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Creative Directors, Working in All Directions - Art, Fashion, and Culture - Interview with Creative Director Hyo Jin Jeon

  • [등록일]2017-02-17
  • [조회] 782

Creative directors are often compared to conductors in an orchestra. Creative directors are like conductors, who don’t look at the performances of individual instruments, but at the entire performance as a whole. They are often seen in not just the advertisement industry but in the art, fashion, and cultural industries. But what is a creative director’s job, and how it different from other occupations? Hyo Jin Jeon is a creative director who followed her dream, finding inspiration from a fashion magazine handed to her by a friend. She has since expanded her sphere of influence from fashion to film and to exhibits. She agreed to an interview for the readers of



Q. Hello. Please introduce and explain the job of a creative director for us.

In a nutshell, a creative director is a person who plans a brand. If we’re talking about the fashion industry, which I’ve mainly been a part of, a creative director would determine the nature and concept that fits the target customer. We need to find the right clothing from various clothes and factories to create a viable brand. We also collect data to offer it in a magazine format. You can think of us as being the director of the brand from the start to the end.


Q. Sounds like it’s not an overstatement to say that a brand is defined by its creative director. You meet various people in doing your work?were there any difficulties in communicating with these people?

People in the fashion industry are often depicted as sharp and sensitive, and the public accept this as attractive qualities. In real life, though, dealing with people with those kinds of personalities is almost impossible. Because getting acceptance and support from people is the basis of our work, we must be the ones to approach people first and persuade them. Building a relationship of trust with someone in the industry eventually becomes incredibly helpful later. I realize the importance of communication skills whenever I reach a higher place in my career since it was made possible through building and maintaining strong relationships with people.


Q. What led you to work in the fashion industry?

I first got into fashion through a magazine my friend gave me during a school self-study session at night. It was , and the cover page featured Uma Thurman in a blue dress. I loved to write, and each page of the magazine was a mixture of writing, drawings, and photos that showed me a new world. I read and read that magazine until I memorized the whole thing. I then went on to study fashion in college. As I had this strong dream to become a fashion magazine director, I didn’t have much interest in school, which was obvious. Instead, I read all the fashion magazines that were out during that time to develop my qualities as a journalist.

Then in 2002, I heard the news that was launching , targeting the youth. I sent in my resume and began my career as an assistant in the fashion industry. The industry was very different than what I imagined through the magazines I read. Because there are many clothes an assistant has to find in photoshoots or interviews, keeping track of all companies’ numbers and locations was the most difficult part for me. I was clumsy at first, but since I had so much passion, I wanted to establish myself faster than anyone else. I memorized each and every street in Cheong Dam district as well as phone numbers. As I worked very hard, and my superiors gave me at least one more task to do than the other assistants. Thanks to that, I easily got recognition for my work and earned a chance to work as an intern editor. After a year, I became an official journalist.


Q. Have you ever thought about working in another vocation after working in this field for so long?

I’ve gone through various changes, but I’ve never left the fashion industry. I worked for for 14 years as soon as I graduated from college, and since it was a magazine that targeted the youth, the work really made me happy. But as I got older, my thoughts and tastes changed a lot. I wanted to deal with more modern and mature materials rather than girly topics. Eventually, I left , travelling and writing about my journeys in a book to accumulate experience.

I also worked as a stylist for actor Min Hee Kim. I was in charge of styling, depending on her schedule for acting, commercials, etc., but since I was directing just one actor rather than considering and planning the overall whole as I did as a magazine editor, I felt like something was missing. As a result, I returned to the magazine industry to join another magazine team. Once, I created a platform that combined magazine and commerce and tried making Men’s fashion magazines. Since I tried to start new things rather than working in existing fields, I don’t think I’ve ever felt bored. 


Pictures from a mentoring session held last month in Indonesia, ‘Global Fashion Mentorship’


Q. Fashion has now become a proud part of hallyu. What do you think about Korean fashion that is spreading through the globe, beyond just Asia?

It’s true that Korean fashion is popular. We have great talent and products, but we are still at a stage where a system is required to support the growth of our market to commercially compete with advanced countries like France, the U.S., Italy, and England. 

For instance, Seoul Fashion Week is receiving good reviews from abroad, but it’s still lacking in the sense that it opens at a point when all major fashion weeks have closed in Paris, New York, London, and Milan. This is because the buyers have finished shopping in previous fashion weeks and just come to Seoul Fashion Week to simply enjoy the show. A system that helps designers who come up with great products for a brand to earn the right amount of money is necessary. When supporting new designers for London Fashion Week, editors, creative directors, and famous designers give advice about the product and how to actually “sell” it. This creates a virtuous cycle by helping them set the right direction. This helps the new designers grow, which then increases the market size and quality. This creates mutual benefits. For fashion to grow “commercially” from simply being art, the support for new designers is absolutely necessary. 


Q. What do you think are the necessary qualities to work in fashion as a creative director, magazine editor, stylist, etc.?

This would apply to all careers, but you need to continue to think about how you can do your job better, and not simply follow what has been done before. Do not settle for jobs that your superiors set for you. Use whatever you’ve learned as a basis to find that special “job” that only you can do. To anyone who wants to work in fashion, you should ask yourself this: have you ever put much effort to do a job that you would be proud of showing to anyone else? Making a brand of yourself?being acknowledged that “X is especially good at doing X”?is the most important thing you can do to succeed in the fashion industry.



  • name  : Jieun Lee
  • profile : Editor of webzine 'Hallyu Story'