The South Korean shoe designer to discover

Introducing Yuul Yie.

[Y]uul Yie is the uber cool Korean shoe brand that has created an Instagram sensation. Founded by designer Sunyuul Yie in 2010, the brand specialises in handmade, made-to-order shoes from Italian leather, proudly manufactured in South Korea. Identifiable by their unique asymmetric toe and geometric heels, the designs have caught the attention of everyone from Emma Roberts to Meryl Streep.

As the brand gets ready to launch at Dover Street Market this month, HUNGER caught up with Sunyuul to talk statement shoes and K-culture.

Hi Sunyuul, what inspired your distinctive shoe designs?

I usually get my inspiration from old artists especially who had a definitive characteristic and philosophy of their own rather than contemporary artists. For the reference of the colours and mood, I refer to Henri Matisse and David Hockney. I also really love the Ettore Sottsass’s drawings and collections. Also, the furniture like chairs, table, small tools or sculptures give me ideas for creating shoes. Because they are alike with shoes and they have many points that can be applied to the shoe design.

How did you originally get into designing shoes?

I used to work as a designer of women’s clothing. But the moment I stepped into a shoe factory by chance, to help in my senior from school, I felt that I should be a shoe designer. It was such a strong and definite feeling. The smell of leather, the sound of the hammer, all the scenarios of that day overwhelmed me – so I started to work on shoes right away.

Why do you think K-Culture has become so influential in the West?

The generation who gets inspiration from Europe or Japan is getting older. But based on that generation, a new generation who are starting to express their own personality has come forward. Koreans are really good at absorbing the new – and creating something based on the new. And we have talent and dexterity, especially in the fields of fashion or music. All of these things make the culture of Korea exclusive and distinct.

Who would be your dream collaboration?

It changes very often but currently I want to work with Ashley Hicks. Salvatore Ferragamo is on the list of my dream collaborations too. I think this brand is very significant in terms of the history of high-end shoes. Mixing the classic mood of Ferragamo with our contemporary vibes we could create a contemporary high-end classic mood. Among the ready-to-wear brands, Jil Sander and I could also have a good synergy.

Does South Korean style influence the shoes you make?

My own personality does, not the style of South Korea. Although I have the DNA of a Korean, I don’t think that it is reflected in the shoes one hundred per cent. By every experience I have, new ideas come out. I design based on this.

Who is your style icon?

It changes all the time but, I like the chic and casual mood of Jane Birkin. Currently, I feel affection for Tilda Swinton’s style especially her aura rather than just her fashion. I like those with a style created by themselves not led by fashion or trends.

What is top of Yuul Yie's To Do List for 2018?

Opening a flagship store in Seoul is the first thing on my wish list for 2018. But doing a pop-up store event at Dover Street Market London is important to show customers in the UK what Yuul Yie is all about.

Follow Yuul Yie on Instagram for more shoe inspiration and find the brand in Dover Street Market from February 2018