These distinctive dresses with color and fluent lines differentiated from common wedding dresses are the works of designer Kim Chun-hye (’96, Korean Painting), a wedding designer who currently owns a wedding shop named Allure Wedding in Cheonan. Kim has an interesting profile as a wedding designer, majoring in western painting in high school and Korean painting in university.
“I always had a broad spectrum of interests and design was one of them,” Kim said. “After watching a fashion show at school held by art majors, I thought ‘I could do that, too’ and decided to study design when I was a junior in college. Influenced by my major, I was first interested in designing costumes for operas which are rich in colors. However, considering that the opera industry in Korea was just at its beginning back then, it seemed to be an unpractical career to choose.”
Ironically, the reason Kim chose to study wedding dress design is simple. She thought she would regret if she did not try studying dresses, and at that time wedding shops were lining the streets in front of Ewha. After graduation, Kim signed up for a wedding design academy as soon as she decided to study wedding dresses. Starting from the very bottom, Kim exerted great efforts to make her way up to her current position, a renowned designer.
The gap between her major and career not only presented her with obstacles but also gave her design her own uniqueness. Majoring in arts throughout high school and university, Kim is relatively more sensitive and skillful with colors compared to other people. In addition to the use of colors, she says that majoring in art helped her build keen observation skill to capture the body type of people and design a dress with a line that fits each person’s body.
“A dress is like a canvas to me,” Kim said. “People say my design is like a painting. Colors and basic lines with slight twists are the trademarks of my design. I am truly thankful that I majored in pure arts instead of design. It became a huge merit to me.”
With her unique design, Kim was selected as the clothes director of an opera performance to celebrate the G20 Summit.
“At first, I was only responsible for costumes for the chorus,” Kim recalled. “However, the Italian executive director complimented my dresses, saying he was fascinated by them. Then he asked me to design dresses for the leading roles as well. Working on the G20 Summit opera performance made my brand famous.”
When Kim successfully pulled the task off, she was proposed to be a costume director for the Korea Opera Group. For five years, Kim has been designing opera costumes for the Korea Opera Group once or twice per year.As a wedding designer, Kim made another achievement in May. On May 3, Kim held the 2015 F/W Wedding Show in Cheonan, which is the first fashion show in Cheonan ever. Kim divided the show into four themes: color, modern, lovely and classic. Setting up themes is unusual for Korean designers, and the scale of the show was also exceptional for a wedding show, having 35 dresses and more than 40 tuxedos. Despite the accomplishments she achieved, Kim says the show was only a practice for a bigger show in the future.
“Creating a new title ‘Designer Kim Chun-hye’ with no additional modifier such as ‘wedding’ or ‘shoes’ is my ultimate goal,” Kim stated passionately. “I dream of becoming a designer moving back and forth in various fields without limitations. I want to be the first generation in the field of integrated design.”
Still striving for her dream, Kim advises not to fear challenges and take actions instead of merely thinking about them in front of a desk.
“Have courage and seize opportunities and throw yourself into the field of interest and learn by experience,” Kim said. “When I accept a project, I think of two things: is there anything I can learn from this task? And does working on this project have any value? I want to tell students not to think too much but take actions instead. Knowledge learned through experience is invaluable.”