Hyojin Lee / HYOXXI
More than a year has passed since the Pandemic Declared in March 2020. We'd like to know if there has been any change in your daily routine and your work.
I wrapped up my online clothing store running career that I'd been doing for the past five, six years from an early age. Unfortunately, I was also in a slump, and there were many incidents. I could say the COVID-19 Pandemic took a lot from me, but it also made me retrospect on many things. I considered this given time as the very beginning of my 30s(*Korean age) that would solidify me. Turning thirty, I realized I'd known so little about myself. A little late, I've got to know I had to put myself first. I had so many things I wanted to do and knew I would survive without the job I had. I felt I should prioritize my happiness ahead of all.
After closing the online store, I've been having a break, meeting people from different fields. Through these connections, I could realize what I've liked so far and get new inspirations. We're planning on some fun projects to work on together. Once in a while, I also spend some time alone at home and handcraft things. Some days ago, I went down to Han river with some friends I hadn't seen for so long, and we flew kites. I felt so happy on the day. It seemed the moment of joy and delight was not so far away. It's not about having a special event at an exceptional venue, but who you are with, I believe.
We are still in the middle of the pandemic era. Please share your next plan with us.
I could expand my thoughts recently. I'm much freer than when I was running the clothing shop, so I can delve further into the fields I'm into. Isn't the impact of media getting bigger and broader? In this given reality, I aim to do what I can do, something original. I'm thinking of organizing a team like a label as gathering talented friends working in different fields. The crew would cover videography, styling, photography, music and production. My grand dream is to do our best in showing what we've got, build our career and get offers from various clients.
My friends have distinctive styles, and they are really cool. Constantly looking for connections between their work and what I like, I could learn new instruments and unveil whole new worlds. Once I got to know they concern about how to make money out of what they do, there came an idea that we could put ourselves together as in gathering talents. For now, we try out fun projects. I then can take the role of making a profit out of them using my business running background.
On your recent Instagram feed, we saw some drawings of a characterized version of you. Are they sort of your project?
Doesn't it look just like me? I've always been interested in branding myself. I suppose anyone who's into anime would have imagined turning into a virtual character oneself. To make that come true, I created the first Hyoxxi character with , who I'm working with. The character copied how my hair looked and what t-shirt I wore at the time. We had some chats like, "What about adding some horns? I really like those stuff," and built up its universe and story. Come to think of it, aren't there tons of fashion 'otaku' out in the scene? I'm also a huge fan of different sub-culture genres. Many related goods make me think, 'Who can even wear this?' Through Hyoxxi character, I wish to develop them into fashionable pieces. I also consider making some Kakao/Line emoticons and stickers.
This is my attempt to figure out what elements of myself can transform into content or market value. I don't want anything grand from the beginning. I'll take time, starting with small things I can do right now. I consider the fraction of myself framed on my Instagram account as my 'virtual self.' If any other platform comes out, I'll create another 'virtual self,' again and again. Looking for intersections of fast-changing society and what I do and myself, I hope to manage the role of art director in the end.
I often feel there are many people frustrated and concerned, 'Is it the right way? Am I doing it right?' I am one of them. And I suppose the pandemics aggravate it. I wish people can get away with this mess and keep their unique sensibilities. In my case, I started my former career with a pure passion for fashion. I loved the clothes so much, and stying was a joy. It got weathered away in time, and I felt my heart got smaller. Still, meeting up with certain friends, being around them, I feel my heart grows back bigger. I remember all those faces stayed by my side when I was having a hard time. To appreciate their support, I want to become healthier and hold good energy. That's my another goal. To become a good person, to show my better self to my loved ones.
Interview, Photos by Xione Qin
Translate by Sorim Byeon