Within SPACE 519 is The Lunchroom, a 40-seat lunch and brunch restaurant, with an all-day café, serving local favorite, Metric coffee, along with house made sweet scones, gourmet savory muffins, and pastries from Chicago bakery, pHlour. The Lunchroom menu features locally-sourced ingredients and focuses on vegetable forward, California style cuisine. The Lunchroom represents the final piece which brings a fully integrated European style concept store and restaurant to Chicago.
JW: Soyun, we are so beyond excited that you are coming to Chicago and bringing an amazing selection of goods. One reason I believe we have had so many years of success with SOYER is that it is a knit collection that really embraces a sexiness that feels modern and chic. What is your inspiration behind SOYER and the woman that you design for?
SS: I am SO excited to visit Chicago and meet the amazing clientele of women you’ve helped to make SOYER fans.
My inspiration behind the brand has always been simple-to make a woman feel an internal sense of confidence and a tactile feeling of coziness. She is sophisticated, smart, well-traveled and understands that luxury does not need to be about a label, but is a state of mind.
JW: One of the strengths of SOYER is the art of layering. What is your advice for the client that is just getting her feet wet with this sophisticated styling?
SS: The concept of 'knitwear dressing’ may be an unfamiliar one for a lot of women but the way I like to present the collection each season is to show how versatile the pieces can be. I keep the soft cashmere styles to be worn closest to the body and from there, offer layering options like cardigans and sweater jackets that build up the look. It's the ultimate way of modern, luxurious dressing. The ‘luxury' aspect is simply in that one can feel totally comfortable while knowing that she looks very chic, very put together.
JW: Being from Los Angeles, do you have a different take on sweaters and how women on the west coast dress for the seasons?
SS: In LA, a cardigan is considered the “LA jacket”. I think with the warmer weather in the west coast, women don’t always need ‘outerwear’ so to speak but still want to have that statement piece to finish their look. I like designing for that, a fully- fashioned cardigan that is designed to look like a ‘peacoat' for instance that may be perfect for the west coast woman, but, in the colder regions like Chicago, that sweater ‘peacoat' becomes a statement layering piece over and under something else.
JW: What are you excited about in your trip to Chicago, and meeting you client base in the Midwest?
SS: I’ve never been to Chicago, so I am very excited, not only to see this historical city but truly engage with the client base that SPACE 519 has cultivated. I’m curious to know who they are, what they love, what they get excited about.
As a designer, it’s essential for me to not only understand how the line is received and worn by the end clients but also to discover who they are individually and how each of them feels about her signature style, what makes her feel confident and elevated.
JW: Another brilliant moment of SOYER is that it works for many body types across the board. Is that something you take into consideration when you design?
SS: Absolutely! Women are very aware and know their bodies, what silhouettes work for them and make them feel confident. It’s absolutely essential to offer a variety of cuts and silhouettes within a collection, not only for a body type but simply for a mood. Somedays call for a great, oversized boyfriend cardigan and other days a sexy, feather light cashmere pullover.
JW: What are you really digging in Los Angeles?
SS: LA is really opening up as a city. It’s finally becoming a very walkable city, especially Downtown LA. I love how so much of the old historical buildings are finally becoming occupied with really, really good restaurants, underground bars and the occasional cool but elusive speakeasy, art galleries, actual brick and mortar retail shops that stay open past 2 pm… these are all things that may sound typical to Chicago or New York, but here in LA, especially in the last 5 years, it’s quite new and novel to us Angelenos.
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