Lee Ki Yeon,
Her Transformation from a Painter to a Designer

Born in Seoul, Lee Ki-Yeon received her bachelor’s degree in sculpture at Hongik University and pursued her graduate work in fashion design at the same university. As the founder of the are group “Dureong”, she initiated the national art movenent and joined the list of “Top twenty artists in the 1980’s”. Currently, she works as the CEO of Jilkyungyee co., ltd. devoting herself to the expansion of the horizon for Korean traditional clothing.

President Lee, who entered the university in 1976 as an art student with an aim of completing a painting genuinely Korean, soon faced the question, she spent her 20s and 30s learning an variety of intangible cultural forms such as play, mask dance, altar portraits of Buddha, folk painting, Korean instrument playing, folk tales, and so on, in an effort to transcend art, a tangible cultural form, and thus challenging common ideas.
In 1984, Lee established Korean Life and Culture Research Center and held an exhibit in commemoration of the establishment of the art group “Dureong” seeking a way of circulating visual arts without relying on the standard route, art galleries. As a result, she turned to cartoons, prints, and hanger paintings, and circulated her paintings through daily products such as calendars, cards, handkerchiefs, clothes. In that prosess, she opened her eyes to the “effect of clothes” in circulating paintings and stared promoting “the Movement for wearing Korean traditional clothes”.

People put emotional distance between themselves and a painting when that painting exists as a work of art. However, they feel quite comfortable expressing their ideas of the painting when it exists as a decoration of clothes, which motivated her to make clothes in thd first place. There are several other factoers that attracted her to thd trade. Second, she noted that while paintings displayed in a gallery are viewd by only a small number of visitors, those in clothes can reach out to more people as clothes become a moving gallery. Third, clothing itself is a cutting-edge art-a movingsculpture-that expresses itself through a living being.

Forth, our behavior and way of thinking depend upon what we wear. President Lee thought that clothing could bridge the gap between art and the public allienated from each other in the modern world. Fifth, she thought that “tradition” could be a short cut to the understanding of modern culture if everyday life reflected culture.

Last, but not least, chlothing is ans effective medium to express a sense of community. With these ideas in mind, she has held fashion shows that combine an variety of art forms including dance, song, theater, and film as well as Korean traditional entertainment. Held twice a year since 1984, Lee’s fashion show showcases “the Movement for wearing Korean traditional clothes” with the general public poised as models. Lee’s clothing drew feverish responses from those who had sharedthe same idea with she nationwide, which motivated the popularity of what is now called “saenghwal hanbok.”

President Lee is also involved deeply with natural dyeing. Having realized the importance of natural dyeing, in 1994, she learned from late Hahn Sang-Hoon, natural dyeing that has handed down since the Joseon period. Later, she participated in the industrial generic technology program sponsored by the Ministry of Commerce, Industry, and Energy and completed several projects including “the modernization of natural dyeing” and “development of sportswear using linen” in partnership with the Korean Academy of Industrial Technology (KAITECH) for three years. In addition, President Lee grew crops in some 33,057㎡ field in order to use them as the source of natural dyes. She experimented with the crops she harvested with the help of local farmers and many KAITECH researchers for many years and succeeded in making naturally-dyed various sportswear ranging from the uniforms of national sports such as archery, kigong, keomdo(Korean traditional fancing), and taekgyeon to golf apparel and held a naturally-dyed sportswear fashion shos as the final report of the project. Since 1999, President Lee has participated in carious international events including Germany’s trade fair CPD, France’s Pret-a-Porter, Paris Expo and Millano Expo. She also opened a showroom in Paris for a certain period of time and exported heer clothing to Germany and France. She also launched a joint brand with a well-known company in Paris. With her experience in Europeas the basis, She now aims to work independently and make a foray into the clobal market.

In 2013, President Lee opened a life-culture center Moobong hun, where she has organized 13 temporary exhibitions, up to this day, presenting the artworks of young Korean artists. On February 2019, she directed a biographical play of Korean female independence fighters combining two distinct genres, history and art. Based on such attempt of genre fusion, she now attempts to present a cultural product combining history and clothing.

