Born in 1977 in Seoul, South Korea, Hanchul Lee is no ordinary fashion designer. Had he not decided to go for fashion - a terrible loss for this field - he would have probably been a lawyer, hopefully a writer. And when we asked where would he see himself in ten years time, the answer was “at Royal College of Art as a visiting professor.”
The first time we met Hanchul was at RCA in London. It was March 2013 and he was working on his “Savage Grace” graduation collection. It was inspired by the movie “Hannibal” - mainly the mix of brutality, elegance and intelligence of its main character - as much as by Japanese Yakuza members with their bodies covered in tattoos, while wearing suits over them.
One thing that caught our attention right from the start was his technical ability: toiles so perfectly executed they appeared to be the final clothes, mind blowing details in leather for a one-of-a-kind sartorial collection which - just as winner Ichiro Suzuki the year before - aimed at re-defining menswear tailoring. We just had to wait for the end of April: it was out of question that the fashion jury would have selected him to be in the Finals.