That our bodies are more than 60 percent water is a much-relayed upon metaphor. We use it to explain our connection to the world around us. We use it to explain our changing moods.
While silk striped voile, lightweight linen-denim, textured leather, and the remaining materials in Suk Chai’s "Water" collection do not contain this same liquid-to-solid proportion, there is something in us that senses they’re born of rivers, streams, lakes, and ocean shores. And they are.
Water, this collection, is rooted in memories of the quiet fishing trips she took with her father in Alaska in her teenage summers. The strong, oversized silhouettes reference minimalism; the colors are taken from nature’s wetlands; the details are all industry and utility; and the frail, fluid fabrics touch on deep intimacy and soft revelations. The shape, the weight, and the movement of lean big-pocket blazers, leather tunics, engineered duster jacket, and long, jam-like shorts connect with a certain 80s aesthetic which relates to the time frame that spawned the designer’s memories of sound and breeze and current and catch, but the reference is more accidental than explicit. A more deliberate connection with traditional Korean agricultural garb and workwear is twice as nuanced, and twice as meaningful.
“My father is the archetype of strong and silent. I was the youngest child; I couldn’t even swim,” Chai recalls. “We were alone with nature and the need to put in a good day’s work. It was cold, and it could be dangerous. We didn’t talk, we just were.”
The designer’s offering for the collection is a way of being, too—a way, perhaps, of finally having a conversation about light, breeze, beauty of vulnerability and togetherness.