With the launch of the popular “Boris bikes” and the creation of cycle superhighways, cycling in London has become more popular than ever amongst the capital’s commuters, tourists and those that just like to zip about. With this increase in cyclists and the dark evenings now upon us, road safety, as always, is a huge concern to everyone. However, no one can deny that the dayglow yellow jackets and glow in the dark stripes flashing before your eyes are hardly worthy of the catwalk…until now.
PHOIBE is a new range of female cycle clothing and accessories, designed to be both fashionable, practical and highly visible. The creative brain behind the brand is Korean Central Saint Martins alumna June HyeonJeong JI.
What made you decide to come to London to study at Central Saint Martins?
I wanted to broaden my experience by studying in London and chose St. Martins for its reputation as one of the most prestigious schools for Art and Design.
What did you learn from the Applied Imagination in the Creative Industries course?
I learned various approaches to particular challenges working alongside a diverse group of students from all professional backgrounds. Through the development of my own project, I was given space to design freely and take creative ‘risks’.
What was the best experience you had while you were at UAL?
Ultimately, it was working alongside hugely talented students and being inspired by their level of creativity and professionalism. I also really enjoyed the move to the new school building which was completed during my second semester.
What advice would you give to international students moving to London for the first time?
Go for it! It’s great fun studying and living in London.
What have you been doing since graduation?
I have been working in a fashion company in Korea as their chief designer as well as doing some lecturing on design at a University in Seoul. Recently, I have returned to London to showcase my new range of cycle clothing and accessories at SPIN LONDON. I’m very excited about this new range of fashionable high-visibility wear which will be launching in 2015 under the name PHOIBE. This has grown out of work I started doing for my masters at UAL in 2011.
Tell us about PHOIBE. What made you put cycling safety at the forefront of your designs?
As a women cyclist who enjoys fashion, I am aware of the importance of road safety-wear, but wanted to bridge the gap between practical and fashionable clothing, as many items on the market seem to be either one or the other. Having talked to a lot of women cyclists, I realise that I am not alone in wanting a product that offers both safety and also looks good!
Were you excited about returning to London to take part in Spin (a mini-festival celebrating everything around urban cycling offers the perfect shopping experience for all those that love cycling, fashion and design)?
Absolutely – I love London and the chance to get feedback on my designs from customers and professionals in my field is invaluable.
Korea is home to our second largest group of alumni and we were thrilled to have hosted a special alumni event in Seoul recently. What are some of your favourite places in Seoul?
Do you keep in contact with any fellow UAL graduates?
Yes, I try to stay in contact with students in my year as often as time allows.
Who/what inspires you?
I get general inspiration from visiting museums and galleries, travelling and meeting new people.
What’s next for you?
I’m planning to launch PHOIBE in the first half of 2015 so will be setting up the business side of things whilst also working on new designs to increase the product range. I will also continue my lecturing in design at the University in Seoul, plus I am looking into the possibility of doing a PhD in Fashion and Design – 2015 is likely to be a busy year for me!