Michael Yoon makes a fashionable impression

Photograph by Amy Leong

Whether it’s for business advice or what to wear on a Friday night, Michael Yoon knows it all. Elected as co-president of the Business Leadership Club and president ofthe Fashion Club, Yoon is a bigger part of the school than many people know.

Yoon’s interest in fashion stemmed when he was in high school and attended his first fashion show in Seoul, Korea that was sponsored by Gucci, Burberry, Louis Vuitton, Hermes, and many more. “When I got home all I could think [of] was one word in my head – ‘fashion’,” said Yoon. “That show changed my life.”

From then on, the latest trends, designers, and styles were constantly flowing through his mind. To Yoon, that experience made him realize that “fashion is the key for people to enjoy and express [the] different and hidden characteristics within a person.” So it was only natural for Yoon to want to create a fashion-oriented club once he got to Bellevue College. But this ambition wasn’t always the first thing on his agenda.

Yoon’s parents, who are very traditional Korean parents, disapproved of his ambition. “They aspire for me to work in lucrative fields, such as medicine, law and business – [which are] studies that do not interest me at all,” said Yoon.

Though Yoon respected his parents’ wants, he could not shake the true passion that was in his heart. So against their wishes, he took a few design courses. Unfortunately Yoon’s parents found out about his secret agenda to reach his goal of having a career in fashion and informed him that they would no longer pay his tuition. For most this ultimatum would be reason enough to set their dreams aside, but for Yoon this was a challenge he was willing to take on.

“This inspired me to major in business,” said Yoon. He took this as an opportunity to expand his skills that he would later be able to use in the fashion industry. But Yoon learned afterwards that studying business can be a bit hectic at times. “My first few business courses were strenuous,” said Yoon. “I quickly grew exhausted and needed motivation to continue my schooling.” His solution? To create Bellevue College’s first Fashion Club in fall quarter 2011. Because Yoon could not “pursue an education in fashion,” he said, he used the club as a way “to channel [his] interests and passion for fashion with others who have similar motives.”

With the goal to “inspire the creativity of fashion amongst Bellevue College students by sharing and creating new styles,” Fashion Club meets every Friday from 1:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. in C211 and invites everyone with an interest in fashion. “Fashion Club is full of enthusiasm,” said Yoon. “Each member wears their own personal style of fashion and share their fashion tips and gets feedback from other members as well.” Members also get to be part of multiple photo shoots that allow them to gain more modeling experience and appeal to their own character. Yoon already has experience from modeling for a Korean online clothing store in high school and also getting the opportunity to model at his high school graduation. No wonder he was voted most fashionable!

The club has expanded significantly since being just an idea in a fashionable young man’s head. With 66 official members already, numbers increase every week, as well as the participation in the club’s events.

This is probably because Fashion Club creates an environment where everyone feels welcome. According to Yoon, the members are really close to each other like one big family. “We welcome new ideas and never judge individual’s thoughts,” he said.

Combined with Ellie Kow, co-president, John Dang, the secretary, Daisuke Sato, the project manager, and Koichi Sato, communications/advertising, Yoon has high hopes for the club this year with the goal to incorporate more ideas of fashion into the club and inspire members to use their creativity to share and create new ideas that can help the club. In the very end, the ultimate aspiration would be to have a huge fashion show like UW did last quarter.

Although Yoon’s main niche is Fashion Club, he continues to attend to his business side. The Business Leadership Club has hosted many events over the past couple quarters such as the Cultural Potluck. “It has honored me to be the co-president of such a prominent club such as the Business Leadership Club,” said Yoon. He has many plans in the months to come not only for Fashion Club, but for the Business Leadership Club as well.  On May 17, they will be hosting “Alumni Night” where students can meet successful graduates from the college and network with them. “This is going to be the biggest event we’ve done this year with rare opportunities, so don’t miss out and come join us!” said Yoon in encouragement to all students who want to build more business connections.

While these two clubs may seem like they never intertwine, Yoon has found a way to combine them. With recruiters from Nordstrom, Campus Point, and Verizon, both clubs are collaborating to host the event “Dress in Success” on April 24 to inform students on how to dress for job interviews, internships, or a networking event like Alumni Night.

Another event that is very exciting for Fashion Club will be held during Earth Week where they are planning an Eco-Fashion Show. Co-hosted with the Sustainability Club and Dj Club, they are making clothes using mainly newspaper, cans, and recycled bags. Creativity is a necessity for this event and will truly make it one that will be talked about for a while.

Whether fashion is your thing or not, Fashion Club and Michael Yoon show us that fashion is more than just the clothes you wear. It is a combination of what you like, the goals you set out for yourself, and the boundaries you push all coming together to express who you are.

We look forward to see what Yoon has in store for BC next as well as in the election for Vice President of Student Affairs and Pluralism.