Breakout designer: Sunghee Bang

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Photographs: Zenith Richards

Who she is: The South Korea--born, Brooklyn-based designer cut her teeth as an intern for major fashion labels in New York (Donna Karan, J. Mendel, Jill Stuart, Peter Som) and London (Alexander McQueen). Upon graduating from FIT with a specialization in knitwear and art in 2009, she launched her eponymous label (sungheebang.com), which is sold at Oak, Eva, Barneys New York, Brooklyn Collective and We the People.

Why we like her: Bang isn’t afraid to go high-concept (her collection evokes both outer-space-wear and traditional samurai culture) without losing sight of the practical demands faced by today’s fashion-forward urban woman. “At McQueen, they do amazing creative design,” notes Bang of the avant-garde house where she interned in 2008. “But a lot of it is not really wearable. I’m trying to do the same creativity, but make it wearable.”

About the collection: Bang’s “Astronaut vs. Samurai” theme resulted from a creative collaboration with video director John Karian. After creating costumes for Karian’s film, Bang was inspired to explore the astronaut-samurai tension (modernity versus traditionalism, future versus past, Western versus Eastern values) through a 20-piece sportswear collection that juxtaposes synthetic and natural materials, digitally conceived prints and neutral colors, and hard detailing (snaps, zippers) and soft silhouettes. Separates like gray cotton double-flip shorts with contrast zippers that revealed a pop of plum-colored cotton and a jersey racerback tank in a gray-and-white plasma print designed by Bang combine classic tailoring with unexpected detailing. From the simplest tee to the most constructed dress, each piece in Bang’s collection invites closer inspection. We left with a renewed faith that fashion can—and should—have a sense of humor.—Tory Hoen

NEXT Leila Shams

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