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The Insider

The Insider: Mimi O Chun

The Insider BY monica derevjanik 12/16/2013



If Mimi O Chun isn’t already on your radar, well, it’s time to change that. Just follow the graphic designer’s instagram, and you’ll see exactly what we mean. Our very favorite projects of hers? Her Couch Pocheeto series, her stuffed Hipster Emblems, and the seriously clever tote bags she created for Of a Kind. Get to know what gets her going below. 


Q: What does the O in your name stand for?

A: My mother’s maiden name was Oh, and she liked the letter O as a graphic symbol. So she just dropped the H and gave me the O for my middle name. People are always confused by it—like, is it like Michael J. Fox, is it just a J? Is it just an O? And then there are people who think I’m Irish and add an apostrophe after it.


Q: What’s one design faux pas that drives you absolutely insane?

A: For me, design is about starting at its simplest form and then adding the necessaries. It’s about revealing the truth and beauty that’s already apparent. I’m always about paring down rather than adding. Some artists seem to overdesign for the sake of designing.


Q: What was the last exhibit you saw that completely blew your mind?

A: It was nearly two years ago, but I’d have to say it was Tomás Saraceno’s Cloud Cities at the Hamburger Bahnhof in Berlin. He had these large-scale, bubble-like structures that were surreal and unearthly. But what made the exhibit even more impressive was that the scaffolding of his structures mirrored that of the great hall of the Bahnhof, which made it a truly immersive experience.  


Q: What’s you no-fail go-to outfit?

A: My go-to is, for lack of a better word, a shapeless black dress—but then I throw on some interesting jewelry. One of my favorite pieces is this necklace I bought from JF & Son, which used to be on 5th and University in NYC. It’s like a leather braided cord with two pieces of cast concrete on either end of them.


Q: Concrete? Isn’t that really heavy?

A: Ha, yeah, it’s a little heavy, I guess. You definitely wouldn’t want to go hiking with it or move too quickly while wearing it.


Q: If you could do a wardrobe-swap with anyone, who would you choose?

A: I think it’d have to be Catherine Deneuve’s character in Belle du Jour. She has exquisite taste—double-breasted wool coats, tailored shifts, even her hats! And it’s even more intriguing because she spends her days in a Parisian brothel.


Q: It’s Friday night, and you’re staying in. Which movies and snacks do you grab?

A: I am totally a French New Wave enthusiast, so I’d pick Eric Rohmer’s Claire’s Knee. I love how he pares down his films to their most minimal elements and that there’s no manipulation. Everything is shot wide—there’s no dramatic music. As for snacks, I’m definitely a savory person, so I would probably grab dumplings of some sort. So a little bit of Asia, and a little bit of France.


Q: Who was your celebrity crush when you were a kid?

A: This is really embarrassing, but I really loved Sting. This is like pre, pre that Trudie Styler tantric sex thing. Definitely more Police era. I was totally obsessed with him.


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