Leading lady of car design to entrepreneur: Interview with Cho Kyung-sil
Leading lady of car design to entrepreneur: Interview with Cho Kyung-sil
  • Park Se-ra
  • 승인 2010.09.27 12:33
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 “A Sophisticated Style of Your Own. The Chairman inspires admiration with a harmonious blend of straight and curved lines.”

 The advertisement of the car racing silently through the fog was not the only reason for Chairman’s high-class image.

This groundbreaking masterpiece from Ssangyong Motors presented the world with a unique, yet trendy, sensational car design and is continuously maintaining No. 1 position on automobile sales in the Korean market ever since its release in 2003.

 Cho Kyung-sil (`85, Arts Department), the designer of Chairman, is one of the very first women to achieve vocation in the field of car design worldwide. She was the very first female ever to be accepted as a Car Design major to the Royal College of Art (RCA), where it is all designers’ dream to attend and broaden their horizon.

 Her global career achievements and current position as one of the top car designers in the world originated from Ewha. She first met friends who had the same mindset as her, hence creating a study group together, which helped her to stay focused on her dream.

 “I think it’s important to have someone to support you. My friends pushed me through whenever I was discouraged or lazy,” Cho said.

 Right after graduating Ewha, a professor recommended Cho to the Ssangyong Motors, where her true career as a designer began.


Chairman, a car from Ssangyong, is one of the cars Cho Kyung-sil (‘85, Arts Department) designed.

 “My first years in Ssangyong created a good base for me; until then practical experience in car designing were inaccessible for me,” Cho recalled.


 Since there were very few schools or institutions that provide practical learning on car design, books were the only sources she could learn from until she entered Ssangyong Motors.

 Upon grasping her first chance to virtually work, Cho achieved success as the designer of bestselling automobiles at Ssangyong Motors such as Musso, New Korando, Istana, Chairman, etc. She also participated in other companies’ car designs, such as Terracan of Hyundai Motors.

 However, changes were needed in her career stage; she wanted to see the broader world of car designing.

 “I simply wanted to work at a global enterprise,” she said. “I couldn’t dream of anything more than that at the time. But during the years at Ssangyong Motors, I visited many foreign countries, and it just introduced me to a bigger world. Then I decided to give myself another chance to leap forward.”

 Although Cho struggled with financial issues and language problems while studying abroad, she reminisced those years as the happiest years of her life.

 “Europe is where you can witness a very old tradition well fitted in. RCA definitely helped me to get to the next level, but antique sceneries of the streets I saw every day in London also influenced my work,” Cho said.

 Cho recommends junior colleagues to make constant challenges and experience new worlds.

 “I know many students are unsure about what they want to do, but the best way to discover one’s desire and ability is to knock on every door. Experiences will help make the right decision,” she said, as she continuously emphasized on students to engage in different activities. “Your dreams should be ideal, but your decisions need to be realistic.”

 Currently, Cho is getting ready to make another leap of faith in life, as a bag designer at IBags. She was motivated by the James Dyson, a home appliance designer and CEO of Dyson, and his creation of the Dyson Air Multiplier.

 “I want to make the best use of my experiences from car designing and help people to feel how design is intensely interwoven with daily life,” Cho said.

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