Tell us a little bit about your background.
I am from South Korea and I am half Japanese and half Korean. I grew up in Australia all my life. I finished high school really young (when I was 16), because I skipped 2 years. I was fresh out of school and about a year later my parents moved to Tasmania. I couldn’t go to university because I had to support myself since my parents moved, so I worked full-time for about 2 years.
Last year, I started attending FBI Fashion College in Sydney, Australia. About 6 months later I started interning at Grazia and Harper’s Bazaar. I actually got a job offer from Grazia but I didn’t accept it because my heart was not in it.
Not long after, I had this epiphany that I should be doing something that I love. So I started selling vintage on the side, with my full-time job. Then after about 2 months I decided to take it full-time.
When and how did you become interested in fashion?
When I was younger I didn’t really know who I was or what I wanted to wear but I liked fashion just like most girls. This is going to sound really corny, but I can even go back to when I was probably about 4 and my mom says that I would change outfits like 3 times a day.
I remembered that I dreamed about being a designer when I was 7. As I got older, I realized it was a bit harder to get into. I want to design my own things but I don’t think I would be the next Chanel. I think I’d just be happy having people wearing some of my designs. That would be enough for me.
Fashion comes with confidence – when I got a better idea of who I was, I also got a better idea of what I wanted to wear.How has your style evolved over the years?
In primary school, I didn’t really care about what I wore. I was probably influenced by Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera.
My high school years were rough and I think that would be true for most people. It was all about looks, what you wore and who you knew. Gradually I realized that I didn’t have to care about what others thought of me - this is how I am.
I think that’s why I was drawn to vintage because it gives you options to dress however you want. I had started op shopping in high school and this was before vintage became huge. I met so many people outside of my bubble, and learned that there are many interesting people out there and that made me realize that I want to travel the world, meet new people and experience new places.
This is my 5th year out of school now and I definitely think every year I’m still changing. I’m still evolving. Looking back at my 18th birthday, I remember that was when I became much more comfortable with myself. I think fashion comes with confidence – when I got a better idea of who I was, I also got a better idea of what I wanted to wear. I would say to find your own style - just first be comfortable with yourself.
How would you define your current style?
I like everything simple yet effective – simple, chic, and affordable. I would say everything I wear is usually vintage and a bit eclectic. Some days I’ll dress preppy and some days I’ll be a bit more grunge.
Do you have a favorite piece?
I have a huge ankle boot collection that’s all vintage and I’m always adding to that. That’s one thing that I don’t think I will ever sell. I’m one of these girls that I’ll wear it for a day and then I won’t like it anymore. At the moment, I really love that blue dress from my recent blog, the one with the white peter-pan collar.
When we looked through your blog, we were really impressed with how professional your photos look. How did you do it?
I definitely recommend investing in a good softbox to take nice photos.A lot of the photos on my blog, I just take myself. You can sometimes see my hand remote. It is good to invest in a SLR camera since I can see the huge difference in regular digital cameras vs. SLR cameras now that I got one. However, it’s not about buying the most expensive camera. I think the key to a good photo is all about lighting. Without the professional lighting, I think using a softbox really helps. I definitely recommend investing in a good softbox.
I was drawn to vintage just because I didn’t like going to stores and buying everything that I would see a girl wearing down the street. I definitely wanted to be different. I didn’t want to wear something that everyone will know where it’s from. I remember going to an op shop and finding this dress, where I had never seen that kind of a print and colors before in my life. I altered it and changed it like 10 different ways and I just wore it for like a year. I could not part with it. Ever since then, I realized that vintage offer more options.
For me, I think the one thing I love the most about my job is going and actually looking through all the racks and the feeling of finding something that you love and knowing that no one else is going to have it. I don’t keep that much for myself anymore. I just put it all into Gary Pepper Vintage. I’d rather someone else enjoy it instead of me.
Launched less than 6 months ago, Gary Pepper Vintage is already getting featured at Frankie and Famous. If you haven’t checked out Gary Pepper Vintage yet, you should do it now!