Ready to take a paper plane to Seoul? Led by our very own Molly Park, head of all things design here at Papier, our newest collection celebrates Korean art and craft. Taking note from her own heritage, the mesmerising, colour-packed designs are inspired by the past, present and future of Korean culture – from the cafe scene to its influence on film, beauty, food and music.
Why did you want to bring this to collection life?
Korea hasn’t been represent in the global pop culture for a long time. I’m Korean and I wanted to celebrate the fact our culture is having a moment in the global stage – to tell a meaningful story of Korean art, craft and lifestyle. With my cultural heritage and connection to Korea, I felt compelled to tell the creative story at Papier by bringing Korea to everyone through designs we’ve created.
Sum up the collection in three words.
Past, present, future.
What did designing this mean it to you?
A few years ago, I didn’t feel comfortable bringing my heritage to the centre of my creative inspiration. But with the more inclusive and diverse mindset of the past years, I felt safe and comfortable to celebrate this part of my personal experience and heritage.
How did we ensure the voice and designs remain authentic and sensitively designed?
It’s about doing your research, understanding the history, origins, context and cultural meaning behind the inspiration and to respectfully celebrate the story.
We wanted to honour the artistry. Our print designer, Megan, learnt the traditional Minwha painting technique from two Korean artists.
South Korea offers a mix of futuristic aesthetics and historical sites. How did we explore the notion of ‘old meets new’ with the designs?
We have three different design handwritings at Papier: Classic, Modern and Play. For Classic designs, we took inspiration from traditional Korean textiles, art and architecture. Modern came from the current cafe culture trend, and Play nods to Gen Z Korean culture. I wanted to really capture what it feels like to be in South Korea, particularly in Seoul right now. We wanted to show what a day of cultural experiences feels and looks like, through design.
Tell us about the time-honoured arts and crafts referenced in the collection.
Minhwa is a traditional Korean painting technique. You build the image in layers of paint starting with light ink sketch, then solid colour, then colour gradients, and finally any additional details and the outlines.
We also referenced bojagi – a Korean wrapping cloth – usually square in shape, made from silk or ramie. Bojagi can be embroidered (subo) or made from patchworking (chogak bo). They're versatile in Korean culture, used to wrap or carry objects, or in religious ceremonies and weddings.
The collection draws on the fun cafe culture of present-day Korea. Tell us more and why this felt important to include.
When I vist my friends and family at home, we are always looking for the new cafes to taste the trending cakes and pastries. The journey of finding the trending place, looking at the photos and videos on social media is an event itself. We also love chatting for hours, so a cafe is the best spot to do so while enjoying yummy treats in a cool environment. It’s all about sharing that fun experience.