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The Korean Who Calls Holland Home

Abandoning banking to explore his creativity, Hyun Yeu ended up at fashion school in Holland.  It was a risk that paid off as the designer's first solo collection just wowed audiences during Amsterdam International Fashion Week.

By Gabrielle Kennedy / 19-08-2009

When Hyun Yeu left his native Korea for Australia, his plan was to get an education and launch a career in banking.  “I didn’t even know back then that I had any creative skills,” he says.  

After graduating and working for a few years in a bank in Sydney, he left for Melbourne where he found a job in a small architecture office in the invoice department.  “I sat in that office from nine to five every day doing a really boring job but was so inspired by what I saw,” Yeu says.  “Watching people draw and build models and create ideas really made me start to think differently about what I might be able to do.”

At the time, Yeu was reading the now defunct Dutch Magazine. “It was fantastic and very inspiring, “ he says.  “I read it and thought that’s it.  I’m moving to Holland.”

A national search of what school he could nurture his creativity in followed and the Rietveld Academy was his eventual choice.  “It really came down to language,” Yeu says, “and that was the only one that I didn't have to learn Dutch for.”

A Rietveld graduate, a participant in Lichting 2008, winner of the Frans Molenaar Award, an intern at Viktor & Rolf and having just presented his first show during Amsterdam International Fashion Week, Yeu, it can be said, found his creativity.

His first collection for Ado Les Scents, his brand, was received with rapturous acclaim and piqued the interest of many.  It comprised of twenty-three pieces in different fabrics – silk, treated denim, wool, gauze and linen -  designed to showcase his versatility.  

“It wasn’t until after I started at Rietveld that I realized I wanted to become a fashion designer,” Yeu says.  “The school is highly conceptual so most people in the fashion department are artists trying to express their ideas through fashion.  But I wanted to be an actual fashion designer so I had to develop myself in that direction.”

Which is exactly what Ado Les Scents does. A nice concept based on the butterflies one feels fluttering inside during the first stages of love, develops into a wearable and edgy collection of finely tailored garments.  Unisexual, the collection is, as the brand name suggests, something in-between - not too gendered, and confidant without relying on typically masculine messages.

“Because I’m from Rietveld people assume I’ll have ideas, but can’t stitch,” Yeu says. “So I needed to really prove that I could produce a well made collection and that my concepts can translate into wearable garments.”

And his inspiration is always concept - never other designers or collections. “People always ask me who my role model is,” Yeu says.  “And what am I supposed to say? Kris Van Assche (creative director of Dior Homme)?  But if I said that, where would I go from there?  I am different to him and I want to do different things to him.”

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