Ariya Sacca: From South Korea with Love

Ariya Sacca

All images – Ariya Sacca

LONDON, United Kingdom — Asia has been a mecca for design for centuries, with the intricacies and simplicities of traditional and modern Asian style celebrated the world over. Ariya Sacca is one such brand that has taken Asian influence to the international fashion scene. Hailing from South Korea, designer Donni Choi channels his sophisticated style to translate Korean traditional wear for use in the modern world.

Engineered For Today

Despite the traditional influences documented in his collections, Donni has taken a rather revolutionary route to launching a brand of his own. His first major was not fashion, it was textile engineering, where Donni learned about the more technical side of design whilst studying physics, chemistry and mathematics. As he progressed through his degree, Donni’s interest in textiles took over and what began as a pipedream became an ambition that took him from his homeland of South Korea all the way to the US.

“I was staying in San Diego and was trying to figure out what was the best way to spend time in California. My English was poor but I decided to take a class at a college, just for the experience,” said Donni.

For some reason, I chose a fashion school and registered for a class. Oh boy, did I love it! I moved to Los Angeles for the second year and then naturally I began working in the field of fashion.

Modern Meets Traditional

It was in Los Angeles where Donni realised just how many people were interested in Oriental culture. He witnessed the rise (and rise) of Asian traditional wear with kimonos and cheongsams becoming fixtures in many wardrobes, as well as the American takeover in “Asian towns” like Little Tokyo and Korea Town.

Donni’s brand, Ariya Sacca was founded in 2014 after he spent 12 years working in the fashion industry, for the likes of Richard Tyler as an apprentice and Seoul-based brand FLOW where Donni took the lead as Creative Director.

“I thought I had waited long enough to start my own brand. I had always admired Japanese avant-garde designers like Issey Miyake, Yohji Yamamoto and Rei Kawakubo for their effort to show how Japanese traditional culture could mix with modern fashion. I thought it might be worth trying to do the same for Korean traditional culture, and with that the brand was born,” added Donni.

When starting my own brand I realised that it is hard for people to wear traditional garments on a daily basis, they are just too exotic and not practical enough, even for Asians. That was when it occurred to me – I should be the one to make such traditional clothing more wearable, so it can be incorporated into people’s everyday style choices.

Introducing Hanbok

“Whilst I am familiar with Korean traditional clothes or Hanbok due to my upbringing, I never had a chance to study them, so my first task was to find out more. I tried to figure out what my ancestors were thinking when they made clothes. During my studies, I found that Hanbok uses flat patterns, but when worn, it transforms the contours of the body to create beautiful silhouettes,” said Donni.

Using these flat patterns with modern atmosphere and bold colour blocking, Donni developed his own style, aptly named “squaremorphic”, a style that is evident in his latest collection.

Whilst in Donni’s words it is too early to say that South Korea is a style destination, his modern meets traditional take is getting enthusiasts like me and you familiar with its fashions. And while many trends will come and go this season, Ariya Sacca’s experimental and yet timeless designs are here to stay.

Ariya Sacca

All images – Ariya Sacca

Courtesy of: Donni Choi | Website: | Also available at:
Brittany Thorley About the author

As a self-professed keeper of wisdom and words, Brittany is passionate and almost fanatical about bringing the lesser known designer brands to dedicated followers of fashion everywhere. The FG Magazine is just one outlet for such things, whilst she spends much of her time musing across the net at The Clothing Lounge.