8CUFF is based between Shanghai and Hong Kong. Sue Suh was born in Seoul, Soth Korea, and rasied in Shanghai, China. The work is sport-lux streetwear, inspired by social issues. Suh was the one of ten finalists chosen to present her collection at the Raffles House Show at Hong Kong Fashion Week (July 2014) and was the winner of ‘Brand Ready Award’ and ‘Collection of the Year Award’. Sue Suh has been recognised for her talent featured in many press and was selected one of two hundred emerging desginers announced by Vogue Talents on Vogue Italia (September 2014), and also as a finalist in Mittelmoda 2015.
Tell us a bit about yourself and what you do. I was born in Seoul, grew up in Shanghai from 9, after graduation went to business school in Seoul, dropped out after 3 years and went back to Shanghai. I opened a bar and a waffle house, started studying fashion design, while I was working and switched jobs as a menswear designer when I moved to Hong Kong. My label is called 8CUFF, and the work is sports luxe inspired by social issue.
Top 3 favourite or most visited websites and why? To be honest, Facebook, and I blocked a long list of friends who just post selfies of themeselves. I use the app mostly to check all the funny, cute, interesting things I can check just by scrolling down, so I can tell you which my favourite pages, I follow through Facebook.
What kinds of things are influencing your work right now? I can say that fucked up people or fucked up situations intrigue me, and it gets me thinking. I question myself about the issue, the reason, the meaning behind, the consequences, the idea behind, and try to twist the plot. For my collection, I try to focus on the facts and the different point of view, and the point of making this collection based on the issue is not to disagree with someone or to praise someone. I have a quote Codemn/Condone that I put in my design, which also ineterpret my opinion on the social issues.
What do you want a viewer to walk awy with after experiencing your work? To think about it; I would love to hear their own way of thinking on inspiration of what I provided; that will make me feel like I did a good job.
Can you share one of the best or worst reactions you haven gotten as a result of your work? 2015 FW collection: I was inspired by the graphic novel called ‘Watchmen’; the basic story line is six heroes fighting for their own meaning of justice and their mission is to watch over humanity, but who watches the Watchmen? The kind of plite related my vision in the fashion world, the well- know designer’s plagiarism, wealthy company’s immorality, and the unfair structure of the fashion industry.
I portrayed those existing people placed in higher position that had criminal records such as a teacher who fell in love with the student, detective who killed someone, president and politican who was involved in financial scandal, and the a pope who molested the kids, and I gave the blurred graphic as a message.
One of my digital printing technicians lectured me on my print for a few minutes, telling me that this is not beautiful but rather hideous. It’s wrong to print and question me; what would people think about this wrong graphic.
The other good experience was during a showroom exhibition in Paris. I had an interesting discussion with a lady pointing out different people from the politician print, which was exactly what I wanted people to think. It is a identical print but people can imagine anyone else, who could also be corrupted.
What are some recent, upcoming, or current projects you are working on? I used to go to my grandfathers house every time I went back to Korea. His place is located near the border of North Korea, where you could hear their propaganda every morning and afternoon. Since then, I have been always attracted and curious abut North Korea.
And my upcoming project is about North Korea, the collection is inspired by the North Korean patriot views of the citizen.
What’s your absolute favorite place in the world to be? I loved Formentera. My friends and I cycled all the islands, the water is clear, the sand is white, and the sunset is beautiful. Every single place was a picturesque landscape, it was such a relaxing memory, and I need that very soon.
How long have you lived in Hong Kong and what brought you there? I came to Hong Kong two years ago because it was my last year of design school in Shanghai. In order to complete the degree, I had to transfer to Singapore, Sidney or Hong Kong. I chose Hong Kong, which is a 2.5 hour flight away from Shanghai, because I was managing a waffle house and a small bar at the time. At some point, I found myself more excited with fashion deisgn and the lifestyle in Hong Kong.
How has living in Hong Kong affected your work? Hong Kong is literally a concrete jungle; one side of Hong Kong has a full stack of buildings and the other side of the island you can find a peaceful beach. Hong Kong is one of the densest cities in the world, which also means it has diversity. When I first came to Hong Kong, I set down and observed people, which was a really captivating moment and then you realize the diversity of the city is so beautiful.
Hong Kong definitely affected my work. Hong Kong’s fabric markets are very organized and resourceful. Since there is Guangzhou (the biggest industrical manufacturing city in China) next door, I can find a lot of new materials and media that could interpret my inspirations. Of course, it is a lot of extra work but when I find the right factory where they make the samples I want, I do not have to limit my collection.
Where do you plan to travel next? I plan to go to Seoul next. I need to go buy new fabrics and some much needed family time!