For over a hundred years, South Koreans have emigrated to America in pursuit of opportunity. From plantation labourers who settled there in the early twentieth century to the students inhabiting its universities from the Mid-Century onwards, the cross-cultural community has birthed the contemporary archetype known as the ABK: the American-born Korean. Through a South Korean lens, they embody the wardrobes of American lifestyles: the laid-back cool of California and Hawaii, the sporty prep of the Ivy League, the casual country energy of the Western heartland.

For Spring-Summer 2025, Wooyoungmi expands the idea of the ABK into a liberal exploration of the style domains shared by the two cultures in different ways: yuppie sartorialism, collegiate prep, surfer bohème, agricultural utility and the baseball uniform. Observing the historical nature of the source material through the brand’s forward-thinking Seoulite mentality, the study evolves into a conversation between the past and the future; the hand-spun and the technological. Created with South Korean hand-executed craftsmanship, the collection is Madame Woo’s most artisanal to date.

Inspired by an idea of Far-East Asian cowboys, a lean silhouette is nipped at the waist with cummerbunds cinched with the crisscrossed lacing of early baseball jackets. The sensibility of the game’s uniform travels through the collection, manifesting itself in laced suede jackets and suede or denim waistcoats, knitted varsity jackets, cotton baseball suits, cotton baseball logo tops, laced cowboy gaiters and structured baseball trousers and shorts in leather, suede, cotton or denim. A WYM logo drawn in the style of South Korean seoye calligraphy is hand-painted across a satin baseball jacket.

A sense of the wild, wild East takes shape in slender durable workwear suits and cargo trousers in drill or denim, topstitched denim suits, knitted polo shirts, plaid shirts and bojagi shirts constructed according to the South Korean art of tying knots. The feeling triggers a desire for the organic and crafty explored through the minimal and graphic sensibility of Wooyoungmi: magnified wooden surfer necklaces hand-painted with orbital WYM logos; knitted surfer beanies; knotted mixed-material trainers; woven leather loafers; hand-crocheted dresses, tops and shorts; coats and jackets veiled in netting; and knitted dresses deceptively sliced up with graphic V-shapes.

The Great Plains of South Korea are immortalised in tapestry trucker suits and bags woven in the image of an ancient South Korean landscape painting. Projecting this rootsy atmosphere into the future, a zigzag graphic informed by the geometry of historical South Korean patchworks is drawn by hand to produce an organic yet futuristic form. The motif appears throughout the collection, on nylon bombers, reversible blousons, poplin shirts, surfer tops, linings, cummerbunds and bags. Its light sense of sci-fi – an element infused consistently in garments – is echoed in the hi-tech appearance of speed-inducing Oakley sunglasses.

On its Korean-American travels through time, the proposal observes the relaxed yet formal yuppie tailoring of the ABK businessman, underlined by shirts and neckties. Transformed through the bohemian attitude of the collection, it materialises in billowing silk suits and coats. Simple but ceremonial, they are constructed with the sensibility of oriental temple cloths. The sentiment is cemented in the sampling of monastic singing bowls on the show’s soundtrack composed freely in the spirit of the South Korean Mantra of Light using elements from around the world.