Korean designer and Pushbutton founder Park Seung Gun tells us about new-collection anxiety, hype and his undying love for the 80s
Founded by onetime aspiring pop star and former model Park Seung Gun in 2003, Pushbutton has become one of Seoul Fashion Week's most high-profile successes. It's not hard to see the brand's appeal: Park worships at the altar of the 80s (which, at least fashion-wise, is truly is the gift that keeps on giving), infusing his gender-neutral pieces with influences from the films and music of the decade. On the occasion of Pushbutton's debut on Net-a-Porter, we spoke to the designer about the painful birth of his latest collection, the perils of excessive hype, and the joys of supersized clothing.
Why did you name the brand Pushbutton?
It's from Madonna's single Hollywood, she's my 'forever muse'. I think the 80s and early 90s were the golden era of culture, and Pushbutton's designs are very linked to my life during that period.
Tell me more about your SS19 collection.
The keywords for this season were fixation, silhouette and customisation. We worked with all kinds of fabric including wool, cotton, jersey, chiffon and denim, each of which drapes and holds itself differently; in addition, one can create different looks by fastening various tabs and hooks, or mix and match jackets, shirts, and trousers to create asymmetric forms.
What were you inspired by?
My anxiety over putting together a new show felt like a box that I could not escape. I was in despair and felt helpless, so I decided to doodle my agony: it was just endless squares, which I then decided to translate into clothes. That meaningless scribble gave me my main silhouette: a squared shoulder and boxy fit.
Do you have a favourite piece from the collection?
The oversized bomber jacket, which I wear often. You can layer it over everything.
What trends should women buy into this season? What's going to be next year's big thing?
Every woman should have a roomy men's jacket in her closet. Tailoring's very in now, but I like something a bit more casual and outdoorsy.
What exactly is 'cool'? And specifically, what is cool now? Or is anything that's cool now, by default, already over?
Being cool is having the having the zeitgeist reflected your lifestyle and wardrobe, which is not necessarily the same thing as being well-dressed or on-trend.
What do you think of the current K-fashion scene?
Seoul is booming. The world began noticing Korea via K-drama, then K-pop and K-beauty. K-fashion was the logical next step.
Streetwear remains a huge deal in Korea, but the fashion world appears to be moving past that, judging by Milan and Paris' recent fashion weeks. Any thoughts on that?
In Korea, there are many young designers for whom relevance is the root of their power. If the world moves on from streetwear, their creativity will adapt to the change.
Do you think that hype is a problem in Korea? Is the hunger for specific "It" labels good or bad for business?
Too much hype is bad. When the buzz around things gets too exaggerated, it reads as paid content and loses all credibility. I do think, however, that we're getting better at filtering the noise out.
What do you think is next for Korean fashion? What does it need to do to gain more attention on the world stage?
Working with global e-commerce companies like Net-a-Porter is the best way for Korean brands to expose ourselves to new customers and markets; their reputation and the trust that people have invested in them is crucially important.
Browse Net-a-Porter's Pushbutton FW18 edit below: