2019 has been a big year for Ji Won Choi, a Seoul-born designer who studied fashion design in New York and Paris. Back in February, her first collection with adidas Originals debuted at London Fashion Week to rave reviews. In April, Beyoncé wore one of Choi’s designs — a red, long-sleeve bodysuit — to announce that she’s relaunching her own athleisure line, Ivy Park, with Adidas. It was a moment that Choi herself admits will be difficult to top.
“Seeing Beyoncé in one of my designs was the highlight of my career so far,” Choi tells Refinery29. “I’m not sure what else I can do to top this. I was walking on the streets of NYC to meet a friend when it happened. I remember I had to walk into the closest bar to just sit down, calm myself, be present, absorb, and appreciate what was happening.”
While a Beyoncé endorsement is the pinnacle of success for most designers, it’s only the beginning for Choi. Her second collection with adidas Originals is set to drop July 27 online and in flagship locations globally.
In its entirety, the collection explores the idea of movement while reimagining the iconic adidas Originals 3-stripe mark through the lens of sport and culture. The silhouettes celebrate Choi’s Korean heritage while incorporating her unique personal design philosophy.
“I was traveling for research, and I saw the Adidas three stripes in the most remote villages of Myanmar,” Choi explains. “I was so impressed [with] how global Adidas is. Bringing in my cultural Korean references was also important, because it’s a bold move of Adidas to choose a Korean-American designer to collaborate with such a global brand.”
For the second iteration of her partnership with adidas Originals, Choi ventured away from the vibrant colours that marked her first collection, instead opting for a completely monochromatic palette.
“The monochromatic black and white palette is important because the silhouettes of the garments are so versatile, but not everyone is up for bright green, fuchsia, or red,” Choi says. “Black and white creates a completely different vibe. The colours create this fun, youthful vibe, and black and white creates more sophisticated, versatile options. It was important to give consumers the option to play [around] to create their own perfect look with the collection.”
Of the 13 pieces in this second collection, Choi identified one item that’s the clear frontrunner.
“My favourite piece is definitely the jacket with the oversized sleeves with the three stripes hanging down,” she shares. “It’s such a statement piece that really speaks to my design aesthetic while remaining very Adidas. It’s unique, interactive, and fun. I truly believe fashion is about embracing individuality, and that jacket will help anyone achieve that.”
Choi described her creative partnership with Adidas as “an absolute dream.” It’s also proved to be a formidable challenge for the up-and-coming designer.
“I’ve loved the opportunity to push myself because I’d never designed streetwear or tracksuits before,” she says. “I’ve enjoyed being immersed in this world of fashion that’s so relevant and modern. I never would have designed streetwear if it weren’t for this collaboration with Adidas, and I appreciate them for pushing me and teaching me in this direction that speaks to the modern consumer.”