Sunhee Hwang may be a rising talent to watch on the design scene, but the South Korea native is hardly a newcomer to the fashion world.
"Since I was young, I always knew I wanted to be a fashion designer," explains Hwang, who honed her design skills at FIT. "All my youth, I was dreaming about designing for hip, modern girls."
While Hwang would eventually realize that dream with an eponymous collection of tough-yet-sophisticated ready-to-wear, she first cut her teeth at major brands like Anna Sui, Elie Tahari, Anne Klein, and Jones New York, where she served as vice president of design.
So it was with formidable business know-how, coupled with her natural tendency towards clean, modern silhouettes, that Sunhee launched her eponymous collection in the fall of 2011.
Mining mid-century design and Bauhaus architecture for inspiration, Hwang's collections are ruled by distinctive form-fitting dresses and tough outerwear pieced tempered by softer, more feminine separates in floaty see-through silks. "I pay careful attention to the simplicity of modernism but focus on it in a feminine way," says Hwang. "It is a source of motivation and great inspiration for me."
Hwang has continued to refine her aesthetic in the past two seasons, even earning an Ecco Domani award for womenswear design. Hwang's a savvy businesswoman, however, and knows there's still a long road ahead. " It's wonderful for any creative person to get recognized for their work, but I still have a long way to go," she says. "I feel so fortunate to be able to work towards something that I love."