Interview7

Beyond the hype // Ian Lee

OCTOBER 2008

Too much is as bad as too little. That's the rule I don't break.

Ian Lee is a 28 year old graphic designer and shop owner from Seoul, Korea. Cop some of Ian's style from his webshop, f-word.

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

My name is Wonhee Lee. (Ian is the name I made for convenience when I was in NY.) I'm a 28 year old guy from Seoul, the capital of South Korea. (Not the North one!) I have a small online store for men's clothing which named 'f-word' (for Fucking Fabulous Fashion) and I'm planning to be a commercial stylist!

What do you love about living in Seoul?

Compared to other cities, Seoul is very comfortable. I can do or buy anything in the proximity of where I live. For a procrastinator, this is the perfect city!

Seoul is also 24/7 city. I especially love its delivery services. There are many restaurants that deliver 24 hours. Even McDonalds delivers 24 hours!

What are your top 3 places to visit in Korea?

1. Korean restaurants. There is plenty of great food provided here.

2. Hongik University District. Many clubs, but more than that, so many beautiful and cozy places in every alley. It's similar to Lan Kwai Fong in HK or Tribeca in NYC.

3. Suncheon Bay. A beautiful coastal city that changes it's appearance many times throughout the day. I've never seen so red a sunset.

How would you describe the fashion scene where you live?

In Seoul, a city with a population of more than 10 million, I can see many hipsters and trendsetters in several places. People are really hypersensitive to trends. But, Seoul still needs a cultural infusion of more sources and styles.

There are many people (including myself), who still have a fear of looking different. Under the cultural and historical influence, many Korean people avoid showing themselves too openly. I think that's the difference between Seoul and the other fashion capitals of world. We need more courage!

Describe your personal style and its influences / inspiration.

Well basically, I like to have a clean look. I always try to create a look that is simple and fits well. Additionally, one or two key items would be great!

I can't tell exactly where I get influenced or inspiration. I'm not a fashion magazine subscriber and I hate to watch fashion channels. I'm inspired from what I unconsciously see everywhere, like TV, street, internet.. Yeah..internet, like LB, blogs, and web magazines. These are the places I'm inspired by mostly.

Favorite designers and places to shop?

My favorite designers are Jil Sander, Neil Barrett, and recently Phillip Lim has caught my eye. Oh and lovely Mark Jacobs for women! For shopping, department stores and Dongdaemun market, the biggest clothing market in Korea.. maybe in Asia! Since I have my online store, wholesale markets are the main place I shop. They have so many styles and are not expensive at all! Anyway, I'm not a heavy shopper and I love to go out and just look around.

The first thing you look at in another person's outfit is:

Size and harmony. If that outfit looks nice with him or her, that's the first thing.

Shoes next. I just think shoes are important to me because in Korea we don't wear shoes in the house. So shoes are the last thing you wear to complete the outfit.

What do you splurge on?

Shoes again! Thousands of shoes are not enough!

What do you skimp on?

Accessories: necklace, earring, bracelet...I feel inconvenienced with wearing accessories. However, I can endure a key accessory. I think my earring is just enough for an everyday accessory.

A fashion rule you never break:

Too much is as bad as too little. That's the rule I don't break. I love the simple and comfortable look.

Favorite color(s) of the moment:

White and gray.

What is the most underrated item in menswear and womenswear?

Socks. (Though I don't wear them much!) If you are gonna be standing all day long, don't overlook choosing your socks. As important as shoes are, so are socks. Socks could make a great look perfect.

What is your next must have purchase?

Dior Chiffre Rouge A05 Black watch, Neil Barrett leather jacket, and Eames chair.

Are there any fashion icons or famous people whose style you admire?

Justin Timberlake. He has style. Hmm..I have few on LB too: Sacha H., Achilles l., and Gustav B.

What's on your iPod / bookshelf / DVD player at the moment?

  • Music:
  • Estelle's American Boy
  • Jet's Look What You've Done
  • Sugardaddy's Love on the Attack

  • Books:
  • Adrian Shaughnessy's How To Be A Graphic Designer, Without Losing Your Soul
  • John Brockman's What Is Your Dangerous Idea?

  • DVDS:
  • THX 1138: First movie by George Lucas. My expectations were too high.
  • The Lost Boys: Masterpiece!! Killing OST!! (I heard Lost Boys 2 is out! How is it?)
  • Slither: Between an A movie and B movie.

Next place you want to travel to:

Stockholm, Sweden, Helsinki, Finland, and Singapore, Singapore. I don't know why, but people in those cities are look gorgeous. I just want to see them with my own eyes!

What is your personal favorite outfit on LOOKBOOK by you, and by another member?

