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SUNY Korea Museum of Modern Costume Opens Moon Kwang Ja Exhibit

SUNY Koreaㅣ2019-09-26 13:48

September 24, 2019 – The SUNY Korea Museum of Modern Costume held the opening ceremony for the “Moon Kwang Ja” special exhibition on Sept. 24. Korean designer Moon Kwang Ja is renowned for her sophisticated Moomyung (Korean traditional cotton fabric) pieces and innovative use of natural dyes.

The exhibition is being held to commemorate Moon’s 52-year contribution to the fashion industry.

“I’m very happy to have this special exhibition at the SUNY Korea Museum of Modern Costume, which showcases 30 of my best pieces. It is especially meaningful since I had studied at FIT New York,” Moon said. An interview was held with the designer following the opening event.


Question (Q): Please briefly introduce the special exhibition.

Moon Kwang Ja (MKJ): While exploring many fabrics throughout my career, I became most attached to Moomyung and natural dyes. Among my works using these two materials, 30 of my best pieces are on display at this museum.  


Q: What has driven you to work as a designer for 52 years?

MKJ: I wanted to be a designer since I was young. I love fashion and design so I couldn’t stop living my life as a designer under any circumstances, even after marriage through to raising children. I designed at home while raising children -- I never gave up. I believe doing what we like to do is more powerful than doing what we are good at. My passion for design has been the driving force behind everything. My family has always wholeheartedly supported my work.

Q: What was your motivation to use Moomyung and natural dye?

I like natural things and textures, and being able to feel things with my hands. I became very attached to Moomyung, influenced by Jeomik Moon who was the first to bring cotton into Korea. Moomyung is very rare now. That’s why I buy as much as I can at the market. Moomyung is a fabric with a lot of advantages. It is cool in summer and warm in winter. In ancient times, lower classes to noble families wore clothes made of Moomyung in each of the four seasons. I want to say this amazing fabric has been revived through my work. I am very glad to exhibit my work that I hope is breathing new life into a disappearing tradition. I hope FIT students at SUNY Korea take this opportunity to experience, feel, and learn about Moomyung.  

Q: What do you think about the future of natural dye?

MKJ: Natural dyes can suffer discoloration no matter what. However, the leaves of nature are beautiful precisely because they change colors naturally. Likewise, we can think of the discoloring of natural dye as a very natural process and beautiful. I would like to see more use of such natural methods in the future.


Q: What is your future plan?

MKJ: I’m 74 years old and my daughter, daughter-in-law and granddaughter are all designers. While I am the first runner as a designer in my family, I would like to continue to learn new things and pass down good energy and beneficial knowledge to the next generations of my family.


Q: Do you have any advice for FIT students?

MKJ: I think studying fashion at SUNY Korea in Songdo, Incheon is a great and valuable opportunity. I hope FIT students take full advantage of this environment to become the world’s best designers in the future.

The Moon Kwang Ja special exhibition is being held from September 24 to November 22 at the SUNY Korea Museum of Modern Costume (Academic Building A, Basement Floor 01).

Written by Sungwon Hyun

             Edited by Leanne Patterson-Shin


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