Hanbit was born in Seoul, Korea, and grew up in a beautiful small town called Jo-ahm, which is in the mountains, not far from the sea. Growing up in such a bucolic place, her childhood was spent in nature catching dragonflies and collecting frogs. Throughout her youth, Hanbit was inspired by her father, who painted by day and played musical instruments by night. With such a talented and artistic father, it was only natural that her childhood would be filled with painting, drawing, dancing and playing music. When she was 14, her family decided to immigrate to San Francisco, which changed her life dramatically. Hanbit’s high school years were challenging, as she had to learn a new language and adapt to a completely different culture. These experiences made her stronger, focused, and resilient.
In 2008, she completed the fine arts program at San Francisco State University, where she experimented with painting, drawing, ceramics, dancing and photography. There, she learned to conceptually explore materials, objects, images, texts and actions. During her final year at San Francisco State University, she created a series of paintings about social justice, specifically, human trafficking, using visual literacy and critical thinking abilities cultivated in her previous years in school. In 2015, Hanbit decided to begin an MFA program at the Academy of Art University to finally pursue her dream of being in the fashion industry. After being in the Fashion Merchandising program for two semesters, however, she realized her true passion was to design garments for women. In 2016, she changed her major to Fashion Design, where she acquired her fashion and technical design and construction skills, and developed her own unique style.
The layering of different inspirations: painting, sculpture, music, dance, photography and nature, is a fundamental part of how Hanbit conceives and develops her collections. This openness to marry a variety influences, both similar and contradictory, is a signature of her design aesthetic. Her collections are truly an expression of all of the things she is passionate about, and where one could sense her enthusiasm and playfulness towards life and living.