K-pop quintet Itzy has landed in the U.S.
Since their formation in 2019, Itzy — Yeji, Lia, Ryujin, Chaeryeong and Yuna — have been a strong force in the K-pop world with lyrics about self-love and individuality above all else. They’re also ones to watch when it comes to style; they’ve caught the eye of Louis Vuitton designer Nicolas Ghesquière, attending the brand’s 2020 cruise collection show in New York.
Itzy was able to tour the U.S. before lockdowns started happening and made 2020 their year with two hit EPs, each outselling the one before.
“‘Itzy’ means that we have everything you want in Korean, which explains our slogan, ‘All in Us!’” says Yeji. Their Instagram handle is appropriately @itzy.all.in.us, where they boast just under eight million followers. Itzy are making their mark with eye-catching outfits and high fashion pieces on stage and in their videos, but on days off, the women are seen in more casual looks at lower price points.
There are several fan accounts for Itzy that identify items the girls are seen wearing. Lia thinks this is because “many young people around the world love K-pop itself and K-pop style can make someone look a little more energetic.” Chaeryoung has seen these accounts herself and noted, “they’ve even posted some of the accessories that we forgot about.”
Itzy is kicking off the new year with an all-English album, “Not Shy” out Friday, named after their most recent single. The album features the group’s four past title tracks rerecorded with English lyrics.
Yeji, Lia, Ryujin, Chaeryeoung and Yuna spoke to WWD about the process behind the looks we see, personal style and their first time recording in English.
Note: This interview has been edited for brevity and clarity.
WWD: Tell us about the process of recording your songs in English. How did it differ from when you work on your Korean tracks?
Lia: In the process of making this English album, all of us studied English a lot.
Ryujin: It wasn’t easy to record a whole album in English. I had to go over the pronunciations several times. Despite this, I came to enjoy learning the English lyrics.
Yeji: I found that the Korean and English versions have different vibes. It was fun to compare the versions and see how they differ in expression. Even though we recorded the same songs previously, it felt like we were recording a completely new album. We also worked with different recording directors, so it was interesting to receive different feedback while recording the same songs.
WWD: Do you have a favorite line from the new English lyrics?
Lia: There is a line in “Not Shy” that goes, “No yes no, either way, it’s fine,” which in the verse means, “I’m good with everything.”
Ryujin: My favorite line is, “Cause the word hesitate ain’t a part of my game.” I remember being excited while recording that part.
Chaeryeong: I personally like the English hook of “Not Shy.” It sounds more powerful and attractive in English.
WWD: Let’s talk fashion. You’re often seen in bright colors and bold patterns in your music videos and performances. Where do you draw your fashion inspiration from?
Yeji: I put my efforts into preparing myself to be confident in any colors or patterns that our talented stylists bring us. I feel better in outfits when they make me confident.
Lia: I try to see what’s trending from different places and understand what people like about those specific trends.
WWD: Are there any outfits you remember from the past two years that you really loved? Why do you love that outfit?
Lia: I really liked the jogger pants and tops we wore when promoting “Dalla Dalla.” They were comfy but also stylish.
Chaeryeong: I remember thinking the navy velvet outfits that we wore for a year-end show in 2019 looked particularly good! It was a memorable night for me as I turned 20! [Note: In Korea, everyone gets one year older at the start of a new year.]
Yuna: I personally liked the black leather outfits that we wore at a year-end show last year. I just loved the overall vibe, and also our hair and makeup matched our outfits so well.
WWD: How would you each define your personal style?
Chaeryeong: It’s hard to define my style in one word, but I think I like skirts and dresses more than the other members do. I also pay close attention to the texture of my clothes.
Yeji: My style is the opposite of Chaeryeong’s style! Chaeryeong often wears classic looks, while my style is more hip. The difference is in the accessories, too. If I wear a cap or beanie, she wears a watch or scarf.
Ryujin: I always put my comfort first. Also, I like vintage styles. I think I just like the vintage vibe.
WWD: How does your personal style differ from your onstage looks?
Yeji: In my day-to-day, I have a lot of black items since it’s my favorite color, but on stage, I try different styles and colorful outfits.
Ryujin: My personal style and onstage style are different. I usually wear monotone outfits on my off days.
Yuna: I also like to wear more natural and comfortable things in my daily life, although I wear outfits that make me stand out on stage.
WWD: Who is your style icon?
Yuna: My style icon is Kendall Jenner. Every outfit she wears is so unique. I think she makes every outfit look so special in her own way.
WWD: What is your go-to outfit for a casual day out? Is there an item in your closet that you can’t live without?
Ryujin: Coats and jackets are my go-to items. However, because of the cold weather these days, I’ve been wearing puffer jackets. Dresses are also must-have items for me. They’re comfy and give off the vintage vibes that I like.
Yuna: I like to wear black jeans or jogger pants. I wear athleisure a lot, too.
Chaeryeong: Probably my black coat. It’s really easy to match with everything. I’ve been wearing this coat for three years now.
WWD: You’ve attended a couple of Louis Vuitton shows, cruise 2019 in New York and spring 2020 in Paris. How were those experiences?
Yeji: I was nervous but also very excited. It was a completely new experience for me. Now that I know more about fashion than I did back then, I wish I could have another chance to go again in the future. I think I would be able to enjoy it a little more now with my fashion knowledge.
Lia: It was an unforgettable moment for me. I was grateful for the opportunity I was given.
WWD: How does it feel to be recognized by a high fashion house like Louis Vuitton?
Ryujin: I couldn’t believe it was real. It was truly a precious experience that I will always remember. I tried to enjoy as much as I could at that time.
Chaeryeong: It was such an amazing experience. To be honest, I still can’t believe that happened. I would like to attend a show again if there’s a chance.
WWD: Are there any fashion trends you’re currently into?
Yeji: I’m into Scrunchies these days. They’re so cute and can be a staple item.
Yuna: I love wide-legged pants. They’re much more comfortable than skinny jeans.
WWD: With the release of the English album “Not Shy,” what else can fans expect for 2021?
Yeji: I’m excited that we’re starting this year with our English album. From this album on, 2021 will be full of new projects, and we will also try our best to communicate with our global fans. We’re going to officially launch our first official fan club, “MIDZY.” We’re preparing lots of great content, so stay tuned.
Ryujin: We still have so much more to show even after this album. Please look forward to our new looks, new EPs, and projects coming up.
Lia: I’m so excited for the magical time we’ll make with our fans this year, and hope this pandemic ends quickly so that we can meet face to face soon.
Chaeryeong: I’m looking forward to the new changes. I want to meet our fans.
Yuna: I’m excited and looking forward to our new EPs and projects. I also would like to meet everyone with new music and new looks. My heart is already pounding!