Coming from a history in menswear, South Korean-born, London-based Eudon Choi takes a masculine approach to designing women's collections. The tailoring skills he was equipped with at the start of his career pushed him to reinterpret the normal female silhouette. A business purposed jacket can have a flounce hem; an everyday trench is interchangeable; a slip gets sexy with an asymmetrical buttoned breast.
Take the designers favorite piece of his current SS’18 collection as an example; the tailored jacket but not as we know it. “It has a really interesting sleeve that can drape on the shoulder and also be worn as a cape. I capture the inspiration process in my design ethos, so the end product becomes adaptable”. That one jacket, available in three options; pink, black, and blue checks, happened to be a stand out seller for SS’18.
This design talent would mean nothing, of course, without strong business acumen and an engaged multi-brand retail network. Choi’s wholesale accounts are predominately cool-girl localised boutiques; ‘it’ retailer Alex Eagle in the UK, Glo-cal (global local) Joseph in Europe, Nevena Borissova’s Curve in USA, the reputable Al Othman in Kuwait, and many more credentialed accounts around the world. These influential regionals are scattered and Choi is acutely aware he needs to embrace commerciality to even up the ratio. “Those boutiques are cool and independent but they are not huge retailers. It would be good to collaborate on a larger scale”, says Choi of his portfolio. Despite these growing pains, Choi remains confident for the businesses future. “We are positively growing in every market, with a huge account base in Asia, particularly because I’m Korean and I know the market well. We are looking to the USA to expand, Europe and also the Middle East”. Choi’s reference to the Arab states reflect his recent travels to show at Fashion Forward, Dubai’s own fashion week. “Dubai is very international with a large expat base and an even larger tourist trade. It’s a worldwide stage and a very important market to me” he says.
Given his commercial knack and considered price point, the designer is in good stead to secure a wider-range partner. Wholesale prices are hitting the designer contemporary realm; a maximum of £330 for shirting, £360 for trousers or knitwear and jackets are under £550. Fabrications are of the highest quality with the majority sourced from Italy, and knitwear is made in Choi’s home country, South Korea. Driving consumer demand and brand awareness is at the forefront of the designer's strategy. Marketing, as any great designer recognizes, equates to consumer sales.
Choi continues to be involved in designer collaborations and calls A.W.A.K.E., J.W.Anderson, Jacquemus and Beaufille the adjacent labels he likes to sit against on the retail floor. Choi’s ‘in demand’ as a designer has seen him, this September, collaborating with John Lewis's homegrown brand, Modern Rarity, on five limited edition coats priced between £250 and £400. He has created opportunities for the business such as support from the British Fashion Council and the Fashion Trust through the Fashion Trust initiative. It seems that the designer has not only captured the inspiration process in his design ethos, but also the acumen to push to the next level and the commerciality to take the business that step further.
Eudon Choi was interviewed in Dubai at Fashion Forward. As a result of ORDRE.com’s Fashion Forward Partnership, Eudon Choi’s full collection assets can be seen on the logged in view here >