Biography

Ko Tae-Yong's Biography

Here is short summary of our founder Ko Tae-Yong

The Korea Times
August. 29. 2023

Lifestyle2016-05-01 18:03
Ko Tae-yong, passionate commercial fashion designer

Fashion designer Ko Tae-yong
/ Courtesy of Beyond Closet
By Kim Jae-heun

Thirty-five year-old Ko Tae-yong is a well-known commercial fashion designer, who believes in making marketable clothes. Some dressmakers criticize Ko for his business-oriented mind but that’s what made him a top-selling designer.

Ko was the youngest designer to join Seoul Fashion Week and it only took him a year to launch his brand “Beyond Closet” in 2008 after he graduated from the Catholic University of Korea. But he began studying fashion late when he transferred his major in his mid-20s.

“We were assigned to write a report after watching Seoul Fashion Week,” said Ko during an interview with The Korea Times on April 18. “It’s was not like the designer was giving a presentation and students could barely see the models (because they sat far behind in the back) but the show left me with a strong impression that lingered in my mind of models walking so coolly to such loud music.

“It was then I realized that I wanted to do this job.”

The fashion designer chose “American classic” and “Preppy Look” as the basic themes of his brand, and put new twists on these different concepts every season. Beyond Closet started as a menswear company but now it has become a unisex brand.

Sketches from the collections of fashion designer Ko Tae-yong / Courtesy of Beyond Closet

The brand saw its biggest success when Ko accidentally made a sweat shirt with a dog-designed patch in the middle called “Gae-T,” or “Dog T-shirt.”

“I went to Dongdaemun market and saw a T-shirt with a dog print and letters written New York and Paris. I thought it would be cool to design the dog in graphic on a patch and attach it to the shirt.

“I personified the dog by putting a hunting cap on its head and made one more design like it to sell at Lotte Young Plaza. That was six years ago when rookie designers were given one hanger to sell 15 pieces as a pop-up event and Gae-T was something that I added at the last minute because I didn’t have enough prints,” Ko said.

All the participating designers at the venue said his Gae-T design would sell well and it did. There were no celebrities wearing his shirt for promotions nor did he pay for a product placement advertisement on television, but the shirt hit the jackpot. Teenagers loved the clothing, university student couples wore it together and it became popular among newlyweds. Now, it is the symbol of Beyond Closet.

Patch graphics of Beyond Closet’s hit-product “Gae-T” or “Dog T-shirts” / Courtesy of Beyond Closet

This year marks the 10th anniversary of Ko’s debut and he is opening a flagship store in Apgujeong-dong, Seoul, to present his collection. It has been his lifetime ambition to own a fashion house where he would have a store on the first floor and an office on the second.

“I got the inspiration from this Japanese designer store which had no sign and only his devoted fans could find it. The new shop will be for me and the people who like the Beyond Closet collection line,” said Ko.

The fashion designer also collaborated with popular pop musician MIKA during his visit to Korea last February and Ko is now planning to open a food truck at JW Marriot Hotel in Seoul starting this month.

“I do all sorts of things because it’s so much fun watching my ideas become real. My ultimate goal is to take both the underground and high-end market. I guess I am greedy,” he said.

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