Jungho Geortay, tailor man

07.12.2015 - Dries Tack

Saint Paul is a line of luxury shirts featuring an exclusive print on carefully selected fabrics. A sharp sartorial style laboratory that has won over customers from Paris* to Tokyo, from Berlin to Barcelona. A line with a strong identity created by Korean-born Jungho Geortay - Paul is his Belgian name – who grew up in Verviers and studied at La Cambre and the French Institute of Fashion before conquering Paris. A look back at a rigorous and uncompromising career.

Jungho Geortay, tailor man
Jungho Geortay, tailor man

Was men's fashion an obvious choice?

Yes, from the outset. Basically, I wanted to make clothes to wear myself. I also find men’s fashion to be particularly challenging because it has to make a statement with only the basics to work on. It’s not as ostensibly easy as women’s fashion design.

Was the international ambition also there from the start?

Of course! There’s no real choice. We were encouraged to go in that direction at La Cambre, and anyway, today, everything is international. When you post a photo on a social network, it immediately goes around the world. When you put yourself out there, you’re talked about. And customers love nothing more than an international brand. If they know that the product is appreciated elsewhere, in another country, on another continent, even if it's for another reason, it confirms their choice.

Jungho Geortay, tailor man

Lanvin, Kenzo, Jean Paul Gaultier, you’ve worked for the biggest names in the business. What did you learn from these design houses that you now inject into your own brand?

I didn’t want to create my own clothing line right away. La Cambre pushes us to do that, but I was convinced that I had to hone my skills elsewhere. My time at Lanvin was crucial. I learned the codes of luxury tailoring, I got to know the men’s clothing market, its peculiarities. I picked up a real technique. By dint of touching the fabrics, of choosing between one stripe and another, you train the hand and the eye. My creative vision was also enriched with a more commercial vision. For me, creativity is not just about making eight-sleeve jackets. Although it may sometimes be the case, it must also be adaptable to a precise specification. And each house has its own. And since I'm not confined to only one brand, it’s allowed me to express my creativity differently.

Jungho Geortay, tailor man

Alongside your work for Armor Lux (luxury knitwear brand, ed) and Paul & Joe, you’ve launched this line, Saint Paul. What was the trigger?

When I was first assistant at Jean Paul Gaultier, I didn’t have the opportunity to create prints, as this part of creation is reserved to a specific group of people. But it’s work that I love and I wanted to prove I was capable of doing it. I started doing it for myself, I would design shirts and give them the name of the day’s saints. A kind of textile logbook. I had no intention of creating a brand, until Elisabeth Pallié, a journalist with Le Figaro, discovered my work and encouraged me to develop it. And that’s what I did. My first client was the Printemps du Design in Beaubourg.

What do you consider to be special about Saint Paul?

The research that goes into the prints, the personal and qualitative approach. And of course, the artistic approach. The fact that I work on a specific pattern, by hand, that enters into a dialogue with the fabric, the cut. It is by working this way that my designs will remain timeless. And that they will appeal to a broad audience. It is also the result of its strong identity, which I adapt, according to my moods, to make it more casual, more classy, ​​more arty. This means that a lot of people can identify with it. I don’t want the brand, the style to dominate the person wearing the shirt.

Jungho Geortay, tailor man

How do you see fashion, and how would you like to see it evolve?

Ethics are essential. We, the actors of the fashion world, have a responsibility to communicate properly about it. Fashion is not only what you see. It entails the participation of many talented people who toil in the background. The shirts that I create are the outcome of encounters with craftsmen, of their work. Making a beautiful object, hand in hand with these craftsmen, is more rewarding than seeing a star wearing my creations. That is also why a fair price is essential. It must reflect these hours of work by the many craftsmen. A high price does not come from a high margin. It simply reflects all the work that has gone into the item.

* the shirts are on sale in the Galeries Lafayette and in other stores

Jungho Geortay, tailor man

Isabelle Plumhans

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