Romantic wedding comes alive with designer Hwang Jae-bok
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Romantic wedding comes alive with designer Hwang Jae-bok
  • Lee Ji-hyun
  • 승인 2012.09.18 09:35
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Hwang Jae-bok (’83, English) reveals her story of becoming the number one wedding dress designer in Korea from a English Literature major and a homemaker. Photo provided by Hwang Jae-bok.
Admired by every bride looking for a perfect dress on her special day, Hwang Jae-bok (’83, English) is the number one wedding dress designer in Korea, with a fashion brand under her name―a brand with 21 years of success behind it.
Hwang was the president of the Council of Fashion Designers in Korea in 2008, front designer of Miss Korea Beauty Contest and Super Model Contest in Korea for five years, and sponsored dresses for the Cannes Film Festival and enjoyed many other accomplishments in the fashion world. Many Korean celebrities and sports stars love wedding dresses designed by Hwang.
Behind all the sparkle, Hwang’s story of how she became one of the most influential fashion designers is unique as she was an English Literature major and a homemaker before she was 30 years old.
“Before going to school, I dressed up in high fashion clothing with colorful manicures and experimental accessories,” Hwang said. “I was more passionate about what to wear to school every day than to learn about Shakespeare. I think studying literature helped me gain sensitivity which I needed as a designer.”
Upon graduation, Hwang entered the Ewha Graduate School of Design (EGSD) to step a little closer to becoming a fashion designer.
“When I think back to the happiest moments of my life at that time, I remember sewing and making patterns with patches of clothes by myself to design outfits I wanted to wear,” Hwang said. “People liked my clothes and often told me I am stylish. I applied for the EGSD, which was established a few years previously, to learn professional design.”
However, living as a woman in Korea, Hwang had to get married, raise children and support her husband while stopping what she wanted to do for a while. Hwang became a dedicated mother. It was when she reached the age of 30 that she realized her passion for design was too big to be repressed.
“I had no experience in the industry but I believed that if I waited another ten years, I would end up as a seller, not a designer.” 
As soon as Hwang opened her first wedding dress shop in Myeong-dong, she quickly gained a reputation for her brand.
“My name quickly spread in the fashion industry as I was able to hold fashion shows with one of the most famous designers who also graduated from EGSD,” Hwang said. “When we held fashion shows, my clothing lines were always the finale of the show because they were dresses.”
Hwang explains the process of finding a perfect wedding dress as a grand project.
“I analyze the mood, body line, image, and then choreograph the bride from makeup and hair style to a perfect dress,” she said. “I believe that every bride can look like the person she wants by wearing my dress.”
The special features of Hwang’s wedding dress are its simplicity and feminine line.
“I value simplicity and natural beauty of a dress that will deliver the fairness of a bride,” Hwang said. “Many of my customers seek to express elegance, intelligence, dignity and high-class image through the dress.”
Hwang strives to apply new interpretations and also maintain traditional beauty.
“People’s perspective on beauty may change over time,” Hwang explained. “Take a look at the wedding pictures of your mom. The dress she is wearing may look unsophisticated. However, I want my work to transcend time and still be wearable even in 10 years and 20 years later.”
Admired and watched by many designers, Hwang says having a strong conviction about her design philosophy is the most important.
“I try to have a strong belief about my taste and decision in design by maintaining my unique color,” Hwang said.
Hwang encourages future designers to be exposed to the culture and trends of the industry and society as much as possible.
“I get inspiration from exhibitions, museums, and trips. I believe that feelings and special experiences are transmitted to the dresses I make.”

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