[Honorary Reporters] Art, music and fashion: an interview with designer Monica Koh (Maison Nica)
By Honorary Reporter Daniela Astolfi from Italy Photo by = Monica Koh
In order to be avant-garde and ahead of the times, fashion must be able to perceive the social and aesthetic changes of the world around it.
Monica Koh is the founder, designer and art director of Maison Nica. This Maison presented its new Fall/Winter 2023 collection during the Seoul fashion week which took place in March at DDP (Dongdaemun Design Plaza). Seoul Fashion Week is a very important event for the city of Seoul, designer present new collections and new trends for next season. Maison Nica is an innovative fashion brand attentive to new trends while remaining faithful to its inspiration and ideals. Her fashion show was not just the presentation of her collection, but a real artistic event. Indeed he chose to collaborate with the korean musician Standard1 (Jake Woo) and the international model Elton Ilirjani creating a truly unique collection. Standard1 composed Gaia Planet an album of 4 tracks inspired by house and electronic music creating a perfect mix for the fashion show.
Combining art, music and new trends is always very difficult and comes only from hard teamwork, inspiration and skill.
The fashion show project, the music, the choice of models and clothes really intrigued me and I wanted to ask the designer a few questions to understand how this art, music and fashion project was born.
Monica Koh (photo credits: Monica Koh)
HR: Gaia Planet is a collaboration album with music and fashion. How was this collaboration born?
Monica Koh: Maison Nica is a brand that solves social issues with fashion. Inspired by the Gaia in Roman mythology. I needed a musician who would make all my imaginary fashion stories musically richer and a muse that contained social issues, and my friend and fashion, Standard1 (Jake Woo), worked together. It was successful even though the work time was not long.
HR: What was the source of inspiration?
Monica Koh: Begins to emerge from the imagination of deep childhood memories, and this collection is inspired by the goddess Gaia in Roman mythology.
Maison Nica F/W 2023 (photo credits: Monica Koh, collage made Daniela Astolfi with Canva program)
HR: Is this your first time at Seoul Fashion Week? How was this experience? Are you satisfied with the result?
Monica Koh: It was more meaningful because it was a fashion show right after the end of COVID-19 and the first Seoul Fashion Week. It was meaningful that foreign buyers visited Korea again and realized that K-Fashion received attention, and Maison Nica could be at the center of it.
HR: Please tell me as you would like to briefly talk about your collection and work. About you and about your fashion brand and collection.
Monica Koh: The Maison Nica brand solves social issues with fashion by putting on a new story of Maison Nica, and this Gaia collection also created a beautiful new Gaia planet by promising to visit the Gaia goddess and find a new planet in the shape of the original Earth. We will continue to remember the familiar things around us, and we will reveal them with fashion so that they can be socially important. I think that fashion is not limited to anything or ingredients for making.. Whoever wears it.. It's a free spirit itself..
HR: In addition, please feel free to add about how you collaborated and worked with Elton Ilirjani.
Monica Koh: Elton is my friend and my muse. As a social human rights activist and fashion-loving iconic person, he played a lot of roles in this collection. I specially designed a dress for him and he loved my dress so much.
Maison Nica F/W 2023 (photo credits: Monica Koh), collage made Daniela Astolfi with Canva program)
The interview was conducted via email between June 15 and July 2 due to the commitments of the designer whom I thank for her time and hard work.