We had the good fortune of connecting with Subin Hahn and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Subin, what do you think makes you most happy? Why?
Nothing makes me happier than seeing people wearing my clothes. It gives me real joy and a feeling of validation for me as a fashion designer when people purchase my items or stylists send me images of their clients wearing my designs at events or magazine editorials. It’s such a motivation for me to keep being creative.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
The fashion collection I design is called “Fluidwear”. It is different from the usual unisex fashion in the sense that it offers more diverse styles and allows audiences to explore freely by challenging themselves to interpret what fluidity means in fashion. The concept of unisex and gender-neutral fashion, in general, offers a very limited amount of styles, such as basic t-shirts and sweatshirts. Fluidwear aims to create not only diverse styles of items but also experiments with juxtaposing commercial fashion and the artistic side of fashion. Many fashion brands have two or more separate lines for their high-end and commercial collections but I find it more interesting to have them both exist in one collection and experiment with different styling. From a legal perspective, fashion isn’t fine art; however, that doesn’t mean that I can’t interpret or explore fashion in a more artistic way, and that’s why many designers create pieces that are purely impractical yet push the envelope of what clothing can be to express their imagination. The commercial or practical side of fashion does not define fashion as a whole and is only a part of what fashion design is, and to me, that’s the beauty of creating a melting pot of high and low, luxury and casual, and artistic and commercial aspects of fashion as it reflects contemporary fashion better by being much more democratic and inclusive.
I think the biggest challenge as a sole proprietor is that I have to figure out most things on my own, whether it be design, product development, marketing, and many other aspects of running a business. However, I feel rather liberating since I can do whatever I want without the need for approval from anyone else. When you work in a corporate office, there is a bunch of things that you can’t and shouldn’t do, and sometimes even presenting ideas isn’t easy as it’s mostly reserved for higher-level positions, so being able to create, explore and test out things the way I want is both challenging but freeing and rewarding as I run my brand independently.
My brand advocates for diversity, freedom, and equality of choice. I can’t say I have figured everything out perfectly and there are tons of things I could be better at when it comes to designs and product development but I really enjoy the process of developing my brand slowly without a rush. “Fluidwear” is my lifelong project. I’m not doing it just for fun or solely for the profit so slowly building and reinventing “Fluidwear” is more important than having an overnight success, and I wish more people to be inspired by the fashion that I create in hopes of making contemporary fashion industry richer and fuller in representation.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I am very thankful for the people who saw my talent in art. My mom and my elementary school art teacher helped me to develop my interest in art and design growing up, which led me to come to New York and study fashion to realize my dream of being a designer. At Parsons, I was blessed to meet many professionals in both fine arts and fashion. I am especially grateful for Ronnie and Margaret who introduced me into the world of reportage drawings, illustrations, and life drawings, as well as Marie and Sarah who supported and guided me throughout my senior year with lots of encouragement and faith in my design process. I also want to thank Maggie, Anna, Trevor, and Claire who I worked with at Marc Jacobs. I learned a lot from them designing many different collections and am very grateful that I crossed paths with these amazing creatives in my career.