Drapers hears from London Fashion Week favourite, womenswear designer Eudon Choi about his life in fashion.
Korean-born Eudon Choi founded his eponymous womenswear brand in 2010, and has since become a stalwart of London Fashion Week. Choi’s style is sophisticated yet daring, with tailored items and outerwear a consistent highlight in his collections. Wholesale prices for the brand range from £115 for bags to £770 for coats and the brand has 38 stockists worldwide, including Harvey Nichols and Fenwick in the UK.
In 2017, Choi collaborated with John Lewis on its Modern Rarity range.
What is the first thing you do when you get up in the morning?
I like to get up early and take my time in the morning. It’s a time when I do a lot of my thinking and planning. I have also just started watching yoga videos on YouTube and am trying to get a quick morning stretch in. I also drink warm water with fresh lemon juice every day, as I have heard that it is really good for you.
What was your first job?
I was a bit naive and never worked in any part time job while studying. After my master’s [at Yonsei University in Seoul] I went straight into the fashion industry in Korea. My first job was as an assistant designer at a brand called Time Menswear. I was a junior member of staff, but I learnt so much about tailoring, which I still use today.
How would you describe the brand in one sentence?
Eudon Choi creates strong yet elegant womenswear from classic tailored shapes.
What’s your coffee (or tea) order?
Lately I have really been enjoying oat milk flat whites.
Where are your favourite places to shop?
I love going to Dover Street Market and E Tautz. I covet so many things from the moment I walk into the store.
Last fashion purchase?
My last purchase was an oversized Jil Sander coat. I bought it because it is perfect for the weather when it is both sunny and chilly. I also bought a great oversized Margaret Howell mackintosh.
Emails or phone calls?
Both! I love following up with a phone call after an email. Koreans are known for being impatient and I think that many people would associate me with being a chaser! I don’t like leaving things unanswered.
Most important lesson you’ve learned during your career?
If you make pieces that you love and are really proud of, then people will like it too.
What would be your ideal office/meeting space?
I love my current studio. We are based in the Haggerston/De Beauvoir area. It is walking distance from my home, which means that I can walk my dog Barney to work in the mornings. De Beauvoir is really beautifully and I have grown very fond of it. If I could change anything I would make my studio four times bigger than it is now.
We have a really cute mid-century modern table in a communal area in the building, so it is perfect for a meeting. But if I have to take someone out for meeting, there is nice new juice bar on Southgate Road called The Cure. It is healthy and bright with lots of positive energy. Otherwise, I love Nopi for a breakfast meeting if it has to be central. If I need to do a meeting or an interview at the weekend I love going to Ottolenghi on Upper Street.
What’s your favourite part of the creative process?
Oh, every process is quite painful. It is agony of creating something. But I also enjoy every part of the process: from searching for inspiration – this part is quite hard – deciding fabric and colours, designing, and making patterns. My favourite part of the process might be when we put the looks together and create something a bit more than what we had initially imagined. I love that at the very last moment everything comes together.
What has been your proudest moment since you joined the brand/launched?
I am proud every single day that we are still here. The fashion industry is incredibly hard and you have got to just keep driving forward.
What’s the last book you read?
Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying. I am obsessed with her method. It has resulted in a lot of decluttering at both my studio and my home.
I actually didn’t take a proper holiday last year as work was crazy and I was moving to a new house. I did manage to escape to Barcelona for a long weekend. This year I am planning to take a longer break. I am going to Mexico for two weeks, which I am very excited about.
Who in the fashion/retail industry inspires you?
Livia Firth, who is co-founder and creative director of [sustainability consultancy] Eco-Age. I feel passionate about sustainability and I was really inspired by her when I went to her Earth Day talk in April.
What’s the biggest challenge facing fashion today?
Currently there is a great conversation going on about sustainability in the fashion industry. We try our best to reduce waste in studio and would like to continue this practice as our brand continues to grow.
We are a small brand with careful distribution – all our collections are made to order. I would hope that people’s attitudes towards clothing would change and begin to invest in pieces that will last a lifetime instead of throwing them away. That’s where our brand values lie.
One piece of advice would you give your younger self?
Go out and party more when you are younger and have the energy. Life is too short.
Who do you turn to when you need advice?
I am quite extroverted and wear my heart on my sleeve – therefore it is difficult for me to hide emotions. When I need advice, I tend to turn to many different people to get multiple opinions, which can of course get a bit confusing!
What would we find you doing at the weekend?
My partner and I just moved into our new home last October and now that the decorating is nearly done I love staying in at the weekends. Work can be very hectic so I like taking the weekends to relax. If I feel like getting out, I might head out to Columbia Road Flower Market.
What are you looking forward to most in the year ahead?
I am really excited for my trip to Mexico in the summer and then Australia for Christmas. I also cannot wait to have the first barbecue in our new garden once the weather allows.