Far from being the polar opposites that they, perhaps, once were, the worlds of conscious fashion and global retail can now not only coexist harmoniously – but also, work together to deliver sustainably minded style to an international stage.

YOOXYGEN is the dedicated destination of e-com heavyweight YOOX, designed to focus on responsibility in both the production line and to encourage and mentor the designers who embody it. The latest beneficiary of the scheme is Parsons School of Design student, Ji Won Choi, who in collaboration with the brand has created a capsule collection exclusive to YOOX.

We spoke to Ji Won Choi to learn the finer details…

Your journey as a sustainably minded designer started way back with your thesis, where you studied the wardrobes and buying habits of friends and family. What did you find? 
There was too much clothing. It’s not really a surprise, since I think most of us are aware of just how much stuff we have. However, what did surprise me was that my friends would often comment on how little they would wear most of what is in their closets. Sure, sometimes they kept things for sentimental reasons, but most of the time, they were filled with impulse purchases from fast fashion retailers that they only wore a few times before relegating them to the back of the wardrobe.

Where or with whom do you believe the buck stops when it comes to sustainable production?
The real responsibility lies with the producers of fashion. YOOXYGEN really helps the effort by providing responsible fashion, as well as spreading awareness about being environmentally responsible – not only to its customers but also in support of young designers. The experience with YOOX has been crucial for me and my future, because it has helped to expand my knowledge on sustainable and responsible approaches to fashion, as well as teaching me what goes into creating a collection from start to finish. I really enjoyed the fact that I was involved in every aspect of building this capsule collection; I was able to see and understand how each department functions, such as merchandising, buying, art direction and brand marketing and communications, even down to designing the hangtags and garment labels, which just made the collection that little bit more special.

It has definitely been difficult for me to maintain a balance between interesting design and keeping my collections environmentally responsible. For me, it helps to think of design and sustainability as one and operating as a symbiotic relationship, rather than two separate concepts.

How does this coexisting relationship translate into the capsule with YOOX?
The entire concept of my YOOX capsule collection was built on the idea of overconsumption. The stripes were used throughout a symbol of repetition and to reference a barcode, representing the idea of overconsumption visually as well as also being construction details that allowed for less waste to be created in the actual cutting of the fabrics. There are adjustment details in some of the garments that allow for more than one silhouette within a single piece. The entire collection is made of natural cotton and was designed to be easily mixed and matched with anything that you already have in your wardrobe. 

Shop the YOOXYGEN Award-winning collection here: