Welcome to designer Yuna Yang’s dreamland of “No Borders”

On the evening of February 11, the second floor ballroom of the 3 West Club in upper Manhattan was transformed into a dream world of glamour, gold, and fairy dust as fashion designer Yuna Yang showcased her latest collection titled No Borders.

It was a full house as models walked down three aisles, accompanied by a jazz band in the background, lined with eager attendees while they showed off Yang’s latest designs for her fall and winter collection.

Yang described her couture inspired ready-to-wear clothing as unique and classic with a modern touch and a combination of what she learned growing up.

“These days, designers compete with fast-fashion brands like Zara, H&M, and Uniqlo,” Yang said. “Fashion brands grew up dramatically [in the] past 10 years, their speed of following trends. [Fast-fashion] pricing is [hard to beat] for independent designer brands, but as an independent designer brand, we can share our unique vision of culture, and we offer not only good quality, but also different ways of dressing and styling.”

Yang, who lived in South Korea until she was 21 years old, graduated from Ewha Women’s University in Seoul with a degree in Fine Arts and moved to Milan, Italy shortly after to learn more about the Italian culture and language where her interest in fashion truly began to flourish.

“While I was in Italy, I fell in love with fashion and design especially high-end fashion like Valentino,” Yang said. “After completing my 6 month language course I decided to learn fashion design [through a] one-year course at Istituto Marangoni. After I completed my diploma, I had a lucky chance to design Milan fashion week evening dresses for prima classe Alviero Martini.”

The concept behind this year’s show came from Yang’s wish of peace between religion, race, nationality, and all divisions. Growing up in South Korea, the only country still divided from the Cold War, influenced her desire for peace between borders. Yang decided she would use this theme for NYFW 2016 in order to benefit society.

Yang said that as a fashion designer, she believes in creating not only trendy and colorful clothing, but also creating meaning through art. With North Korea always making the news, Yang deeply thought about her experience growing up in a divided land.

The models walking out in a line at the end of the show (Credit: Daniel Sims)

“After seeing the Paris attack, I started to question [global issues] myself,” Yang said. “The North and South Korea issue is not only between two Koreas, but also a [problem] that should be discussed as a global issue. This kind of tragedy should not continue and we must think about how to stop [it]. I believe this tragedy should not pass to our next generation and I wanted to communicate [this message] with the audience by creating this collection.”

The pieces in Yang’s No Borders collection deconstruct military uniforms with softer lines and fabrics to bring out the graceful individual from the militaristic collective. Within the one hour that Yang had to show off her designs, there was a progression in colors from dark to bright as the models made their way down the rows. What stood out was the contrasting fabrics of black and gold embroidery, leather and lace, velvet and furs, into one creation that further symbolized Yang’s dream of two different countries coming together in unity.

Toward the end of the show, the models came back out for one last walk through for attendees to get a final glimpse at the lavish creations and Yang herself came out at the end as the crowd gave her a standing ovation for her beautiful collection.

Yuna Yang's NYFW S/S 2016 Runway collection (Credit: David Sims)

Yuna Yang’s NYFW F/W 2016 Runway collection (Credit: David Sims)

Now that NYFW has come to an end, Yang said she has plenty in store for the future and her team who are collaborating with different companies. For the upcoming season, she is working slowly on a new shoes line in collaboration with Japanese retailers such as Isetan.

“We believe developing new high-end brand takes a long time and we are not in a rush,” Yang said. “We [will] grow step-by-step and create the brand with long-term plans. We want to create the brand that can survive for not only 10 years but [become part of] fashion history.”

Long after she’s retired from the fashion world, she has aspirations of building a non-profit organization where she can teach art and fashion for middle and high school students.

“Studying fashion and design requires high-cost,” Yang said. “I would love to support students who cannot afford to have [that] opportunity.”