Born and raised in Alaska, 28-year-old Gia Seo spent most of her childhood exploring the outdoors with little exposure to mainstream fashion. She began modeling and styling at small, local brands before landing an internship at Vogue assisting the likes of Grace Coddington. Now, Seo works with industry-leading brands as an art and fashion director – all the while juggling her side-projects like “texture reporting” and sharing sock-inspired fit pics. Pairing UGG Ready-to-Wear, meet Gia Seo.
Introduce yourself, what you do, and where you call home.
Hello, hi! My name is Gia Seo, and I am the founder and owner of Department Of., a creative agency which offers creative direction from ideation to execution, wardrobe styling, props, and set design. Our goal is to offer more opportunity in the creative space to BIPOC collaborators and community members.
Describe a day in the life of Gia Seo.
A day in the life of Gia Seo can be described in two words: organized chaos. Depending on the day, life chooses to take the reins, or not! Some weeks I have more days on set than I do at home, and my brain is overflowing with adrenaline. Other days I spend walking through neighborhoods of New York longing for different creative opportunities and brainstorming new ways to tell familiar stories. The only consistent thing during my day is adding to the growing list I keep of people that inspire me that I hope to one day cross paths with.
How do you FEEL these days, and why?
A lot of emotions come to mind – I feel happiness when I think about all the incredible people I have had the opportunity to collaborate with or call a friend. I feel sadness when I think about the many missed opportunities as an Asian American woman because I was young and too afraid to stand up for myself. I feel hopeful when I see that with time and resilience, we all come together and continue to create, to inspire, and to see the positive ripples impact the community firsthand. And I feel blessed to be seen and heard by a brand like UGG, who I have admired since youth. Overall, feelings change, but sentiments never do.
As a multi-hyphenate in fashion and self-proclaimed sockfluencer, you wear many hats (and socks). What/who motivates all you do?
Memories motivate most things in my life, dictating the more impressive choices I have to make. Memories of the stories my parents told of the hardships of growing up in Korea and immigrating to the States to create this different life for myself and my siblings. Memories of people who taught me what type of leader I don’t want to be. Most importantly, the memories of my many confidantes come and gone – the lessons they taught me through my mistakes have impacted the type of creative and person I became today.
You founded a creative agency in New York City called Department Of. Tell us about it!
Department Of. was created as an open-ended agency that targets (for now) two categories: creative and community. Our creative work with our larger-footprint clients helps fund our community work, such as collaborating with a smaller brand to launch a full campaign with lesser funding or committing to work with proceeds going to supporting different nonprofits.
FEEL YOU is a celebration of individuality and style. Describe your style and what it says about you.
My style is ever-fluid; if it exists, I’ve probably tried it at one point in my life. That’s the greatest thing about style, you don’t have to define it. It should be free and ever-evolving as you grow as a person, as your environment changes, and as your mind develops. My mentality about my style has always been “go for it, Gia.” You can’t live for others’ expectations of what they believe is cool, relevant, or trendy. Those things feel too temporary and impersonal. I cherish the conversations I’ve had with complete strangers about a vintage piece on the busiest of subways. Style should speak effortlessly for itself.
You’re known for your unique sense of personal style and eye for mixing bright colors and bold patterns with textured materials. How has your style evolved?
I love this question because no one ever quite believes me when I say that when I first moved to New York, the only colors I knew were black, white, and if I was feeling adventurous, different shades of grey. I loved a heavy leather choker, black leather jacket, black leather jeans, platform boots – she had it all. What broke me out of that cloud was starting work at a colorful, multi-brand store circa 2013: a total new frontier of exploration I had forgotten about when I left Alaska and California for New York. I love color and patterns galore, and I don’t think I will ever look back!
Describe UGG and its collection of Ready-to-Wear in three words.
Cozy girl ready!
How does the brand make you FEEL?
UGG feels like home to me – even in my tumultuous earlier New York years of wearing all black and white, I secretly always had my stash of UGG boots in my closet. Sentiment and familiarity are very often the two reasons that drive me right or left. UGG makes me feel warm and giddy, but still has a tough enough backbone to keep me on my toes. I love you, UGG, and I have since I was a kid. Thanks for the fun ride all these years!