Discover the box bags that fashion's It-crowd is sporting on the streets

Discover the box bags that fashion's It-crowd is sporting on the streets

Designer think-box

Text: Jolene Khor

You know you've made it when your bags land in the arms of Miroslava Duma, Irene Kim and Leandra Medine of the Man Repeller

Here's one of fashion industry's worst kept secrets: If you're a hotshot editor, you get lots of free stuff. If you're an influencer in the sense that you have an army of social media following, you get lots (and I mean lots) of free stuff. If you inherit daddy's richness and your mama's good looks, you get lots of free stuff.

Where is a designer in the midst of this fodder we call consumerism? Buried in the piles of the latest merch to reach the P.O. boxes of the It-girls is sometimes a gem awaiting discovery. And if you're born under a lucky star like The Volon's E.J. likely was, your work catches the attention of the right power player. A few well-timed snaps by Phil Oh and Tommy Ton later, you find that you don't have to wait very long for a breakthrough after all.

In three short years, E.J.'s mini bags, dubbed "lunchboxes" by Leandra Medine, have gained arm candy status thanks to their multitude of appearances in the last couple of fashion week circuits. Taking a closer inspection of her success, we chat up the Korean up-and-comer about her bags, their impetus rise and the meaning behind the intriguing name that is The Volon.

E.J. is the designer and CEO of emerging Korean label, The Volon

Before The Volon, you were a cellist and an interior designer. Did the skills you acquire in those professions translate in the fashion world?
I didn't convince myself that I am super talented or focused at one very specific subject as other artists do. However, I was always confident that I can understand beauty of many different arts or design works and I'm good at harmonising them. I studied music in my earlier life, then I was interested in creating in a "real space" so I positioned myself as an interior designer but The Volon is my heart and passion. 

Tell me about your journey so far.
The brand launched in 2013, in Paris. Initially, it wasn't easy to gain attention in the European market. Thankfully, our pop-ups in Excelsior in Milan and Rare Market in Seoul did well. Next thing we know, we're releasing an exclusive line for Net-a-Porter!


The Volon bags have minimalistic shapes but over-the-top details. How did this come to be?
It is very interesting to me that opposites attract. I'm always attracted to a collaboration of polarising features; mixing the classic and the modern, the splendidly colourful and the simple.

Why do you think that is?
There are many interesting bags in the world, of course, but some of them are not easily matched with the existing wardrobe so those bags end up as decoration in the closet. The structure of The Volon bags emphasises the kind of minimalism that feels familiar yet simultaneously, the bold embellishments and unexpected colour-blocking harmonise with the neat bags. 


Tell us about the fall/winter bags.
Every new collection is a sequel to a previous season; that's how we build The Volon's story. This season, the bags are mostly influenced by traditional Korean garments, ornaments and architecture. My favourite is the box bag because it comes attached with a mirror inside — essential for girls on the go.

Lastly, where from did the name "The Volon" originate?
The name originated from the philosophy behind the phrase, “Le volonté de tous” by Jean-Jacques Rousseau. It means "the will of all" and it represents the totality of our wants as individuals.

A selection of The Volon's latest collection, below:

The Volon is available on Net-a-Porter.