The ENZO BLUES team, comprising Jiwon Seo (Visual Director, PR), Gabriel Seokmo Kim (Marketing, MD) and Dohbeen Choi (Designer), tells us more about the brand.
By Tira Lee
Photos by Rose Ng
Model: Luke Tipping
ENZO BLUES’ brand name, inspired by the diver character in the movie The Big Blue and the blues (as in music genre), is a nod to the plunge its brandrunners took into the Seoul fashion scene that was already a cesspool of streetwear brands by the time it launched in May 2015.
How did ENZO BLUES come about?
Jiwon: [It] is a conceptual fashion brand inspired by sports with distinctive design. Not only limited to sports itself, we also are inspired by themes in music, movies and many other cultures. Our designs are centered on the slogan, “The Explicit Uniform”, meaning that we design and create interesting garments while keeping the basic principles of our fashion.
ENZO BLUES is an interesting name for a brand. What inspired it?
Jiwon: ENZO BLUES is the combination of ENZO, the name of the main character who’s a diver in the film The Big Blue, and BLUES referes to the music genre we love. Basically, it stands for the brand’s main inspirations: Sports and Music.
Did you foresee any potential risks of starting up a streetwear brand in Seoul, where there are so many other streetwear brands?
Gabriel: In Korea, the streetwear market is getting bigger and there are some remarkable brands. However, some brands don’t care about the craft, and just follow the crowd without any distinctive style. This degrades the fashion industry. But ENZO BLUES has originality and makes an effort to differentiate itself from the other streetwear brands, and that helps us stay competitive in a crowded marketplace.
We hear you’re part of an incubation program too.
Gabriel: We are in the Seoul Fashion Creative Studio (SFCS), which is a fashion incubation system by the government. This is to encourage and support emerging fashion designers and brands. Many Korean designers such as KYE, Low Classic and 99% is are from this program. Thankfully, we were chosen to be part of the program last year.
Has being part of the SFCS helped?
Gabriel: The SFCS has offered a studio, workspace as well as many other programs in public relations, marketing, promotion, training and consultancy. It has provided us many opportunities to access the fashion industry and interact with other designers.
Let’s talk about your fifth and current collection. What was the inspiration?
Dohbeen: This season we were inspired by the Olympics, focusing on the players’ efforts, dreams, and such. As a team ourselves, we put that mindset into the perspective of the Olympics – we believe in the spirit of fair play and are against drugs, as you can see from the “anti-doping” slogan on some of our pieces.
How does it differ from your debut collection?
Dohbeen: At the beginning, our brand was styled after technical sports, meaning we sought after functional fabrics, details, patterns, so the brand was more formal than interesting. Now, we approach the sport aspect more conceptually. This change seems to be a big step for the brand as we’ve gotten more attention from the crowd as a result.
Rappers, for example, have been spotted wearing your brand.
Jiwon: The brand is generally inspired by hip hop, so we try to understand the culture and styles of what the people in the industry like. I think that’s why many musicians, especially Beenzino, our old friend, like wearing ENZO BLUES.
What goals do you have for ENZO BLUES?
Jiwon: We give the same answer every time; we really don’t care how people categorize our brand because boundaries are always blurred. We want to have the power to influence street culture and fashion in general. On top of that, our utmost concern is not to change nor lose our originality for decades.
Alright, where can people shop some ENZO BLUES?
Gabriel: ENZO BLUES is stocked at four online stores – Musinsa, Hiphoper, 29cm, Heights – and one physical store – Henz. Even though online sales are higher than at retail stores, I think there should be some places to experience our items in physical form. We hope to stock our brand in more off-line stores to expand our brand.
This interview with ENZO BLUES has been edited and condensed.
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