Welcome to Into Labels, a Who What Wear column that profiles the designers behind the brands we can't stop talking about.
Fashion designers will tell you: The hustle is hard and relentless to get a label off the ground and into the actual closets of women everywhere. Some forever remain more niche and under the radar, and then there are those who blow up seemingly overnight and end up on everyone's dream list. Rejina Pyo falls into the latter.
Sometime around 2016, her modern, strong-silhouetted pieces started popping up everywhere. Even we declared the London-based Korean designer as a new fan favorite (see: "The Fashion World Has Spoken: This Brand Is Going to Be Big"). While Pyo's label technically launched in 2014, by the time fashion got ahold of her anti-saccharine use of ruffles, charming button details, and those unapologetically puffy sleeves, it held on tight. In fact, Pyo says major retailers like Net-a-Porter, Browns Fashion, and Harvey Nichols all picked her up in the same season and continue to carry her new collections to this day.
But If you need further proof that the Rejina Pyo line has found a long-term home in our closets, just look to the designer herself. She explains her customer as a woman who's bold and nonconforming—in other words, someone we can all aspire to be. Read on for more about how Pyo launched her It brand into existence and what's next.
Firstly, how did you get your start in the fashion industry?
Studying at Central Saint Martins under Louise Wilson was an invaluable education and introduction to the industry. After graduation, I went on to work with Roksanda Ilinčić and Christopher Raeburn before launching the brand in 2014.
What made you finally go off on your own at that point?
Positive feedback from my graduate collection, winning the Han Nefkens Fashion Award, and a collaboration with H&M helped me build the courage to take the risk to create something of my own. There are so many growing pains, and the first few years were difficult, but I wouldn't want it any other way.
What was happening in fashion when you launched? What did you want to do differently?
Over the last few years, the pace of fashion trends has just continued to get faster and faster. I didn't want to create a brand that promotes quick trends, but rather I wanted to focus on building long-term relationships with customers and evolving with them over time.
How did you know the brand was truly headed for success?
I think the catalyst for the brand was really our S/S 17 season. We were picked up by major stockists like Net-a-Porter, Browns, Harvey Nichols, and Shopbop. The now-signature styles like the marigold Jamie dress and the silver Issy dress were worn by respected style influencers like Kate Foley and Leandra Medine and that brought us major exposure in the press and on social media.
The silhouettes of Rejina Pyo pieces feel so powerful and elegant. Do you have a specific woman you speak to with your designs?
I want to dress strong, intelligent, and creative women. I want my brand to speak to women who are confident in themselves and their sense of style. Women who live a passionate life. I think the Rejina Pyo woman can be any age and from any place. She is not defined by how others see her, she has fun interpreting the pieces her own way, and is more interested in taking risks rather than following trends.
What's been the biggest "I've made it" moment to date?
Being nominated for a British Fashion Award in the Emerging Designer category [in 2017] was an amazing honor and a magical experience.
What are some of biggest lessons you've learned in creating your own line?
The multifaceted aspects of running a brand as a business—it involves so much more than designing and making clothes. I am still learning something new every day. But I would have to say that one of the most valuable lessons I have learned is to follow my instincts. It can be challenging when lots of people are giving you different advice, so it's really important to listen to yourself and not lose sight of what you are trying to do.
Where else do you see your company growing in five (or 10 or 50) years?
I hope the Rejina Pyo brand will grow into a contemporary lifestyle brand for womenswear, menswear, accessories, and even homewares. It is exciting to think about the possibilities, but I want to make sure we take considered steps forward so that we grow in a responsible and thoughtful way.
And we hear you have plans for a unisex line?
I would love to be able to design for everyone, especially my husband and son! A unisex line is in the cards when the timing is right.
Keep scrolling to shop some of our favorite pieces from the Rejina Pyo line.
Available in sizes UK 6 to UK 14.
Available in sizes 8 to 12
Available in size UK 6 to UK 14.
Available in sizes UK 10 to UK 14
Available in sizes IT36 to IT41.
Available in sizes 6 to 12
Available in sizes M to L.
Available in sizes UK 6 to UK 14.