Lemeteque Flowing Freedom
Designs leading the path of self-sovereignty
“Fashion is all about appearance, fashion sets for people unachievable standards, fashion is shallow, and it does not bring anything positive to the society…”: these are all familiar statements that I tend to hear more often than not. Many people seem to identify fashion as something negative, just another way to create separation and to generate an income, but as an insider working in this field I beg to differ; there is another variable to add to this equation.
Fashion is not just about selling clothes or creating trends – if you pay close attention, you might be able to appreciate another shade to the game: the art, the inspiration, the love and passion of creators and designers in this field, but over all the desire and the space for a creative outlet for expression. This expression is not only for the freedom of the creators but it is often for the freedom of others.
It is not unusual to see designers criticise or support social issues and even life philosophies through their personal form of self-expression. This quest for liberation was particularly strong in one of the designers and brands that we had the pleasure to watch during this past fashion week edition.
Lemeteque, a brand that, under designer Park Sung Il, wishes to create clothes that might “not be for everyone, but [are] for those who aspire to achieve freedom.”
The sky’s the limit
Designer Park started to develop an interest in fashion and design as a child, and now he designs in the hopes of creating and achieving “youth and freedom.” Once a young kid that enjoyed dressing differently and making himself a character by searching and combining different pieces and ornaments, he ended up naturally falling into fashion.
“Out of that interest I majored in fashion design in university and now I aim to encourage youth and freedom with my designs because, as Mary Quant once said, I also believe young generations are making the fashion.”
This designer strongly believes that fashion can embody and enhance the power of youth, but he also concludes that youth “does not have to be limited to being young.” As he considers youth to also be about questioning yourself and facing challenges, something that is quite common while people are young but which is ultimately a life-long path.
It is a path that we should probably all continue walking for as long as we live because, if we do not challenge ourselves, we will never be free. And as designer Park explained: “Challenge is at the end of the day just another word for freedom.”
Liberty at your fingertips
“Faith in oneself, material freedom, perhaps an unredeemed life, even a slightly non-responsible life. I think I am free to do things with my own beliefs and thoughts maybe more than others, because I believe that pursuing freedom has a special meaning in life.”
With these words, designer Park Sung Il explains how he does not wish to follow or create trends, nor does he have a punctilious image that he wants people to associate with his creations; he just wishes for the people that wear Lemeteque or come across the brand to stay true to themselves. “I just want you to be yourself when you look at yourself in the mirror. I want you to see yourself as you are, not through someone else´s eyes.”
A strong wish to challenge the norm on the quest for self acceptance is something that he embodies in his collection, starting with the designs, to the patterns and the energy and even the walk of the chosen models on the runway. It is reinforced also by his favored material, silk, with which he aspires to combine the “original story of silk” with his “free spirited ideals.”
Silk can represent opulence and luxury but also tell a powerful story, one of change, renaissance, and liberty, just like a caterpillar that created his own cocoon and can finally fly away as a butterfly owning his freedom. Silk, with its beautiful movement that flows almost as if it were water, was without a doubt a fitting choice of material for a brand like Lemeteque, which wishes to embody change and liberation.
Silk made social
This season, Park Sung Il wanted to convey yet another message through the use of silk, this time shedding light on recent cultural issues that had been raised in Korea. Silk helps to represent “the rich brothers in the neighbourhood.”
“People who suddenly become wealthy tend to be referred to as ‘old people’ in Korea, because generally people who become wealthy quite suddenly are perceived as people who do not have a personal character. Lately, new rich and young entertainers have become a big issue here. I was saddened by the implications, since they participated in bad experiences including ‘sex entertainment’ and ‘drugs.’ In other words, it seems like a clear message was being sent: this is what Young and Rich people are about. And I wanted to portray that persona, the we are “Young and Rich” and we have a temperamental character.”
When asked about his inspiration and the reason why his concept looks so different from most Korean designers, Park replied that he wishes to focus on the concept of the brand, not only on fashion. Though he does not tend to follow mainstream fashion, he always pays attention to social issues.
“It is not a trend of fashion. Korea is a sensitive country and I wanted to show enough of the issues that have been going on in society this season. Which right now, for me, is the spiritual problem that a big part of the younger generation is missing. That is why I chose to close the show with the outfit of a monk, wearing all black. A final message in which I wanted to express that just being gorgeous is not important.”
We are all strangers on the streets
For designer Park Sung Il Lemeteque is now a playground, a starting point where he and Lemeteque´s team can improve together. “My ultimate goal is to work as a fashion designer in Paris. The idea of a young Asian designer´s thoughts, struggling as a stranger in the Parisian fashion scene, that to me is a “lemeteque” itself.
The name of the brand was inspired by French singer Georges Mastaki’s song “Le métèque,” a song that speaks about that feeling of not belonging, the feeling of almost strangeness as it narrates the life of being an outcast, a “métèque” (a strong french word that describes immigrants of a certain origin).
“Lemeteque for me means a stranger. I am not original. I just express everything I have seen and felt in the category of fashion. Everything I see and feel could be something different from others, but it could also be similar to what someone else sees and feels.”
Park describes himself as just another person who expresses the viewpoint of someone that looks at society. A person to which dreams and aspirations remain as challenges. A designer happy to spend time and be with family, friends, and good people but also someone that, like his childhood self, wishes to become a different character as a designer.
“As a person, I am a someone who is very familiar with society, but as a designer I want to be a stranger.” @lemeteque.headquart
Editor: Lorena Jiménez
For: Groove Magazine June Issue
That was all for today on Lemeteque from Seoul Fashion Week FW Generation Next new talents, if you are curious, here you can always check some more of my printed articles.