First created in the late 90s, Perfumance was formerly called the “Hugak Designers,” a group founded by Ewha students studying in the College of Art & Design. In 2007, Hugak Designers was reformed to Perfumance by university students who truly have passion in perfume. Perfumance takes pride as the first and only student-lead group in Korea that studies and initiates in making perfumery. It consists of over 50 students attending different universities and majoring in different fields, such as the Arts, Engineering, and Humanities.
Being a member of Perfumance requires participation in several activities, including attending weekly-held studies, promoting and joining exhibitions, and testing perfume on people that match their styles.
Perfumance’s weekly studies are vital as they teach members about the basics of perfumery, from understanding various different types of fragrances to learning about the basics of perfumery: mixing the top note, middle note, and the base note with essential oil and ethanol.
Once background knowledge on perfumery is acquired, the students are ready to attempt creating perfumes at “Galimard,” an academy that teaches and creates perfume. Perfumance is also invited to exhibit at the UnivExpo, one of Korea’s most grand expositions where selected university student groups present their creative ideas. Perfumance crew members expeditiously search for people in urban crowded locations, such as Myeong-dong to test perfumes on people who would match with them. Coparfum and Drop On Street, two mainstream perfume magazines in Korea, provide these new fragrance products to Perfumance.
When asked how the members know what perfumes match with what sort of people, Jung, the President of Perfumance, replied that it really depends on the person’s outer appearances.
“We tend to try finding fashionable people with strikingly vibrant colors who represent their own styles. So it would be like testing a sweet floral fragrance on a very adorable woman,” Jung said.
While looking for the right person who would match the perfume, there were some interesting, or rather “romantic” episodes recounted by certain members. In fact, some used perfume testers as a maneuver to retrieve personal information from people they have interests in.
“A crew member of Perfumance once tried to hook up with a boy by testing perfume on him. After testing the perfume on him, I heard that she later got his number,” said Park Se-min (Hanyang University, 4), the former president of Perfumance.
Park also recounts his own personal experience when he made a perfume to give it to his girlfriend as a gift.
“I was hoping to make my girlfriend happy by making her very own perfume,” Park said.
However, unable to remember what went wrong, his perfume had an unpleasant odor that, rather than pleasing his girlfriend, did the opposite. His girlfriend eventually did not use the perfume ever again.
Studying perfumery as the sole perfumery group lead by university students may be fun, but it also has its downside.
“Because we are only students, we sometimes lack enough knowledge on perfumery that we get stuck explaining certain concepts at large meetings, such as the UnivExpo. Our crew members break out into cold sweats because we do not seem like experts,” Park said.
Though lacking professionalism, the members’ commonality of feeling a passion for perfume is what ties them together.
“Perfumance is meaningful to me in that it creates friendships and bonds. Our same interests in perfume is why Perfumance exists,” Heo Da-un (Daejin University, 2) said.