I really enjoyed both the Baudrillard text and the lecture by Siki Im. So I decided to put them in conversation with each other in this post – perhaps inspired by the work of Siki himself.
In the Non-Functional System, or Subjective Discourse, Baudrillard discusses the binary of practicality and abstraction inherent to all objects. “Every object thus has two functions – to be put to use (practical totalization) and to be possessed (abstract totalization).” In Siki Im’s work, practicality is being articulated first and foremost in the pure materiality of clothing. We are clothed bodies that necessarily navigate the world through dress. Also important to note is the acknowledgement of the “money line”, the collection of shirtings, slim pants, and more “wearable” (thus sellable) clothes. At the other extreme, Siki’s work is simultaneously abstract and cerebral. The designer articulates sociological, philosophical and psychological discourses into the design, creating abstract versions through his point of view, but at the same time materializing these concepts.
This abstraction function of objects, “to be possessed”, leads to what Baudrillard refers to as the level of ‘personification’ that is transferred into the objects. He claims: “Its absolute singularity arises from the fact of being possessed by me – and this allows me, in turn, to recognize myself in the object as an absolutely singular being.” This idea becomes even clearer when he compares the death of the object with the death of our own selves: “the presence of the final object of the collection would basically signify the death of the subject”, as well as our own existence in a cyclical mode through the objects. The idea of “humanizing” the design can be identified in Siki Im’s SS15 collection, whether through revealing its ‘human’ imperfections, exposed seams, tie-dye, or ‘no styling’. Siki seems to be inserting a certain degree of emotion into the clothes, des-objectifying them through personification.
These are just some of the parallels that can be drawn between them. However, perhaps we don’t need to theorize Siki’s design, for he has done it himself.
 Jean Baudrillard, “The Non-Functional System, or Subjective Discourse,” The System of Objects (Verso, London, 1996): 1.
 Ibid., 5.
 Ibid., 6.