What’s the Big Idea


Genera Idea 08–09 FW/ Courtesy of General Idea


Japan might have Issey and Yohji, but the East is not quite won. With nationals like Doo.Ri, Richard Chai and Thuy designing under the Korean flag, the country is shedding its image as an emerging market and quickly becoming an established leader. So it’s no surprise that one of the most refreshing and crisp menswear collections debuting in New York this February promises to come from Bum Suk Choi, a seasoned designer who, after ten collections for his brand General Idea (and a racecar uniform collaboration with Puma), will show his eleventh F/W line stateside for the first time. “I’ve always dreamed of selling my collection in New York,” says Choi. “Now I am ready to show here. I am not nervous at all.”

Why should he be? Choi employs what sets Korean designers apart from a fair majority of their American counterparts: impeccable tailoring. His SS09 collection is cheeky, and recalls Duckie Brown—piping and gingham print, pocket flaps lined in contrasting colors, and a metallic backpack or two. Tapping into an all-American, tongue-in-cheek style General Idea also brings an edgy, geometric approach to the basic suit jacket. “The collection is about a new, fresh sensation but also could be read as a mockery to someone else at the same time,” says Choi. With ultra-dapper trenches and vests, the designer pokes fun at the seriousness of menswear.

New York will see Choi continuing his pallet of black, dark gray and beige and adding some artistically structured pants to the collection. Outlined constructions and punctuated trims will continue to appear through buoyant, bold color choices. With the continuing success of his country-people and his eye for the delightfully irreverent, Choi returns should receive the American adulation he deserves.