We adore Rejina Pyo’s creative approach to clothes. The bold colours, sculptural styles and unconventional textures of the Korean-born, London-based designer’s eponymous brand capture her artistic personality in a relatable way that women can wear every day. So transforming hand-painted prints from her womenswear creations into unexpected but elegant desk designs is something we’re very excited about.
To celebrate the launch of the perfect capsule collection for any paper person, we caught up with Rejina at her home. She tells us about how her love for stationery has taken her from childhood sketchbook to catwalk silhouettes.
On her early days
From what my parents say, I always drew clothes and dresses. I remember finding Mum's sketchbook, with really beautiful pencil drawings, and I just wanted to draw like that. I think I was 6 or 7 and wasn’t able to. My mum would always hide it and I'd find it again!
She was also a designer and used to make a lot of clothes for me. We had lots of fabrics around the house and I'd wrap them around me and walk down the living room like it was an haute couture dress.
I think I was unstoppable because [I knew that] I would always do something related to fashion and eventually she taught me how to sew. I remember making my first dress. It was a check fabric. I was really careful about trying to match the check patterns on the side seam.
I persuaded my parents to let me go to art school. At first, they said “no, no” but in the end they said yes. But still through my university days, they were like “are you sure about this?”, every day. Maybe that makes you more passionate. Maybe if you are pushed to do it, maybe then you're more reluctant to do it. Now they're happy!
On being a designer
I aim to distill conceptual ideas into distinct but wearable products. When I started, I really felt like there was a huge gap between what was showing in fashion week and what people were wearing. Women these days, they're so busy. They work, they're mums, they go to events – so many things to do. For me, I think it's catering to these real women, paying respect to them. Because we can't just all make clothes that are so far from reality. Who's going to dress these women? When they want something exciting and interesting in their life that they just easily put on and feel fantastic and be ready for the day.
On putting pen to paper
Notebooks to me, they’re somewhere I can offload my mind – which is very important. And somewhere that I can write memories that are going to be the fondest thing in years’ time.
I’ve kept all the old notebooks from my school days. I was moving house actually and that's the time when you look back – it was amazing. It's a bit like a time machine, all the things that you forgot about. What was important to you then, which is kind of part of yourself now, but you forget how you change over time, how you mature. Everything is digitised these days. People say “oh, you can easily search your things, you make notes on your phone and laptop”, but you never actually really have the opportunity to look through them properly. So I still love using physical notebooks to make notes.
I try to do morning pages every morning. [Where you write 3 full pages of whatever is in your head, first thing in the morning.] I was reading this book called The Artist's Way and they were saying how important it is. First thing when you wake up, your subconscious is there and you're like between the bridge. When you just feel overwhelmed or you've got so much to do or things that worry you, you just start writing. It's like verbal diarrhoea in a way! You just let it out and you feel so much more clearer in your head. So that's like one book, then the other is a diary for planning out my day-to-day tasks.
And then I have another book for my children. My son is five years’ old, and I have a girl who’s five months’ old who can't speak yet. For my son, he just comes out with the most wonderful, ridiculous, creative things imaginable. When you are in that moment I'm like wow and then you forget so easily because also you're busy, so I like to write them down and look back and one day I'd like to show it to him. Just hand it to him.
On transforming fashion into stationery
Designing stationery with our brand aesthetic was so much fun. I am really interested in people's everyday lives beyond just fashion or what they're wearing. It's kind of a wonderful thing to be involved in their everyday life in a different format. It could have been clothing, or shoes or bags, then now as a brand we're going to live in their handbag or desk. In their memories. It's nice to see some colours and prints that we've developed, our signature aesthetic on a book format.