We recently caught up with L.A based RAWards Designer of the Year Cheryl Koo. Get to know her designs and learn about her inspirations, goals and current projects.
|Rawards Designer of the Year Cheryl Koo|
Congratulations on winning RAWards Designer of the Year! What does this mean for you and how does it feel to beat out the other nominees in the Hollywood region?
Thank you! It felt pretty awesome. To be put in an environment of strangers and to know that they voted for me because of my clothes, my models, my presentation, my aesthetic, made me feel proud and reassured that I put on a great show!
Who would you like to thank? Who helped you with this milestone?
I would like to thank everyone who has ever believed and still believes in me. My family, my parents (who do not act too “traditional Chinese” and force me into a career of finance, law or medicine)… My friends who have given me their not-so-free time to help my growth, my models…who are my friends, my support system, my ever-so-understanding other half, myself…for wanting to give up so many times but never do. God, who created me… (and all of you) and has blessed me with the life I live and the people I cross paths with.
I believe we all stumble along our paths, most of the time blindly, but we always end up meeting the right people, (whether through other people, friends or strangers…or not) to take us to where we should be at that moment in time. Of course there are hiccups along the journey and bad choices made, but a learning lesson none-the-less. So in terms of “who” specifically has helped me get to where I am today, there is no specific one person. It’s the people who loved me, the people who’ve hurt me, the people who’ve believed in me, the people who’ve shunned me, the people who’ve respected me, the people who’ve looked down on me. All of them helped mold me to achieve this milestone.
What is the toughest experience you’ve ever had to overcome?
The urge to quit many times. I still go through that sometimes. It’s hard being an artist, you go about life debating on whether or not you sell out for money, or you are one of the few blessed ones that make money from what you love, or you work a job you hate to try to sustain what you have, or you just work and write off all creativity for the time being. But then I think about it, and I hate that thought of conforming, becoming the “structure,” the society you are brainwashed to believe is the “right” way.
Also, being accepted for who you truly are. That is my belief. I even started a company with a message of just that. The Other Duck. Dare To Be Ugly: the ugly duckling story. If you don’t believe in yourself, who will? There are times and will be times you stand alone, but as long as you continue on your path of passion, everything will fall into place. Usually in retrospect, but I believe that it will all be worth it. I strive for the ultimate satisfaction over the immediate gratification, although sometimes you want it and you want it now. It’s funny. Sometimes, when I want to quit, I’m reminded, by my own company message, that it’s not time to give up yet.
What is the best piece of advice someone has given to you?
If you don’t stand for something, you will fall for anything. -Alexander Hamilton, Peter Marshall, Steve Barkowski… I dont really know who said it, but Marilyn Monroe said it best, “I’m selfish, impatient and a little insecure. I make mistakes, I am out of control and at times hard to handle. But if you can’t handle me at my worst, then you sure as hell don’t deserve me at my best.” Cliche I know, but there are tons.
Do you have any advice for fashion designers just starting out?
What is the true intention behind starting? Once you know that, always remember it and don’t stop at anything until you achieve it.
What inspires you and what makes your styles unique?
I am inspired most by music and nature. Not so much other clothing.
What’s your ultimate fashion goal and what have you learned while trying to accomplish your goal?
Put on the most amazing fashion shows in the world! I want the entire world to come to my tents in fashion week because they know they would be getting a show as well as quality innovative and creative pieces.
I also want to collaborate with different designers, artists, and ultimately bringing movement and dance into fashion. There is a lot of fashion within dance…but not the other way around. To put together a successful show is a large task at hand, just on the creative end alone, to me, is more than just clothing on the runway, it’s how the clothing is presented, what music is used to create that ambiance, how blank the canvases truly are without being a distraction to the clothes etc. The difficult part of this is that fashion has been so established and set in their ways that doing something new is not impossible, just not easily accepted. I’m still learning and I’m still falling but I know I’ll get it one of these tries. Sooner than later.
Is there anyone you wish to work with?
Fashion designers: Yohji Yamamoto, Comme des Garcons, Rei Kawakubo, Vivienne Westwood, Alexander Mcqueen (if he was still alive), Victor and Rolfe, Marc Jacobs, Rick Owens, Tsumori Chisato, Louis Vuitton, Proenza Schouler…all whom I’d love to collaborate with some day in this lifetime!
Urban/street brands: Diesel, Burton, Volcom, Skull Candy, Adidas, Rvca
Photographer: David Lachapelle,
Artists: Koji Morimoto, Clamp, Audrey Kawasaki, Dez Einswell, Jesse James, Camille d’Errico, Sam Flores, Feebee, Junko Mizuno, Aaron Kraten
Musicians: JLo, Jay Z, Kanye, Lupe Fiasco, Pharell, Common, Mos Def, Alicia Keys, Nicki Minaj, Missy Elliot, Neyo, Rihanna, Bruno Mars, Jason Mraz, Aaliyah, Adele, Drake, Janelle Monae, Katy Perry, Beyonce, Corinne Bailey Rae, Fugees, Frank Ocean, The Fray….the list goes on.
Celebrities: All those with a unique fashion sense- usually the ones with their own clothing lines.
Who has influenced you the most in your life?
My parents…but my life has mainly been influenced by my environment, my upbringing, as well as the people I’ve met along the way. There is not just one person I can think of who has left an impactful influence in my life thus far. There are a handful, some good, some bad, but if anything, I am more impacted by things that happened in my life rather than a specific person. I am an only child and have lived in different parts of the world. I’ve been fortunate enough to have already experienced so much. I’m still excited though, to experience so much more.
Are you working on any projects and where can we expect to see you next?
Working on fall for my new launch of “Cheryl Koo Collection: CKC” as well as sweats and tees for my current company “The Other Duck”. Planning a party for Feb 3rd 2013! It’s gonna be pretty big. More details to come on “theotherduck.com” in January. Keep posted!
Where can we find your designs? Stores or online?
I’m in the process of creating www.cherylkoo.com where you can see all the different things/collections/collaborations I do. Estimated to launch end of January but you can shop the sportswear at www.theotherduck.com.
I’ve also been in Traffic (Beverly Center) for the more conceptual pieces, as well as Tradition (Beverly Center) for the street wear.
Formerly an editor at Demand Media, writer at Citysearch, The Examiner and proofreader at The Los Angeles Daily News, Christy Buena decided to start Disarray Magazine because she missed writing what she wanted. From hiring writers, to contacting publicists and making assignments, Christy is responsible for the editorial strategy of Disarray Magazine. Get to know the team of talented contributors.