Jessica Jung is Back and Better Than Ever Before

11.23.2015

When faced with roadblocks, some fall and stay down, others find new ways to move on. San Francisco-born K-pop artiste Jessica Jung belongs to the latter. Late last year, shockwaves rippled through the K-pop industry when Jung was abruptly dismissed from the chart-topping South Korean girl group Girls’ Generation. This was then followed by a termination of her contract with former agency S.M. Entertainment a year later. Dedicated fans across the world were in an uproar. The entertainer had, after all, been with the group right from the beginning even before their official debut eight years ago. When forced into solo careers, celebrities have been known to fade into oblivion, but that clearly wasn’t an option for Jung. Instead, she chose to put the stage on hold, embarking on a new adventure in a completely different arena – fashion design. Seeing her break from entertainment as an opportunity, Jung used the time to grow her clothing and accessories label Blanc & Eclare, built around her personal style and taste. It’s barely a year old, but Blanc & Eclare has been met with praiseworthy growth and is currently available at over 50 retail spots around the world. There’s even a beauty line coming up, scheduled to be unveiled very soon according to the label’s site. As for the solo singing career that hundreds of thousands around the world have been asking about? We’re thinking that it’s only a matter of time before it happens. For now, Jung is thriving as a businesswoman with so much more to show. Her identity is now hers alone, no longer tied to something else, and she’s better than ever before.

jessica-jung-lofficiel-singapore-photo-by-joel-low-2Woven stardust babydoll dress, Fendi. “Diva” white gold ring with full pavé diamonds and “Diva” white gold earrings with pavé diamonds, Bulgari. (Photo: Joel Low)

You’ve been in the entertainment business for a long time. How have you changed since you started, if at all? I started training when I was 12. It was interesting and I always viewed it as a fun hobby. It was certainly difficult at times as a young girl, committing to the training, but I tried my best to keep it fun and interesting without putting any pressure on myself. Honestly, when I started, I saw it as a new after-school activity. I had no idea it would turn into what it is today. However, I think I’m still the same old me from when I started – just a more matured version. You’ve taken a break from performing. Does it feel strange, considering you’ve been doing it for the last eight years? Taking a break helps you reflect on both your past and your future. It clears the mind and helps you refocus as to what you actually want to achieve in life. Everyone should do it from time to time. Would you say that there’s now a greater sense of freedom? It depends on how you interpret space and freedom. I’m very busy at the moment from focusing on my brand and my entertainment career, but that’s because I choose and want to be. Like anyone else, when you’re working for an employer, there are good and bad days. Sometimes, you wish you could just take the day off. The difference for me today is that although I have that luxury to take time off whenever I want, there’s more pressure and stress because of my additional responsibilities. Is your solo career in the works? My team and I are working on various different aspects of my career. Announcements are certainly forthcoming. I put a lot of pressure on myself in delivering the best hence I would only want to show my fans the best of my work... when the timing is right.

jessica-jung-lofficiel-singapore-photo-by-joel-low-3Silk beaded floor- length evening dress, Boss Womenswear. “Diva” pink gold bracelet with mother- of-pearl and pavé diamonds and “Diva” pink gold ring with mother-of-pearl and pavé diamonds, Bulgari. (Photo: Joel Low)

Being an international celebrity, bad publicity, whether true or not, is often inevitable. How do you deal with it? Be optimistic and know that things can always be worse than they are today. I’m grateful and content with what I have. K-pop stars often have to act in a certain way to meet public expectations, but that image may not necessarily be who you are. How do you stay true to yourself? I think my fans love me because I wouldn’t necessarily succumb to those standards. Rather I implement an “I am what you see” approach. Be genuine to yourself and the people around you. Let’s move on to your brand Blanc & Eclare. Is it something you’ve wanted to do for a long time? Yes, it’s always been a childhood dream of mine. My mom was probably the first person to know that this was going to happen. Whenever we went to the mall, she would literally have to drag me away from the department stores – I even told her that I would marry a shoe salesman just so I could be closer to the products. When I came up with the name Blanc & Eclare, I basically wanted it to express the brand’s values and priorities – “Blanc” highlights its classic and clean nature, “eclare” points to its clarity and transparency. Blanc & Eclare is built around t-shirts and denim. Do you see yourself expanding it into something bigger? A runway show, perhaps? Absolutely. Right now, I’m taking baby steps in the fashion world. I started launching sunglasses last year, because they’re something that I always use. It’s the same with the jeans. I picked these products because they are all essentials that I always use and wear. I design them based on the fact that I will be a frequent user. I think that is very important – I believe and like the products that I designed. I do want to keep expanding, so stay tuned! It’s coming very soon.

jessica-jung-lofficiel-singapore-photo-by-joel-low-4Wool silk cady crepe shirt dress with flounce details, Gucci. High jewellery “Serpenti” bracelet in white and yellow gold with brilliant- cut diamonds, pear- shaped emeralds and pavé diamonds, Bulgari. (Left); Multi-coloured sequin embroidered oversized schoolgirl dress in silk georgette and patent leather platform pumps, Saint Laurent. “Diva” white gold necklace with pavé diamonds, Bulgari. (Right) (Photo: Joel Low)

What are your sources of inspiration as a designer? Travelling to so many parts of the world gives me a deep source of inspiration and ideas. Every time I go somewhere, I love observing people, looking at what they wear. I name all my sunglasses after the city they are inspired by. The “Paris” sunglasses, for example, are more cat-eye shaped. For the “New York”, they have more of an edge to them. Moreover, these cities [I choose] have two things in common: they have amazing food and a tremendous amount of history and culture. I love getting inspired from travelling. How has your experience as a K-pop performer helped your journey as a CEO? Learning that great teamwork is a great aspect to building success. I have a wonderful team and I am extremely blessed for it. Read the full interview in the December/January issue of L'OFFICIEL Singapore. Download the digital version from Magzter here. [Photography: Joel Low; Styling: Jack Wang & Jumius Wong; Hair: Areum Kim; Makeup: Choi Seon Hje; Styling Assistant: Jingni Oh]