KANGHYUK was founded in 2017 by Kanghyuk Choi and Sanglak Shon, two South Korean designers who learned their trade at the Royal College of Art in London. The brand went on to receive a nomination for this year’s LVMH prize and create installations at the legendary Los Angeles boutique H.lorenzo, the Comme des Garçons Trading Museum in Paris, and Dover Street Market in London – and earned a cult following along the way.

Their sixth collection features clothing made from recycled car airbags. Although the silhouettes are classic, the unusual material and sewing techniques wouldn’t look out of place on a spaceship: technical stamping and white stitching on playfully deconstructed protective layering and padding. Like the early astronauts they evoke, these garments seem at once DIY and futuristic, somehow both ephemeral and sturdy.

Last month the duo released the SRS Sole Fury for Reebok’s Advanced Concepts line. Each sneaker was fitted with three layers of airbag material, haphazardly hand-stitched, resulting in a unique pattern for each cloudlike shoe. I spoke with Kanghyuk Choi and Sanglak Shon about artificial worlds, Seoul versus London, and sustainable design.

JOAN LEE: You recently sculpted a humanoid from bolts and scrap metal at the CDG Trading Museum. What interests you about robots?

KANGHYUK: Our design process focuses on using materials in their purest form, while looking at prevalent tastes in mass production. We are mainly interested in man-made materials and like to use them to project an artificial world. 

The installations we did at H.lorenzo, Trading Museum Paris and Dover Street Market London are a series of artificial creatures. For example, at Trading Museum Comme des Garçons, we created hundreds of roses using airbag materials and two robot dogs made out of metal parts from sewing machines and door mechanisms.

How have the differences between Seoul and London emerged in your work? In what ways does each city speak to you?

We both studied at the Royal College of Art in London. The London energy, its cultural diversity and flexibility helped us to build design ideas more freely and know who we are. 

Seoul is very industrial and familiar. Our background helped us to build general business assets and to focus on handling things such as finance, production, and business management. You can easily find very handy and crafty people all around the city, and all processes are done ASAP. This helps when running a fashion business.

The world is changing rapidly – climate change, urbanization, and political conflict are major issues today. How does this translate into your designs?

We always think about these matters. We consider the beauty of artificial fabrics. For our roses, we sourced unused airbags from different parts of the world, then manually extracted the oxygen metal chambers. From there we picked the fabric apart by hand and tried to use the original patterns of the fabric as they were, utilizing a computerized process to jigsaw the pieces together. It was a kind of recycling process.




    What are the best non-physical landfills for discarded thought? Do waves transition between naturally occurring substrates and audio signals? Does adrenal fatigue and replenishment in the human brain relate to cycles of euphoria and dysphoria in music? What is the mental effect of visual versus aural repetition? Is all music fictional? Can the language of objects and memories impregnate sound? Are bodies out of fashion? What is the music production equivalent to a green screen in film? What is the best non-physical preservation method for sound? Is film editing a way of ordering memories? Is repetition therapeutic? Are all films fictional? Have physical forms slipped into obsolescence? Did Erik Satie have an anxiety disorder? Is background music parasympathetic? Are physical players more virtuosic than virtual instruments? Is thought finite? Is physical music a fetish? Is reality fictional? What is the most elegant way to float between corporeal and ethereal forms? Do memories deteriorate and fade like audio signals exposed to the elements?More
  • 032c Cosmic Workshop Collection

    032c COSMIC WORKSHOP 'Omen' Hoodie

    Buy Now
  • Dev Hynes Collaborates with OAMC and Adidas on a Capsule Collection

    Under the music moniker Blood Orange, Devonté Hynes has spent the last decade softening the strident ego of mainstream pop with the wistful jazz and new wave tones, as well as musings on identity, belonging, and vulnerability, on albums such as Cupid Deluxe or Negro Swan. Singer, songwriter, producer, and director Hynes, who goes by Dev, brings his solitary sensibility to his other projects, too – whether scoring films and fashion shows, collaboration with visual artists, or, more recently, starring as the face of a capsule collaboration between adidas and OAMC, a menswear label founded by Luke Meier and Arnaud Faeh in 2013.More
  • 032c Cosmic Workshop Collection

    032c COSMIC WORKSHOP 'Morning' Triangle Puffer Scarf

  • New Arrivals

    Buffalo by 032c Jodhpur Ankle Boot White

    Buy Now