By me: blue? blue!! (pictured below)
By other members: Flippa S's streetstyle, Hannah S's All My Heroes Are Dead, and Achilles I's Distressed.

What can't you live without?

My PSP. Helps me fall asleep. Also my Fuji Netura Classica. Lovely compact camera I bring with me everywhere to take photos.

What is the ultimate showpiece in your closet?

My blue jacket and my Jil Sander denim jacket.

By the year 2010, you will be what/where:

Hard working stylist in a commercial field. And I wish to live in a city near the sea with sunshine. Maybe in Spain!

What should we ask the next interviewee?

By the year 2030, you will be what/where:

What would you say to someone seeking general fashion advice?

Advice? Dress up without hesitation and try many things in many ways. LB will lead you. Anyway, I'm the one who needs some advice! Give me advice!

31 comments

show previous comments

Dani G.
I really enjoyed reading that. You seem to be a very honest and uncomplicated person, I like that. (Besides your fabolous sense for style)
Ian Lee
Danke schön!
AT MT
nice style~!!
seems to be a very fun person also :)
Ian Lee
thank you. you are cute~!
Michael J.
I highly enjoyed reading this, and your look definitely hits the mark in terms of being comfortable (mentally and physically), which I think is key.
Ian Lee
Getting older and older.. ioi.. comfortableness is the best!

Kaysee Leong
i really enjoyed this, you're defintely a style icon, and I like your looks! Do come and visit Singapore one day, it should be fun!
Ian Lee
I really really wanna visit Singapore!
Maybe one day, I'll ask you the best spots in Singapore~ :)


Kaysee Leong
hahaha, yea, you can:) my pleasure. Hope your clothing line will come to Singapore someday!
Zoë Deluge
hope you know that F-word clothing is already something a clothing line that trashy white people from southern california wear (we call them bro's) but otherwise
nice interview, always loved your outfits.
Ian Lee
Hey~
Here in Korea, there’s no way to me to know what kind of people the trashy white are and, what are they doing.. ioi
(no harm to me right?)
Anyway, thank you for saying that~

Zoë Deluge
hahaha, well I just hope people don't get the misconception because of a horrible brand. but your very welcome. :)
Monica Lee
You are one of the people that keeps me coming back to Lookbook!!
Love your style. Because of you, my expectations of how guys dress in Korea are probably way too high. ã… ã…  I'm bound to be disappointed, haha :)
Ian Lee
I bet you won't disappoint.
Have more expectation!
Do not stop to keep coming back and
post yours~
Lucas St. Louie
Very good read. Hands up.
Ian Lee
Wow!!
Thank you
I was concerning about my poor writing skills.
ioi
Lucas St. Louie
You welcome. I really enjoy reading about peeps from other parts of the world. South Korea has been fascinating me for a while. I might come visite you someday :)
reply ·
Evelyn Pratiwi Yusuf
love his style love his picture also. I think korea people are so stylish..they created their style
Ian Lee
thank you.
You make me proud of being of Korean!
Kaly !
such a stylish lad!
Ian Lee
thank you~ ! lol
Chloe A
I really loved reading this! Guys these days definitely lack fashion sense but your looks are always so clean & refreshing but very unexpected (in a good way!).
Ian Lee
thank you~
that's very kind of you :)
Amy Lee
I was so excited to see you on the homepage! You looked so familiar when a few weeks ago, I searched for any Korean lookbookers and came up with you. :) I love your style, especially since that clean-cut Asian style is really mixed with it. Definitely agree with "too much is as bad as too little," korean food, and Dongdaemun! I visited Korea in July for two weeks and we were staying in Incheon for a while, but we drove all the way back to Seoul just so I could do some more shopping. My closet was packed when I came home. $5 shirts, I couldn't resist!

Keep posting!
reply ·
Esti Choi
thank you for this wonderful article... i just wish i sold men's clothes in my store! if i did, i would buy your collection in a heartbeat! any thoughts on creating a womens collection?? :)
reply ·
Ctee T
seoul sounds bloody awesome.
this makes me want to visit korea and learn korean even more.
reply ·
Kevin Watts
Your interview was a comfortable as your clothes. Good read.
reply ·
Ario  Achda
brilliant
reply ·
Moon Kyu LEE
proud of being korean
reply ·
Anna Kim
wow I am very proud of u as korean even I did'nt do anything for u . ~ cool style!!
reply ·
L S
wow! you're a graphic designer?? ^^
when i graduate i wanna visit either Seoul or Tokyo to get some experience,
hopefully i get to though! haa! xD
reply ·
Abdulaziz Al-Qadi
iam ur bigest fan. i really like ur style :)
reply ·
K :)
im in love with ur style
i love koreans way to dress they make it cute yet gorgeuos n glamousrs :)
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