On February 1st, 2023, Rejina was invited to attend a reception at Buckingham Palace to celebrate British East and South-East Asian Communities hosted by The King and Queen Consort. Honouring her Korean heritage, Rejina wore a custom hanbok to the event, masterfully created by Silosilk, paired with contemporary Rejina Pyo accessories. While the silhouette is familiar, hanboks have a rich history little known in the Western world. We have interviewed Rejina and Silosilk studio founder Jaesook Ahn, to learn more about their collaboration and the tradition of hanbok.
Why did you select to wear the hanbok instead of one of your own designs/western dress?
I wear Rejina Pyo every day, but this is a special opportunity to wear the beautiful Korean national dress and celebrate my culture and heritage. Living in London I don’t have many opportunities to wear traditional hanbok and it is something I miss. This is really a chance for me to show my gratitude to my Korean culture, which has and still influences my work and life.
Rejina wears her custom hanbok by Silosilk Studio
How does hanbok reflect Korean culture (what does it mean to you)?
To me it means love and celebration. When I was a child, if my mum happened to come across a Korean drama on TV in which the characters were dressed in hanbok, I wouldn’t let her change the channel because I loved looking at all the beautiful colours and fabrics.
You see someone wearing a Hanbok most days while out and about in Seoul. Some older generation Koreans might wear a more simple version day to day but hanboks are mostly worn at times of celebration, such as New Years, weddings and other special occasions.
Hair by Haco Salon
Rejina Pyo Resort 2023 Accessories
Growing up I loved wearing hanbok on special occasions like new years or visiting relatives. I also wore a hanbok at my wedding in Seoul - it was a special design with huge sleeves and many colours, worn only for marriage ceremonies.
There is a balance of strength and elegance in Korean dressing and I think without even knowing it, this has influenced my work. I can see it in the sculptural nature of my designs and in the colours I use.
Rejina at Buckingham Palace
JAESOOK AHN, Founder of Silosilk Korea
In Korea, we call this process ‘building a hanbok’. There are many stages to this and several pieces made separately to “build” the garment. The material is first woven with high-quality yarn, and each piece is hand dyed. The layers are then cut freehand in a sharp line in the shape of the wearer, ironed, sewed and sprayed with a traditional Korean glue to stiffen the fabric - which helps to create its unique architectural shape.
Individual garments for the hanbok
When making Rejina’s hanbok, the colours were selected in consideration of her background, the venue she was attending (Buckingham Palace) and her personal taste.
The material used for Rejina's hanbok is silk, or 'Pongju'. Historically, silk was actually less glossy, but with the development of post-processing, it is now produced according to the modern sensibility, which has more of a sheen.
Silk Fabrics at the studio
The gold leaf stamping on the hanbok is a traditional royal craft, and was one of the decorative techniques that could historically only be used for people of noble status. The pattern references a traditional motif depicting a Phoenix and letters or characters, but the arrangement of this pattern is a modern interpretation. The accessory decorating the front of the hanbok, the ‘Norigae', is designed as a pair of butterflies crafted with white jade, studded with 'Pearl', 'Blue Gangseok', and coral embellishments'.
Gold leaf stamping