CEO Profile

  • 2019. 2
    Directed ‘Biography of Female Independence Fighters 1’, a video-dance-costume fusion play
  • 2019
    Appointed director of Heoim Memorial Association
  • 2018. 2
    Appointed member of the Presidential Commission on Centennial Anniversary of March 1st Independence Movement and Korea Provisional Government
  • 2014. 1
    Obtained a patent on an atopic dermatitis improver using the leftover rice water (patent number 10-1259044)
    Obtained a patent on formaldehyde remover using the leftover rice water (patent number 10-1358074)
  • 2013. 10
    Awarded the Grand Prize of ‘Seoul Good Sign’
    Obtained a patent on antibacterial composite using the leftover rice water
  • 2013. 6
    Awarded ‘Seoul Good Sign’ (Sponsored by Seoul City Hall)
  • 2013. 5
    Sponsored Inter-Pacific Bar Association (IPBA) 2013 SEOUL General assembly Fashion show (held in MBC Dae Jang Geum Park)
    Introduced Korean life-culture experience education (held in Moobonghun)
  • 2013. 3~ present
    Opened a life-culture center Moobonghun (Traditional Korean-style house) & organized 13 temporary exhibitions up to this day
    (related to Fashion, Jewelry, Shoes, Ceramics, Korean handmade paper, etc.)
  • 2012. 6 ~ 2012. 10
    Took on the apparel of the Musical ‘The Brothers’
  • 2011. 5
    Developed functional cotton-clothing, using the effective microorganism absorption method & obtained three patents
  • 2010
    Conducted the Collaborative R&D Program of Inter-Streams of Textile Industry (Sponsored by Korea Evaluation Institute of Industrial Technology)
  • 2009. 4
    Took on the apparel of the Concert ‘Dancing Peace’, for Multicultural families
    (Sponsored by Peace Museum, held in the Grand Theater of Arko & Daehakro Arts Theater)
  • 2009. 1
    Participated in JFW International Fashion Fair (Sponsored by Seoul Fashion Center)
  • 2008. 3
    Participated in LA Fashion Week 2008 (Sponsored by Seoul Fashion Center)
  • 2007
    Director of Dure Korean Life and Culture Insitute (present) Director of Our Clothes Natural Dye Research Center (present) CEO of Jilkyungyee co,. ltd. (present) Director of Peace 3000 and Peace Museum Operation Committee Member of Space Peace
  • 2007. 5
    Masak, Galerie Eyetynine, Paris, France Participated in Paris National Expo, France
  • 2006. 12
    "Masak is Peace" Exhibition - Space peace 'Masak and Illustration' showcase
  • 2006. 11
    Comlpeted "Dsing Development based on Traditional Woodblock Print" sponsored by CFT (Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Energy)
  • 2006. 8
    Graduated from the Graduate School of Industrial Art at Hongik University (major in fashion design)
  • 2006. 6
    Completed the Master's thesis titled "A Study On the Process of "the Movement for wearing Koreang Traditional Clothings" Focus on the Jilkyungyee-woori-ot" submitted to the Graduate School of Industrial Art at Hongik University
  • 1999~2004
    Participated in 17 exhibits and Expos, including CPD in Germany, Pret-a-Porter in France, Paris Expo, and Millano Expo
  • 1999. 4
    Conducted research on natural dye in China
  • 1999
    Held sortswear fashion show
  • 1998
    Established Natural Dye Research Center and Lab (Oweol-li, Gangwon-do) - established environment-friendly "Masak Fashion Show" by invitation at the National folk Museum of Korea
    Naturally dyed New wave clothing
    Lee Ki-Yeon Naturally Dyed Clothing Ceremonial clothing of Korean style
    Masak Casual wear
    Launched "Ggachi Masak:
  • 1998. 5
    Held fashion show at the Opening ceremony of "98 Korea Expo" in Los Angeles, U.S.
  • 1997
    Participated in the "Development of High Value-Added Sportswear Made With Traditional Linen Fibers"
    Project in partnership with the Korean Academy of Industrial Technology (KAITECH) on commission by the Ministry of Commerce, Industry, and Energy
  • 1997. 7
    Conducted research on natural dyeing in India
  • 1997
    Established a natural dye complex and started growing crops in some 33,057㎡ field (Oweol-li Chuncheon City, Gangweon Province)
  • 1996~1997
    Named tradition-based technology development firm (the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Energy)
    Completed research on natural dyeing sponsored by the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Energy (the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Energy; natural dyeing sector)
  • 1996. 5
    Established Dure Korean Life and Culture Center
    Established Jilkyungyee co,. ltd. Our Clothes
  • 1993
    Published "Biography of Kim Hong-Do"
  • 1993. 12
    Opened permanent "the Movement for wearing Korean traditional clothes" exhibition hall in Daehang-no in Jong-no, Seou
  • 1988
    Published "Fly, a hawk in cave of Jangsangot" a critique on life and culture
  • 1988~ 1993
    Gave over 600 lectures on culture of lifestyle
  • 1984 ~ 1993
    Held the Movement for wearing Korean traditional clothes tour fashion show and lectured at various universities (including Yonsei, Dongguk, Korean National Open University, Chungang, Seoul National University of Educagion, Dankook, etc.)
    Held 2nd National Life and Cultre Festival, Presented "Research on Our Clothes"
    Opened non-permanent 2nd Korean Life and Culture School
  • 1984
    Selected as 20 painters of the 1980s (by art critic Yoo Hung-Joon)
    Started the "the Movement for wearing Korean traditional clothes" - manufactured and distributed casual wear of Korean style.
    Held exhibit in commemoration of the launch of art group "Dureong" at Hyungin Museum of Fine Art Established National Life and Culture Rresearch Center
  • 1984. 7
    Established Our Clothes Corporation "Jilkyungyee co,. lte. affiliated with Korean Life and Culture Research Center
  • 1983
    Launched the art group "Dureong" - Conducted research on Korean art forms and held exhibits
  • 1981. 2
    Graduated from Hongik University, majoring in sculpture
  • 1978
    Participated in national folk festival
    Participated in research on Eunyul Mask Dance - participated in the documentary film by the Ministry of Culture and Information