ih nom uh nit - avant-garde menswear



We caught up with contemporary menswear designer Young Jae Cho to talk about his emerging label Chaos From Undermind. You can shop the collection here:


As a progressive and emerging label, there is much to leave to the imagination about the designer behind Chaos From Undermind. Tell us a little bit about yourself as well as the others who help to create each collection?

Born and raised in South Korea and graduated uni with a major in clothing and textile, and quite tall for an Asian. I am the guy who did hope to become a painter in my early childhood. I am a day dreamer, and unrealistic person and careless from time to time to be honest. In contrast, my co-worker Ho-jin has the opposite personality, very much realistic and solid. Basically, we are friends. We met at uni while we took the same course in my last term when I had just arrived back from London. During the time we worked on the same project, I thought that we could be complementary to each other as a partner by considering our similar sense of taste, and the opposite personality as well. So I suggested to him that we work together for our own label. And CHAOS FROM UNDERMIND launched it's first collection in 2014-15A/W. As a co-worker and friends, we influence each other from the very small details to all design and making process. I would like to say the garments we are releasing came from the mixture of the two totally opposite men but trimmed nicely by the similar point of view - it is "CHAOS".


What influenced you to choose a career in avant-garde menswear?

As I said, I wanted to be a painter from my early child hood. Even now for me it is exciting to see art work, it does not matter which artist's work, and where they are placed. I love how it expresses what and how a person thinks, impressed by the use of fabrics and moving medium, "human body". This derives from when I first crushed on the early works of Alexander Macqueen. So I think I chose this career quite naturally along with the interest of arts. But I hate to be called an artist. I would rather like to be called "teller". I am telling my thoughts, feelings. It is sort of sharing each others emotions at that particular moment.


CHAOS FROM UNDERMIND - SEE THE UNSEEN - contemporary menswear


Can you give us a little insight into what it involves to design contemporary menswear? 

Trauma, fear, anger - these are the main factors when I first thought of starting my label. I have been interested in psychology especially how people deal with, sort out the negativeness themselves. Something is hidden behind the semblance of peace. These are the main things to construct CHAOS FROM UNDERMIND.


What draws you to the qualities of simplicity and functionality? How do you intend for these qualities to emanate from your work?

Something hidden behind is the key thought when I design the pieces. I try to keep the silhouette as simple as possible. It doesn’t matter whether it has many seam lines details or not. I want to make the pieces look simple through the way it looks. And I hide functionality into the seam lines. Which are the hidden action bent details on the knee parts of the trouser, hidden pocket details behind the zipper details on the leather jacket and the pleats details on the side seam of the wide shape trouser. By putting in these hidden details the garment can be transformed sometimes. I love to put these kinds of details in a garment. It could give some pleasure to the people just like a treasure hunt.


CHAOS FROM UNDERMIND - SEE THE UNSEEN - contemporary menswear


What are the main influences of your design process, and what attracted you to this way of design?

I imagine one scene of the films which I like to show in each collection in the very beginning of the design process. I try to imagine the scene as detailed as possible. the main character, atmosphere, lights, the angle of the camera even the smell. After every thing is a clear image up in my head, then I start to sketch the pieces which would fit to that scene in my head. Compare the designs to movies. some pieces could be the 'certificate U’, and some could be the director’s cut which fully contains what I want to express. I find it easier when I design the garments by these sort of processes as I am a day dreamer.


What are common inspirations for your work? How do you find yourself replenishing your inspiration sources, or do you merely stumble upon them?

It is very difficult to explain how to be inspired. Well, I would like to be inspired by the costumes from history. Traditional costumes of Korea and other far east countries give me a lot of inspiration. For me the historical back-ground of the designer’s mother land is the most important factor when they design the pieces. Based on that, I put my own colour. It could be re-creation. But to be honest, some sources just come up in my head during communication with my partner Ho-jin. You couldn't ignore these coincidental factors.


CHAOS FROM UNDERMIND - SEE THE UNSEEN - contemporary menswear


Originality and authenticity are important factors in your design process, How do you stay at the forefront of contemporary menswear?

"Show and Prove". this is all I can say. CHAOS FROM UNDERMIND is an emerging label and still struggling to show the world what originalities we have. Slow and steady, keep on the progressive vibes that we believe, we still have a long way to go.


What emotions do you commonly associate with your work? How do you believe your pieces help to physically represent those emotions?

Trauma, fear, anger - these are the main emotions constructing the work. Most human beings live there life hiding there negative emotions. They bottle up these feelings somewhere in their mind and zip them up so that they could be free from it. But these are the temporary solutions, at some point, it might ooze-out from their unconscious, squeeze out between the zips and pushes people into chaos. I want to express these circumstances into the garments. All the hidden detail points are that, and through using these details by the way the wearer’s moving, the silhouette of the pieces change, just like their bottled-up emotions ooze out from their mind and draw them into the chaos.


CHAOS FROM UNDERMIND - SEE THE UNSEEN - contemporary menswear


What do you believe is the most important characteristic of a piece of handcrafted clothing?

Every piece involves my emotions at the moment. So every single piece looks quite different for me even for the same models. I hope customers could feel it, and wear it as it is made just for them.


Your work is forward thinking and pushes the boundaries, who do you target your pieces towards?

Thank you for thinking of us in that way. I hope the customers of CHAOS FROM UNDERMIND are COOL OUTSIDERS. Just don’t give a damn what others think.


CHAOS FROM UNDERMIND - SEE THE UNSEEN - contemporary menswear


What is sustainable luxury for you?

No matter how much it costs, something I can keep by my side unless it's worn out. Even if it is worn out, still gives it’s own mood to me. Not like a piece which is just for that particular season and then sold on ebay for a cheaper price with “worn several times, keeping it in a good condition. 


We are currently living in unfavourable circumstances today, especially for young people. How has the economic crisis influenced you as a young emerging label and your work?

Since we were born, have we lived with any favorable circumstances? it is just as usual. If I cared about it, I wouldn’t have made these pieces for my collection. I would have just printed out some provocative comment on T-shirts and sold them at a cheaper price. 


CHAOS FROM UNDERMIND - SEE THE UNSEEN - contemporary menswear


What direction do you think you will take your brand next?

Keep maintaining the concept of the brand, I want to extend the label into unisex wear. But much has to be preceeded before that. Slowly and steady.


What music have you been listening too while designing your latest collection?

I am a big fan of hip-hop music, but not just showing off lyrics, I have listened to Kendrick lamar’s previous mixtape. 


CHAOS FROM UNDERMIND - SEE THE UNSEEN - contemporary menswear


Who do you feel are the three most influential designers in contemporary menswear for our generation?

Yohji Yamamoto, Rick Owens and Rei Kawakubo of comme des garcons in my personal point of view.


If the world was at an end,  What would be your last meal?

Probably get drunk. I won’t have any appetite. How about you? "We will see you there for that beer!"


CHAOS FROM UNDERMIND - SEE THE UNSEEN - contemporary menswear