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Designer Marc Jun returns to Dunedin with his new range of clothing. He tells Brittany Pooley about starting his own label.
Marc Jun started his fashion journey in Dunedin, and after travelling the world he is back to showcase his new designs.
''I love Dunedin! It is the place where I started my design journey and I have friends who want to try out my first collection of garments!''
This month his new endeavour invis-Able will feature as the Pop-Up designer at local design store GUILD.
Jun initially moved to New Zealand from South Korea to learn English 13 years ago.
He started out with a business diploma and worked in hospitality to gain his resident visa.
During this time, Jun found his calling for design which led him to complete a certificate of fashion studies which laid the foundation for a bachelor of design in fashion degree.
Jun graduated in 2014 and travelled the world before settling in Auckland to work for a digital print studio.
''New Zealand is like my home. It has a family-focused environment and the relaxed feeling of nature, something I couldn't have when I was growing up,'' Jun says.
For the past two years, Jun has been working hard in the industry to gain the knowledge and skills needed to launch a fashion label of his own. Initially, it was his time spent abroad that encouraged his venture into fashion business start-up.
''When I was in fashion school, I went to Paris and Milan fashion week to help at my friend's fashion trade-show. I really enjoyed that time and those memories kept me eager to have my garment pieces go around the world with me. That is how I decided to leave my job to build my own fashion brand.''
His newly-launched fashion brand invis-Able, specialises in unisex clothing.
''My work is deeply inspired by invisible things in life such as one's thoughts, feelings, words and experience; these are the things that define who we are, and we are all different. Invis-Able is an expression of the invisible, to make it or us Able to be seen. That's where the name comes from.''
In true Jun fashion, his 2018 capsule collection critiques materiality in a fun and playful way.
''I asked myself 'What makes me happy?' And I quickly found that 'things' that often entertain us and make us happy are short-term. Material items or meaningless relationships are satisfying at first but are costly to maintain: the initial happiness will wear away. Instant gratification for long-term happiness is fake and unrealistic.
''I express this in the details and functionality of my garments and challenge the wearer's 'ideal reality'. Just like a playful game of hide and seek - you will find all the unexpected features and hidden details. Invis-Able makes you happy!''
Jun's designs transcend into different social settings and give the wearer agency in their styling.
''My label designs for people who transition from work, to going out and seek trendy versatile wear that is suitable for day and night, serious or play.
''Most of my garments are multi-functions and reversible so the wearer could choose to look classic or casual.''
He is hugely involved in the designing and production of his label, taking on the role of designer and pattern cutter. His pieces are then constructed in small runs and overseen by Jun himself to ensure quality.
''I believe my understanding of craftsmanship makes for better fashion outcomes and prolongs customer satisfaction. I want my garments to be in their wardrobes for a long time, so their children can enjoy them too.
''When this collection was made I was at the factory to help with ironing, fabric marking and cutting to meet the deadlines.''
Jun values his relationships with his customers and last month he presented his new line in a pop-up shop in central Ponsonby, Auckland.
''I was so enthused to see the reactions and hear the feedback.''
A love and nostalgia for our fashion-focused city has led Jun back for his next pop-up destination. He approached the store on the recommendation of a friend as it is supportive of emerging, local designers.
Guild's Pop-up guest curator Helen Riley-Duddin said she is excited for the opportunity to present Dunedin with Jun's latest collection as his values align well with the fundamental nature of the store while offering some diverse pieces to their fashion curation.
''It's really exciting to be presenting back to Dunedin a former local graduate of the polytechnic now that he's established with his brand and collection of garments - this is what Guild is all about!
''It's also perfectly timed for winter, particularly with Marc's unique line of bomber jackets and trench coats; and it's also really nice to be showcasing a Unisex fashion label, complementary to our existing eight local fashion labels, offering a whole new edge for our customers this month.''
Every month it allocates retail space to ''pop-up guests'' such as Meniscus Leather, Sionell Bags, and Lapin providing the exposure, sales and promotion for designers.
''The whole aim of the pop-up is to boost awareness for our invited guests, so we like to know that all that brand value generated throughout the month can be fully realised beyond their Guild pop-up.''
-By Brittany Pooley