Designer to Watch: AMU. The Korean brand is here to create clothing for everyone everywhere, and that luxury isn’t luxury without comfort.
In a world full of color, patterns, and change, it’s not an oddity for one to feel overwhelmed by all the clashing vibrancy; sometimes glamor can just become too much, and sometimes heels or even jeans don’t fit quite right for the day. As blissful dressing comfortably may be, though, the “just got out of bed” look isn’t for everyone – but minimalist Korean brand AMU makes comfort look a lot less like laziness and a lot more like luxury.
AMU is found and designed by Korean fashion designer Nou, who creates her designs based on the respect of the human body. To Nou, the whole human body is “moving space”, so she endlessly studies the perfection of spatial structure by capturing the beauty of convenience in motion. After over 10 years of making and concepting women’s wear, Nou began to feel irritated that she made her work “too commercially”, thus resulting in the birth of AMU, featuring designs Nou makes to represent herself and what she wants to wear.
All the apparel AMU releases are dedicated to being exclusively oversized, an element that is fundamental to the true definition of their brand. Nou describes the beauty of space and structure as important in every genre of art. “Oversized clothing has the beauty of negative space,” Nou explains when asked why she chose to create in solely big silhouettes. “I can say silhouette is one of the most important parts in every item of clothing because the outline of space and structure enhances one’s charm.”
Silhouette isn’t the only thing exclusive about the brand’s clothing. AMU exists in monochrome, sometimes using color for small details. Other than color, comfortable fabrics like cotton, linen, rayon, and polyester are primarily used to achieve practicality and go through different environments and seasons. The designs, although stylish, remain true to being utilitarian, as AMU makes clothes to be worn on an everyday basis – and mixing and matching colors in a hurry isn’t always a walk in the park. The uniqueness of AMU’s designs comes from its equality of beautiful character for anybody who wears them, regardless of body shape, age, and gender; it’s clothing made for everyone, in the simplest, comfiest, yet sartorially elegant terms.
Nou sees things as “spatial arts”; simplicity, comfort, and minimalism are everything to the designer, the key elements to represent the structure of an outfit. It may be difficult to bring these three images together and not end up with the typical oversized tee and sweatpants combination (which is comfortable, but not all too fashionable) but Nou is able to do so graciously by continuously practicing and researching senses and structures. “[I create] based on complete respect for you and for me,” Nou says.
Nou is inspired by everything in her everyday life, from “all the creatures” – as she puts it – to the day when the wind is blowing extraordinarily, even in the middle of a queue in a busy Starbucks. Listening to music also takes part in Nou’s creative process, where sound and tune helps her think about movement. Nou’s inspiration from everyday things culminates in her designs’ broad wearability suitable for any occasion, from parties to running errands to business settings and maybe even funerals. Although the clothes are made for comfort, some designs also consist of buttons and collars, bringing the completion of good presentation and put-togetherness.
For AMU’s next collection, Nou aims to broaden her designs even more so that they truly suit anybody at all, heedless of identity. “In the beginning, I made AMU for myself,” Nou says. “Now, I make it for all of us. We are all the main characters of our own lives.” (Text Jordinna Joaquin)
Photography Sun Choi
Styling Jaechang Yu
Hair and Make-up Jieun Lee
All clothing AMU by designer NOU