Ti:baeg - A Natural Perspective
Nature, Romanticism, and Contemporary Fashion are This Designer’s Cup of Tea
Story: Dianne Pineda-Kim
Photos: Lorena Jiménez
There’s something profoundly moving about making a cup of tea. The simple act of dunking or steeping the tea leading to the warm water, the earthy colors trickling through the tea bag, and the aromatic fragrance diffusing through the air all combining to create that perfect moment—a moment of stillness and meaningful, hushed conversations. It transports you away from the daily hustle of life, while awakening the mind to the present. The art of making and drinking tea is what gave Seoul-based fashion designer Eunae Cho the idea to name her brand Ti:baeg, which is known for its soft, sophisticated looks and colorful graphics inspired by nature. “Like a small tea bag that produces a nice color when you put it in the water, the brand Ti:baeg looks better when you wear it,” Cho explains. “I think Ti:baeg shows new flavors and tastes depending on who wears it. It's our pleasure to draw out the potential appeal of the wearer through our clothes.” The brand’s story resonates with the designer’s vision: “The way a tea bag infuses its rich flavors into water, Ti:Baeg will release the colors within you.”
Clothes with a story
The designer’s affection for tea was pretty apparent when we visited her quaint shop and studio that sat in a secluded location just outside Yeonnam-dong. Aside from the colorful array of clothes hanging on the racks, a variety of teas in boxes and cans lined her long table and shelves as though they’re a part of her collection. “I really like tea,” she says with a smile as she welcomed us in. There’s a sense of calmness about her that is quite unexpected from a busy designer who’s also a hands-on mom. She was also quite shy of being in the spotlight, despite having spearheaded a successful brand with products stocked in some of Korea’s most prestigious department stores, collaborations with big names, and participation in international fashion shows around the world. Her design philosophy goes beyond visually pleasing clothes and trendy aesthetics. “I want to make clothes that I can enjoy, not clothes that I can wear. Clothes that can be beautiful, not just beautiful clothes. Clothes with a clear, personal identity and clothes that are worth it.”
Ti:baeg was first launched through the Seoul Fashion Creative Studio to rave reviews. Consumers were immediately drawn to the brand’s honesty and new ideas devoid of pretense. Ti:baeg’s delicate silhouettes and predilection for a romantic look made for a refreshing entrance into the highly competitive world of fast fashion. Through her collections, Cho embraced tea’s “perfect moment,” showing that there is beauty in artistry and simplicity as she creates a narrative behind each piece of clothing. “Romanticism is an essential element in Ti:baeg, a yearning for a beautiful, fresh period of time, a yearning for a mature, elegant woman. I think the brand shows the process of a girl growing up to be a woman.”
A love for nature
Her 2019 F/W collection offers one example of Ti:baeg’s compelling storytelling that varies and becomes more memorable every season. “The theme for the autumn and winter collection is ‘Melting Clouds.’ I wanted to express the feeling of ecstasy when I saw a cloud-filled landscape from the window of an airplane. We wanted to show the bright colors of that scenery: the blue sky, white clouds, and soft pink of the sunset,” she explains. “It’s very poetic and feminine.”
Ti:baeg showed this collection at the last Seoul Fashion Week, with dreamy outfits that are reminiscent of the sky: graphic prints of natural elements intertwining, blue denim made brighter with Swarovski crystals, sheer tulle skirts, beautifully layered outfits, and puffed sleeves that mimicked overlapping fluffy clouds. Even in the cold winter, Ti:baeg aims to bring forth a feeling of warmth and tranquility through clothes that will hug anyone who wears them.
“I have liked clouds since I was young, and I like small plants, green grass, flowers, and breathtaking scenery. I like to travel and take a lot of pictures, most of which eventually become the motifs of Ti:baeg's prints,” Cho says.
Nature will always be weaved into the fabric of Ti:baeg, both in inspiration and actual production of the clothes. The brand’s affinity with nature is consistent with its advocacy for sustainable fashion. Not only has the brand been extended to safe, stylish children’s clothing, it also incorporates environmentally friendly practices that emphasize recycling, waste reduction, and using eco-dyes that have no harmful chemicals. “I get a lot of inspiration from my daughter. Having children adds consideration and responsibility for the next generation,” Cho says. “I can't do everything eco-friendly, but I'm trying hard and I'm going to keep doing it.”
For Ti:baeg, the clothing is the message itself. “We are constantly trying to show nature through themes, moods, and designs. We are not trying to promote the topic of sustainable fashion just because it is a big issue today. Ultimately, it fits the theme and direction of Ti:baeg.”
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