Jennifer Chun Launches New Sustainable Label, Uniformed



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Design Details is a weekly column about how style intersects with the wider environment.

After developing her beloved, ’90s-influenced namesake line for a decade, Jennifer Chun was obtaining a very little burned out. The method experienced turn into “so routine that I was not wondering outside the house the box anymore,” she remembers. “I would make two seasons and then ship it. It was just about like I was getting to be a minimal bit of a robotic in the course of action.” Her husband and business companion was the just one who proposed she rethink factors, just take a crack, and “not do this until you want to once again.”

She did stints in costume structure and worked for a few sustainability-focused brands, anything that “opened my eyes to a full distinctive system and buyer.” But it was not until lockdown strike that she started to aspiration about building a new line of her possess. Chun was seeing K-dramas in the course of the pandemic, just after possessing developed up on the style (she remembers leasing them on VHS tapes at Korean grocery merchants again in the day.) “I recognized that even getting Korean American and owning developed up in the Midwest most of my lifestyle, my cultural roots are really deep. It might be simply because you are so insulated in the Midwest, you’re one particular of the couple of Asian families,” she suggests.

uniformedworld by jennifer chun

Irises, a image of hope, are a recurring motif.

Peter Ash Lee/Courtesy of the designer.

Right after reading through an report about a natural dyer in Seoul (South Korea has a longstanding tradition of the craft), Chun and her mother, who was isolated in L.A. due to Covid limits, began corresponding with her. When Chun at last produced a journey to Seoul, the dyer enable her help and master about the process. That working experience led her to make a line, Uniformed, where she works with Korean artisans and utilizes repurposed and deadstock materials and all-natural dyes. While she’d primarily worked in wovens just before, Chun appreciated the concept of incorporating knitwear “because none of the yarns are squandered. You don’t have all this leftover cloth becoming thrown absent. You’re employing specifically what you need.”

uniformedworld by jennifer chun

The blazer has been a breakout strike for Chun.

Peter Ash Lee/Courtesy of the designer.

Just one standout of her debut selection is a blazer encouraged by the university uniforms in K-dramas and developed with a suiting patternmaker in Manhattan’s Garment District. Its sleeves are lined with brightly striped saekdong fabric, woven by artisans in Busan. (It’s the exact material that strains the sleeves of a hanbok, the traditional Korean garment.) On the remaining side of the blazer, in which a university identify tag would commonly be pinned, “Uniformed” is embroidered in Korean on a piece of ribbon. The piece has been a sellout item, with DMs about it pouring in before Chun even opened her on-line store.

A matching knit established and clutch with iris designs were being inspired by a vintage shirt of her grandmother’s, which remembers the pattern on plastic gambling cards known as hwatu playing cards. In Korea, irises are a image of hope, which was also the concept of this pandemic-born selection. The preppy aspect of the line comes out in a rugby sweater, modeled after just one Chun borrowed from her dad in the ’90s, but unexpectedly made from merino wool, and in box-pleated miniskirts.

Chun’s heritage is embedded in every single piece. Her wrap skirts drew on the custom of pojagi, or patchworking leftover cloth scraps with each other as a way to wrap items or meals containers. Dam yo (blanket) scarves, which are stuffed with repurposed and upcycled down cloth, had been primarily based on the common Korean blankets she grew up applying. And she built a place of performing with an all-Asian workforce on the lookbook, which was shot by Peter Ash Lee. When she showed the resulting illustrations or photos to the dyer, she instructed Chun, “‘You respected Korea and you manufactured it look legitimate to our cultural heritage.’ And that was the most important compliment, mainly because that’s what I really needed to do.”

uniformedworld by jennifer chun

The Dam Yo scarf.

Peter Ash Lee/Courtesy of the designer.

Every little thing was designed in modest batches to eliminate squander, a little something that has develop into a marketing level for the brand name. When Chun advised a close friend that she would only make a limited amount of things based mostly on how substantially cloth and yarn she experienced remaining, she proposed, “‘Why never you label that in your garments?’ So it’s exciting, since people will see, ‘I bought the 2nd one particular manufactured out of 10, for the reason that the 1st a single was the sample.’”

uniformedworld by jennifer chun

Chun’s acquire on the rugby sweater.

Peter Ash Lee/Courtesy of the designer.

As with many sustainable makes, there is not a prepare for wild, comprehensive-throttle growth. But Chun designs to extend, judiciously, into accessories and homeware, and perform with additional artisans across Asia. “And if somebody has leftover material or yarn,” she says brightly, “then I’ll use it.”

One of the highlights of the method: Chun lastly received to make a journey to Korea with her mother, who gathered a team of childhood close friends who’d read about what they ended up undertaking. “It was the most wonderful thing. They all pulled together and introduced their made use of hanboks,” she claims. The ladies shared the memories driving the garments in advance of offering them to Chun to repurpose for her designs. “It was just about to the point in which I was like, ‘I never want to reduce up any of this!’ But they really don’t experience that way. They all want to be a section of it.”

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