Bright L.A. Fashion Star Jiyeon Lee Designs for Shein
After working with brands such as Cult Gaia, Flynn Skye, Genetic Los Angeles and A.L.C., Los Angeles designer Jiyeon Lee is creating her own designs for Shein X, the fast-fashion e-tailer’s program that supports emerging designers. As a young, artistic girl in South Korea, Lee fell in love with fashion while visiting department stores with her mother, who remains one of her style inspirations with a unique approach to classic dressing. Other family members also remain a part of Lee’s fashion foundation.
“My mother will forever be my fashion inspiration,” Lee said. “My father often took our family to new places to enjoy art and design. Whenever I traveled to different countries with my family, I was excited to see how the [locals] dressed. My artsy sister inspires my work and fashion.”
This sister who inspired Lee to pursue fashion also piqued the designer’s interest in moving to Los Angeles. During a visit to see her sibling, who was living in Los Angeles, Lee felt a sense of comfort, allured by its style, art scene and nature.
“I recently read a Korean book called ‘I Still Don't Know About Myself’ by Huh Ji Won and a poem called ‘Pillow Thoughts’ by Courtney Peppernell. The latter inspired me to design something that would bring out a beautiful, vulnerable, and feminine side in people,” Lee said. “My real goal is to keep being inspired and making my work meaningful.”
Lee pursued her education at the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising, graduating from the school’s fashion-design program in 2014 and attaining a bachelor’s degree in business management in 2015. Now a designer with the China-based e-commerce retailer, Lee was invited to join the brand’s Shein Original Design Project, where she developed her Shein X Ji Yeon Lee collection.
“The most recent project collection is called New Year, New You and showcases fresh, unique and fun designs,” Lee explained. “I just finished my two latest collections one week ago called the Summer of Innocence Collection and the Summer Sunshine Collection, which are launching in June. I am also working on two other collections called the On the Road Collection and the Summer Sunsets Collection, which will launch in May.”
Developing the Summer of Innocence Collection, Lee took her textiles inspiration from pottery, positioning these materials against delicate details that the designer created after seeing a print reflecting the innocence within the ancient Greek tale of “Daphnis and Chloe.” She found these details in materials such as heart trims and cutouts, pearls and bows. In addition, working nonstop, Lee is also building her concept for a pre-Fall 2021 collection for the Shein Original Design Project, which will be unveiled in August.
“My work challenges conventions regarding design philosophy, design values, styles, silhouettes, lines, prints, trims, construction, colors, fabrics and textures,” Lee said. “Everyone can be unique based on how they express, treat and feel about themselves. No one can define you or your self-esteem—only you can. Thus, I want to empower people to be unique, rare, bold and beautifully express themselves.”