Korean culture is taking the world by storm—K-pop, K-drama, Korean movies, K-beauty. Following in tow is Korean fashion and one of the designers leading this meteoric rise is Chung Chung Lee, the talent behind the fashion brand, LIE which he’s steering with his sister, Nana Lee. Lee was born to renowned designer parents who founded the legendary Korean fashion house, LIE Sangbong. Since the age of six, Lee’s world has been surrounded by runways and fashion weeks.
Fashion runs in the family as the sibling duo decided to branch out of their parents’ fashion house and became fashion designers in their own right. But the two noticed the growing desire for more affordable luxury fashion not just in South Korea but also in the world, so they joined forces to start their own brand, LIE, which stands for life is expression. Since its inception in 2011, LIE has grown into one of the most notable fashion brands in the industry, having multiple pop-up shops throughout Asia.
Fresh off LIE’s presentation at the London Fashion Week, the fashion brand is headlining the Seoul Fashion Week Spring-Spring 2022 collection, which runs from October 7–15. Tatler caught up with Lee to talk about his team up with his sister for LIE, being one of the main highlights of Seoul Fashion Week and where the brand is headed next.
You and your sister are the sibling-duo behind LIE. Can you tell us more about working with your sister for the brand?
My sister and I have been working together for more than 20 years, including the times that we were working for LIE Sangbong during our college years, and she has been my best partner. It feels great to have someone you can fully trust and someone you're not afraid of honestly discussing problems with. Of course, there are times that we face disagreements, but the relationship has been healthy I guess, as we are still talking to each other quite often!
I take care of the whole creative process and my sister oversees the marketing and sales. She is in New York so we will speak over email and phone call and see each other in different cities usually for LIE shows and showcases, except for the last year and a half. I am so happy to work with her.
Fashion seems to run in the family since your parents are behind the fashion house, LIE Sangbong. Did you always want to be a designer?
Not really. My parents never pushed me to become a fashion designer or study art, so I never thought of becoming one until I went to college. Unlike myself, my sister went to art school throughout her life since she was 12 years old, so everyone thought she would be a designer when she graduated from Central Saint Martins (CSM). However, as it turns out that, I was the one who wanted to be a fashion designer after graduating from arts and design at CSM. My sister decided to move away from design and go into management. After realising my love for fashion, I re-enrolled myself to major in fashion design for menswear at CSM.
What was your childhood like? Growing up, you must’ve been surrounded by runway shows and fashion weeks.
I was very lucky to grow up in such a unique environment. I watched my father’s fashion shows since I was 11 years old. I was always fascinated with the runway and live performances, which my father was well known for, as well as the artistic stages as a whole experience of fashion. It was fantastic! They were very busy and worked even on weekends, so their studio was my playground. All the experiences from my special childhood have given me a lot of inspiration until now.