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In The Spotlight: gu_de

Meet gu_de: the South Korean brand creating the modern ‘It’ bag.

South Korea is known for cuisine and the ever-growing K-Beauty scene, but what about the fashion too? gu_de pronounced ‘good’ is the South Korean brand filling the sweet spot of sculptural, design-led leather bags that don’t cost the earth. We caught up with Founder and Creative Director, Ji Hye Koo, to discover more.

How did the brand come about and what is your background?

I majored in textile design at University and after graduation I worked as a designer for national fashion brands like KUHO and LEBEIGE (Cheil Industries Inc.). After working as a designer for over 15 years in Seoul, I felt the thirst to create my own brand that people can see an identity in, and also one that will maintain its value after time. So, I launched gu_de in October 2016.

What does your brand name mean and how did you think of it?

The word ‘gude’ is how the Scots pronounce good. I chose the word to represent the fact that our brand’s core values are offering our customers a luxury quality product at an affordable price. And we wanted to keep the Scots spelling to reflect our uniqueness.


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What does it take to start your own brand?

The ability to show sophistication, creativity and originality while ensuring one’s originality is kept unique. I also think it is necessary to have insight to see the changes and trends of the times.

How would you describe the brand aesthetic and what sets it apart?

gu_de pursues unaltered beauty by offering the ultimate balance between the past and present. Essentially, we create understated bags with a unique silhouette and interesting details, introducing fresh colour ways each season. gu_de’s vision is that of the “New Classic”, instead of making fashion conscious products for one season, we aim to make products that can stand the test of time. And because of this we are especially concerned about sustainability when choosing materials or shapes.

Who is the gu_de woman?

Confident, independent and stylish women of all ages; those who enjoy high quality fashion and reinterpret what “classic” is and make the styles their own, creating a “new classic” look.


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What style icons inspire your work?

I am usually inspired by characters in movies or novels or even people in the past who have their own unique colours.

How do you get inspiration for your designs?

I am a very curious person. I enjoy being inspired by all things around me – bookstores, museums, movies, music and people on the street.

Have your travels inspired your work too?

I love to travel and like to use this time to unwind and rest. I’m so inspired by new cultures from other countries – arts, people and especially vintage markets in whichever country I’m travelling to.


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A post shared by gu_de_official (@gu_de_official)

What is your favourite piece from the current collection and how would you style it?

My current favourite piece is the Love Bag from the collection. I usually do not like being too formal or boring, I enjoy styling by layering or adding colour to my look together with the Love Bag.

Where is home and what are your must-do’s for visitors?

I currently live in Seoul, South Korea. Seoul has many wonderful places where the past and the present coexist. I recommend a visit to Euljiro and Ikseon-dong.

What’s next for the brand?

Aside from bags, I would like to consider expanding the gu_de offer by designing footwear and clothing.

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