Jessica Jung on Moving into Fashion From K-Pop: 'It Came Very Naturally'
“Modern classic” is how Jessica Jung describes her line Blanc & Eclare. With a flagship store in Soho, a country apart from Jung’s native San Francisco and an ocean away from Seoul where she’s flourished as a K-pop star, things are moving in the right direction for the three-year-old brand.
Launched in 2014 amid her departure from one of South Korea’s most successful K-pop acts, Girls’ Generation, Jung serves as Blanc & Eclare’s creative director, infusing her personal taste into the label’s ready-to-wear, denim, eyewear, skin care, and accessories lines.
Decked out in a Ralph Lauren beribboned blouse and classic black slacks ahead of the designers S/S 18 show later that night, Jung was the picture of easy-to-approach styling as she sat down with Billboard amid a whirlwind New York Fashion Week [NYFW]. During her short time in NYC, the 28-year-old was jumping between shows, hanging with friends --like model Irene Kim and f(x)'s Amber Liu-- , and holding a special fan signing at the flagship store, blending her role as fashion purveyor and K-pop star.
“When I think of the Blanc & Eclare girl, I think of me,” Jung said with an airy laugh. “That’s kind of why I started this brand. I wanted something... I didn’t want to overdo things with fashion. I wanted to mix and match the basics and classics to make it, you know, effortlessly fashionable.” Solid colors and sharply cut, feminine designs are the key aesthetics of Blanc & Eclare to match Jung’s vision for the brand.
After getting her start in Girls’ Generation in 2007, Jung went solo in in 2016 with her first EP With Love, J. She's released two following albums, including this year's My Decade to commemorate her tenth anniversary as a singer, all the while working on Blanc & Eclare. Balancing her role as a singer and as creative director doesn’t appear to phase her, reflecting her intense dedication to her passions.
“When I’m in a meeting with the Blanc & Eclare team, I’m really focused,” she said. “I don’t have a lot of time so everybody does their work, and we all come together, and we focus, and we get things done, and then the next day I have to go have a concert. [And then] I’m a singer, Jessica. It’s just daily life. It’s just natural.” She reaffirmed the hectic state of her life-work-balance, adding with a wry grin that her lifestyle has her on the move more often than not and that’s the state she thrives in. “It’s very natural for me now. A lot of airplanes, a lot of flights, a lot of hotels. Go home to pack and leave. But I’m used to it.”
Giving credit where it’s due, Jung described the brand as a “group effort,” showering praises on the team she’s worked with to grow Blanc & Eclare, describing herself as the face of the brand. Sold in stores throughout Asia and continuously expanding -- they’ll be launching an optical line next --, the K-pop star describes the brand as a dream come true, one of her many.
Much of Jessica Jung’s life is about taking in the world around her and tailoring it to her fit her lifestyle, which is precisely what she’s done with Blanc & Eclare. “When you buy something, you might want it a little bit more longer or a little bit shorter. So I just wanted to make [something] for myself and people who follow my fashion and what I wear.”
Drawing inspiration from the greats of bygone eras -- Audrey Hepburn, Grace Kelly, Jane Birkin are Jung’s style icons -- and her globe-trotting lifestyle, the singer’s been able to build a brand based on her casually chic identity. “Because of work I travel a lot and because of that I can experience different cultures, and see and talk to a lot of different people so I get inspired by that a lot,” she said.
Being in New York for NYFW, the burgeoning fashion entrepreneur expressed excitement about being able to feed off the energy of the city in style. “I come to New York a lot but it just feels different when it’s fashion week. I’m inspired by the fashion people here, the fashionistas here, the influencers, everybody’s just very fashion forward and very trendy. It’s very inspiring and fun to watch.”
With the brand expanding, Jung expresses the hope that she’ll be able to open more Blanc & Eclare stores in the future, hoping one day to see one in her hometown of San Francisco, or maybe Los Angeles. “I have many more dreams,” she said.