Siki Im’s Designs – Between Emotion and Reason


A fashion designer with an architecture background, musician in his spare time, I was curious to see how Siki Im articulated his ideas through such diverse media. It turns out that design is a protean language that Siki Im speaks to perfection (along with German and English, well actually ESL).

His work harmoniously reconciles the emotional and the rational parts of our mind. Indeed, if, as he explained, fashion is meant to provoke an emotion, I was struck, as I believe we all were, by the depth of the ideas behind Im’s work, as they were backed up by academic theory, and his ability to translate them into original designs.

His first project, a concrete origami-like structure with no door or window, no up or down, no fixed point, could and should be understood as a material illustration of the concept of monad that French philosopher Deleuze uses in The Fold.

If architecture is “the universal language of design,” his more recent fashion projects are spelled out and thought through just as well. Im discussed in particular the creation of his blazer. He described it as a complex process that consisted in folding the pattern, unfolding it, then folding it again. This, once again, directly relates to Deleuze’s notions of the fold and the coil, notions that express the belonging of two opposite poles – the interior and the exterior, the inside and the outside, the body and the soul, the up and the down – to the same unique and infinite matter.

With last fashion collection, named “Human/Machine,” Im reworks those very same themes and adds up to them, to create what constitutes in my opinion his most achieved work so far insofar as it reveals a double-edged meditation on the human nature itself. The clothes he created transformed the models into human androids, halfway between human and robot, and informed in that sense a very topical debate on the partition between human and machine, at the era of the Apple Watch and other wearable technologies. On the other hand, his use of tie and dye fabrics, “beautiful imperfect structures” as he calls them, worked as a reflection of our own imperfect yet beautiful structure as humans, and imbued the collection of a sort of secret meaning and poetry. The collection oscillated between these two poles, human and intellect, emotion and reason.

I am excited to see what comes next in the continuum of Im’s reflection – what will he unfold this time, what reality will he reveal, with his fascinating designs?

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