Ji Min Lee is a menswear designer from South Korea. She is interested in eroticism, sexuality and the naked human form. Hand drawing is where her work begins and how she expresses what she sees and how she feels, revealing her imagination.
“I want to express a woman’s desire through exploring male bodies and how I see them. I come from a conservative Korean culture where a women’s sexual desire is taboo and perceived as abnormal. A woman’s sexual identity is hidden and secret. However, since moving to New York I have become very interested in the subject of sex and desire. I took a life drawing class where I was able to study the male form and I began to feel the possibility of breaking free from the repressed sexual culture I have always known. I don’t want to hide myself or my sexual desires anymore.”
During the research process for her thesis collection, Lee illustrates nude male bodies to express and visualize a woman’s desire. Her hand drawings develop into textiles and inform her silhouettes. Large unexpected cut-outs on men’s oversized suits reveal parts of the male body. 8 suits and 8 body suits make up 8 looks. Each look represents specific parts of the male form - one look will emphasize the shape of a shoulder while another exposes the pelvis. Body suits are revealed where the suits are cut away. There is a masculine and feminine tension in the opposing fabrics used for different layers. Feminine lies beneath the masculine. The body suits feature Lee’s hand drawings while pearl beadwork and crystal embellishments represent both a woman’s desire and the beauty of the male body. Lee explores a new found freedom through her work that results in an admiration and respect for the naked male form.