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Life & Work with Jae Cho

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jae Cho.

Hi Jae, thanks for joining us today. We’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
I was born in Seoul, South Korea and grew up in Huntington Beach with vans on my feet and wheels in the street. Where I grew up is very unique and special and it was different from anywhere else in the world, that’s for sure. I was exposed to the highs and lows of outcast youth, pushing me to express my voice and rebel against the norm. Growing up, I experimented with different roles, behaviors, and ideologies allowing me to unite multiple perspectives. Naturally, designing products that deeply consider individuality, youth, and self-expression became an absolute. My childhood and life experiences influence my design process in a big way. In 2019, I graduated from ArtCenter College of Design in Product Design. In my last year, it felt like the right time to start really focusing on starting a brand. I always wanted to start my own label, even as a kid. I hoped it was something I would end up doing for a large part of my life. So I began to connect the dots. I kind of feel like every choice I have made has been a step towards GARBOUGIE.

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
For me, creating something that I am proud of is most important. Jewelry can quickly turn into something based on crunching numbers and data, losing the human touch and creativity. I learned that everything is linked in some weird way. Every day there are issues or concerns that come up that are discouraging. But I do my best to find solutions to these problems and not get overwhelmed. Even if you are doing something right and are successful at it, there are bigger, more complex problems to come. So I just go with it.

Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
Everyone has their own version of the world, unique to them. What other people see of that world is a combination of factors that includes what you do and how you exhibit your life. My world is GARBOUGIE. Throughout the past year, I spent my time quickly absorbing the information that would eventually help create my own jewelry brand, and by extension, a world for people to connect to. GARBOUGIE acknowledges the beauty of imperfections by restoring the old to tell a new story. Presenting a patchwork of sterling silver accessories created from up-cycling, uniting and embellishing industrial parts, old and new. The job is to cut through the chaos, open up conversations and propose possible solutions for the future. The best design strategy is to push outside the comfort zone and inspire action. That’s what I am as a jewelry designer. It’s the medium I chose to express myself and tell the stories that I want to tell. The designers I look up to and the fashion I’ve always loved all have a storytelling element behind it. That’s something that definitely comes up in jewelry as well. It links you to your social circles and friends that are all drawn to the same story. All of the storytelling through e-waste that goes on the jewelry or the graphic references used can be little clues for people who want to go down the rabbit hole to find out more about me and things that make me happy as well.

What matters most to you? Why?
To happily march against the grain with regards to everything. Because I tend to not do what people tell me to do, and they don’t have to do what I do either.

Contact Info:

Image Credits:

Keith Oshiro, Arthur Jung

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