Rejina Pyo Wants Clothing To Make You Smile Again
Personal style can feel futile when relegated to the home, but expression through fashion is how many choose to get through daily life. Practicality can far outweigh whimsy for many a fashion lover, as dreary as it may sound. Unless, of course, the concept of style and pragmatism harmoniously combine. Rejina Pyo’s polished yet cheerful designs do precisely that. The London-based designer — who splashed on to the scene in 2014 and has since developed a cult-following — established a signature aesthetic that fuses sculptural proportions, genius uses of color, and nuanced details. Not to mention the ease and wearability also built into each piece. The result comes out to clothing and accessories with an upbeat appeal — the exact aesthetic many women crave right now to invigorate their wardrobes and moods alike.
“I believe that clothing is meant to be worn and lived in, to enhance the busy and interesting life of the person wearing it,” Pyo tells TZR of her vibrant design approach. “We may be attending [fewer] special occasions, but it doesn’t mean we want to stop expressing ourselves through our clothes.”
Though many are leaning on sweat sets, athleisure aplenty, and the occasional pair of jeans during these half-dressed times, Pyo’s playfully refined pieces set an uplifting tone — one that merits an outfit shakeup. “From the initial stages of the design process, we are always creating a balance between form and function. The aim is to make the woman wearing [my designs] feel comfortable but also create items that are beautiful and covetable,” she says.
Through color palette and texture experimentation and inspirations that stem from art, travel, and the women she surrounds herself with, the designer continues to innovate and create collections many have come to crave. “It certainly helps to be my own customer,” she says of her process. “I want my designs to add something special to the everyday ritual that is getting dressed. I don’t want to create trend-based pieces but to make clothing that can be cherished and worn over time.”
Pyo has maintained this viewpoint throughout COVID-19 and the rise of leisurely, at-home fashion. While she notes a more thoughtful shift among consumers when it comes to buying, the pillars she’s built her brand upon are keeping it relevant. “Our philosophy as a brand has always been to design real clothes for real women,” she explains. “I think, even though our lifestyles may have changed, women still want to feel great in what they wear. This means really loving and investing in the quality, sustainable, and wearable pieces that express who they are and what they care about.” When asked of her right-now essentials, she adds, “I think people should invest in great everyday pieces, a cool pair of earrings or a great shirt in a color that lifts your mood.”
Pyo is thinking beyond current circumstances and continuing to lean into her “future vintage” aesthetic while prioritizing sustainability through unexpected color palettes and innovative fabrics. “I like to draw from pieces that I love, a well-tailored men’s suit, a beautifully crafted blouse from the '40s, or bold '80s prints, and then re-imaging them in a modern and fresh way.” These influences led to her highly sought-after sculptural dresses and cheerful accessories, but also unstuffy separates that make for refreshing workwear. “One of our brand signatures is our custom-made buttons, which have a different direction every season. This brings a fresh feel to more classic pieces and makes them special,” she says.
Another focus for Pyo is her unisex collection — a slightly more paired back range of pieces with signature design elements like print and color — which debuted earlier this year. “We were getting so many requests from men to design Rejina Pyo pieces that can scale to men’s sizing,” she tells TZR. “There’s something very cool about wearing a traditionally ‘menswear’ look as a woman or vice versa. I don’t really believe that fashion should be so gendered. Wear what makes you feel good!”
Though the label opted out of London Fashion Week because it “didn’t feel right,” Pyo says the decision has “opened up an opportunity to try something new” for the debut of the Spring/Summer 2021 collection next year. Until then, continue on to shop Rejina Pyo’s latest designs.
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