Designer Interview: Sunjin Lee

Sunjin Lee is originally from Seoul, South Korea. Studying architectural and urban design from the prestigious Sookmyung Women's University, she started in the bridal world in 2010 when she designed two of her own wedding gowns. She decided that she wanted to turn this passion into a pull-time career and introduced her first collection in 2013. l. Sunjin got her first taste in bridal design back in 2010 when she designed two of her own wedding gowns. This is also when she moved to Portland, OR. Turning a passion into a career Sunjin Lee introduced her first collection in 2013. And we are so excited that she did!

Where do you find your inspiration?

I can get inspired almost anything but a few example of things that inspire are classical paintings and modern architecture.  I like the details in classical paintings and how things can repeat over the centuries.  I try to modernize that through my own perspective and touches.  I really like the creative use of materials in modern architecture.  It inspires me to play with materials that are not traditional bridal.  Woven throughout my inspiration process I am always thinking about romance because a wedding dress should never be without romance.


Once you have an idea, what do you do first?

Once I have an idea I draw tons of sketches for the same idea with different variations and combinations.  Then I end up choosing one that I love.  Once chosen I will choose the materials according to the feel and silhouette of the dress.  Then I will sew a sample in the real materials.  However, sometimes what I love in a sketch doesn't translate well into the real world.  Then I have to modify my idea by sketching more :)

Where do you come up with the names for each piece?

My collections always have a theme that stems from my inspiration for the season.  For example my 2014 collection was called "A Space for Romance" which is inspired by a trip to New York.  Some of the dress named after streets in Manhattan and some of the art pieces I saw there and cafes that I loved...

What is your favorite fabric right now?

My favorite fabric I use right now is a white silk woven with silver threads to give it a little glow.  It's not too loud and very elegant.  I also love my custom made fabric with abalone sequins.  It is a warm white with a touch of silveriness.  It's got a very young and fun vibe.  Last but definitely not least I LOVE my glittering tulle fabric that shimmers like the ocean with the sunshine.  You have to see it to appreciate it.  This tulle has literally brought tears to many people when they see it on the brides or when they dream about being a bride in it.  It is the most romantic fabric I have.

What is your very favorite piece?

My all-time favorite wedding dress I have made is called "Paris."  This dress was named after the city (Paris, France of course!) where I met my love of my life and now husband, Jonathan.  You can call it cliche but it was love at first sight in Paris.  That was a life changing moment and when we decided to get married I also decided to make my own wedding dress which is how I got introduced to this world.  We got married on the beach on the North Shore of Oahu, Hawaii.  The theme of my Paris dress was "a mermaid that just stepped out of the water."  Of course, it was a mermaid silhouette and I handed beaded tens of thousands of Swarovski crystals, sequins and glass beads to create a glittering ombre.  The glitter represents the glistening water on the hem and it gets less and less going up the dress like it would on a mermaid coming stepping out of the water.  When I walked in the dress it looked like a sea of glitter and my feet.  The beading alone took me three months of sleepless nights but it was worth every moment.  It sounds like a lot of work (it was!) but I enjoyed it so much that I HAD to become a wedding dress designer.  One day I want to recreate this dress and include it in one of my collections.

If you could name one, what type of bride do you deisgn for?

I picture my brides as young, successful, fashion savvy, urban and confident.  My bride wants to show off her beauty on her big day and my dresses are designed to complement the beautiful curve of a woman's body perfectly.


What celebrities would you die to see in one of your gowns?

Carla Bruni and Natalia Vodianova

How would you describe your designs?

My designs are:  Urban, Bright City Lights, Modern (opposite of ethereal), Very Structured, Shiny, Simple and Feminine.


Do you have any advice for my readers?

Listen to the voice in YOUR head and don't get swept away by the voices around you.  Push yourself to wear something more special and don't be too conservative in your dress choice.  This is the biggest party you will ever throw yourself and these are the pictures you are going to look at for the rest of your life.  If you find that you are questioning yourself just think about how your pictures will look in 5 years and ask yourself..."Will I regret this choice? Will I wish I would have stuck with my idea?..."

A huge thank you to Sunjin Lee for sharing her experiences, expertise, and collections with us! I cannot wait to see some of our brides in your stunning gowns!