Friday, 22 April 2011

Désir du jour - Yeojin Bae

Australian designer Yeojin Bae was born to be in fashion. After negotiating her way into a degree at Sydney's Whitehouse Institute of Design when she was 15 when the minimum age was 16, Bae went on to work with Marc Jacobs and Anna Sui in New York, and Charlie Brown, Marcs and Saba in Australia, before starting her namesake label in 2006.

In 2007, she won the Tiffany & Co Young Designer for the Year Award, and in that same year, Bae was selected for a Designers for Target collaboration which introduced her label to a new audience.

Jess Hart in one of Yeojin Bae's
statement dresses
Unlike most designers who have a shows early on in their careers, Bae has made the conscious decision to build her label first before having her first show at Rosemount Australian Fashion Week this May.

Taking the time to build her label and develop as a designer has paid off for Bae. Bae's designs are stocked in over 90 stockists globally, including Barneys and Henri Bendel in New York, Harvey Nichols in Dubai, Matches in London, and Myer in Australia. Bae's label is regularly seen on Australian It-girls Jess Hart, Lara Bingle and Jodi Gordon.

Bae's first sale to Barneys was unique to say the least! Two months after launching her label, Bae flew to Europe with her sample collection to meet with agents and distributors. Not ready to give up after numerous emails to buyers went unanswered, Bae took a risk and called Barney's vice president and head of buying at the youth-oriented Co-op stores after a friend passed on his number to her. After arranging a 15 minute meeting to show him her designs, Bae walked away with an order for 6 stores. Before the orders had even arrived in New York, Barneys increased their order to 16 stores.

Silk Shantung Cuff Pant in Shiraz
What seemed like a risky strategy was actually well planned out. Bae had been travelling 3 times a year for a decade, analysing each market to determine the price point of her collection, and how to set her pieces apart from other designers.

With Bae's much anticipated SS11 collection soon to be released, Bae has indicated that she has "been exploring modern lingerie . Not frothed and lacy, but more graphic and lineal."

The tailoring on Bae's pieces are second to none. The lines are cuts are carefully designed to compliment the wearer's figure. Already the owner of a Yeojin Bae suit (one of many Yeojin Bae pieces I own!), I fell in love with these Silk Shantung Cuff Pants. The beautiful rich shiraz colour and flattering tapered leg are a modern twist to a wardrobe classic. Available at Yeojin Bae's online store for $450, they would be the standout piece of any outfit.

In a tough industry, I admire Bae's dedication to perfection. She has taken her time to ensure that she is ready for every opportunity she undertakes. With a lot of designers taking a short term view to business, Bae is clearly in it for the long haul. With her talent and determination, I have no doubt she will have a long and successful career in the fashion industry.

Information sourced from and Grazia - 2 May 2011
Images from and

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