Përshëndetje! My name is Eunjin Cho, also casually known as Lily. I am an artist and fashion designer born in South Korea and raised in Albania. Due to my multiple backgrounds, my entire life I was labeled an “international” and a “foreigner”. As a young child growing up in a small community, I struggled with wanting to fully be accepted by the rest of my peers and even strangers of European descent. I knew Albania was my home – I didn’t know any other – but the constant barriers and differences of physical appearance and language set me apart.
Arriving in the US for university, the label of “international” and “foreign alien” still followed – marked clearly on my passport, student visa, and seemingly on my forehead as well, seeing how professors and other fellow students, clerks at the grocery store, casual acquaintance and more would treat me.
“Where are you from?” This common introductory question became the one I dreaded the most. Did they really care enough to hear the long explanation? Usually, not. By default, the answer was “Korea” although I knew very little of this supposed home country. I was ashamed and even embarrassed to say, because this was the part of myself that I had denied accepting from the start.
At Kendall College of Art and Design, for the final project of Fashion Studies, I was given a task to create a (knit) collection. Despite the many ideas, this one word kept circling my mind – identity. This fixation instantly led to a specific inspiration, the Hanbok/한복, and the traditional Korean garment became the base of the entire collection. It was through these several months of process that I realized it was time to accept the years of my past that makes the base of who I am.
By accepting the title of an International, I aim to keep moving forward knowing that it is not the people or place that defines who or what I can be, but it is my own choice and pride for my cultures that defines who I am.

“Inter-National Pride” combines the many backgrounds and influences of my life. By fusing staple Western patterns and elements with the graceful silhouette of the Hanbok, I created a collection that embodies the story and path of my journey thus far.
“Albania” consists of a bodysuit, long skirt, and jacket. The deep red and hints of black represents the proud and prominent colours of Albania. The skirt sits along the empire waistline of the bodysuit, each made with stretch lace and knit fabrics. The skirt can be cinched/raised on the side seam to reveal a silver pleated underskirt. The distorted reflection on this fabric embodies the years of struggle to see my own self, each pleat folding as if they are wrinkles in time. The red ensemble is paired with a brown, houndstooth-patterned jacket. This jacket was designed to resemble a blazer top, a staple European garment that, to this day, I am very fond of.
Several elements such as the formfitting bodysuit, knit fabrics, lace body and trims, and houndstooth pattern are things that relate to the Western and European cultures. I chose these elements specifically to decorate the entire outer shell of the outfit. However, despite my efforts to capture my young hopes of being European, the silhouette of the Hanbok still peeks through.

Albania Front

Albania Back

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“Korea” is a one-piece dress made of navy, knit floral fabric with black 깃 (git) – collar and trims. This dress is a celebration of a breakthrough! It embodies the many struggles and denying of my Korean side, and coming to the realisation that this is the base of who I am.
The dress mimics the wide and straight shapes of a Hanbok. The v-shaped neckline and pleated body also capture the graceful aesthetic of this uniquely Korean garment. Out of the five Korean colour spectrum – 오방색(o-bang-saek) – the meaning of the blue stands out the most. It brings to mind a cool Spring season filled with trees and youthful spirit; the markings of a new beginning. And the floral pattern was chosen to resemble the national flower 무궁화 (mu-gung-hwa), the Rose of Sharon.

Korea Front

Korea (detail)
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“USA” is a jacket and pant set that blends the Hanbok with the notions of a classical suit. Other than a simple undergarment – 속바지 (sok-ba-ji) – the female traditional outfit does not include any pants. Even modern designs of the Hanbok leaves the 바지 (ba-ji) for the men. Understanding the importance and the long history of pants throughout fashion history, I wanted to include it in my collection and modernize the Hanbok in my own way.
The two pivotal points/places of my life are Albania and the US. Growing up outside of Korea opened my eyes to more opportunities and made possible my transition to America. The style line on the pant stitches these two parts together. The pant also includes two welt pockets on the back, an element of comfort and necessity needed in all pant design.
The jacket was influenced by the 저고리 (jeo-go-ri), an upper garment worn by both men and women. By incorporating the layers of fabric  on the sleeve, and decorative charm on the 깃 (git) collar, I wanted to emphasize the original elements of the Hanbok, and highlight the natural beauty of the garment.
USA Front
USA (detail)
USA (variation)
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