Designing with Impact Featuring YouJung, Global Top Eyewear Designer
YouJung was born and raised for the first half of her life in Seoul, Korea. Though her parents were fairly traditional, they supported her desire to study abroad. Her parents were believers in that the experience would provide her a chance to look at the world from a broader perspective and beyond Korean cultural norms. Starting in the 9th grade, YouJung’s journey as an international student began. By the age of 15, she had developed an early artistic talent. Four years later she continued on receive a BFA in Graphic Design at SVA in New York City.
Through her design journey, today YouJung is one of only 200 eyewear designers in the United States and is working with Genusee Eyewear, the first circular economy eyewear. This is her story.
My parents always knew that I loved the arts and the act of creation. As a child, they were supportive of me going to exhibitions and taking art classes outside of school. Eventually, when I first started studying abroad at the age of 15, my parents suggested me I attend a high school dedicated to the arts. I studied at Walnut Hill Arts High School in Natick, Massachusetts for 4 years and moved on to studying Graphic Design for 4 years at the School of Visual Arts in New York.
If you say the average person’s lifespan is 74 years old, I’ve only lived about 1/3 of my life time. To be honest with you, I don’t have a specific way of defining my passion towards design but it’s just has been part of my life ever since I was young and I’m still exploring.
So, when I was first introduced to Selin by my creative director/ employer, Alex from Good vs Evil, it was another moment of destiny: I discovered the eyewear industry, where I could apply my expertise in graphic design and 3D design.
Genusee’s first eyewear style is called “Roeper” and it comes in two colors: Crystal Fog and Classic Black. The eyewear is made out of recycled plastic water bottles leftover from the water crisis in Flint, Michigan. When each Roeper is sold, they’re able to upcycle 15 water bottles. Also, Genusee is a major contributor to the Flint metro-area as they are creating jobs for the community through local manufacturing.
For the second collection, we designed more trendy and stylish shapes that could catch people’s attention and give customers more options to choose from. We are also exploring some new colors to incorporate into the second collection.
- Genusee’s second collection is still in the discussion of finalizing the shapes and hopefully we will be able to launch the new styles shortly.
- We’re hoping to work more with companies like Genusee who are creating products that are contributing to society and solving environmental issues.
- We are in the learning stage of Rhinoceros, a 3D design and production program that allows the direct manufacturing of products. Our goal next year is to master this program and take advantage of the latest 3D printed software and printing processes. This will not only reduce time of the first proto sample timing but also be little bit more environmentally friendly, because we are not left with acetate scraps that are cut from the slabs.
- We are also looking to work closely with Wearable Technology start-ups so that their technology can be embedded into highly aesthetic eyewear designs for mass audience adoption.
FROM THE EDITOR
At Conscious, we feature powerful stories about global initiatives, innovation, community development, social impact and more. You can read more stories like this and connect with a growing community of global leaders when you join as a member.v