrete reasons why you like it. Through this process, you can set your own standards and show your color without being swayed. I think I wrote what I wanted to say to myself.
The whole process of creating and making something new is fierce and never easy.iina