Her 2011 collection is an exhilarating blend between the Seattle melancholy and James Bond chic.

The black cocktail dresses are clean, crisp, and cutting-edge. The New York Fashion Academy graduate has engraved delicate vertical and horizontal grain lines on the skirt and bodice of the dresses, conjuring images of a Zen garden in the middle of a vibrant cosmopolitan.

The subtle grain lines also help accentuate the wearer’s frame.

Blotches of white and gray paint add a certain quirk to the overall look, as if to play on the idea of imperfection – blemishes that add brilliance to the dark and gloomy.

The 2010 collection, on the other hand, has more strength; it is bolder and more radiant.

The white and black contrast near the hem of a tweed trench coat kindles a pristine finesse only seen in avant-garde architecture.

“My dad was an architect [and] I used to build houses with [him],” Jee said. “Since at a really young age, I was interested in art.”

One of the dresses has a white ruffle-skirt with shocking red lining underneath the petals, which offers an ironic image of classy flamboyance.

Jee’s clothes cost from $300 to $1500.

“I know I was meant to be a fashion designer…I knew at a really young age I wanted to do fashion,” Jee said.

Despite earning first place in the Vancouver Fashion Week and placing second place in the Seamless in Seattle competition in 2009, Jee has taken an indefinite hiatus from her own design 1abel.

She said that while developing her most recent collection, she found it difficult to find a medium between the artistic and the corporate side of fashion design.

“Fashion is business, [but] I looked at it purely as an art,” Jee said. “All artists will question themselves, ‘Is this what I want to do in life?’ One of the things I learned to do is block the noise. Whether negative comments or people, don’t listen to the noise. They will always put you down.”

Another factor that has influenced Jee’s decision to postponing her creative work is her unwillingness to compromise her aesthetic vision over financial success.

“I am constantly hungry for beautiful work. I have a very high standard. I do everything custom-made,” she said. “[My clothes] are more exclusive, one-of-a-kind, artistic work, not ready-to-wear.”

Jee currently works for a “nationally branded sales floor” with the intention to form connections in the cutthroat business of beauty and glamor.

Besides polishing her personal taste, Jee hopes to find a sponsor that can give the Tanya Min Jee label the same kind of artistic freedom that Christian Dior and Alexander McQueen enjoy.

Like the great fashion icons mentioned above, Jee said that she wants to conquer the world of high fashion someday. Her weapons of choice: perfumes, shoes, accessories, and women’s wear that scream “luxury.”

“My vision is definitely designer luxury. My dream is to own an empire,” said Jee. “Hopefully I will get there. I know I want to put my taste in everything.”

Assembling fabrics into adorable garments is not the only goal Jee has in mind. Underneath all the stitching and the draping, lies Jee, the artist who is concerned with communicating ideas through wicked style and personality.

“Self-expression is important [to me],” Jee said. “Things are never set in stone. I do see myself in something more creative in the future. I am very open at this point. The hiatus will end [when] I’m ready – full blown, the way I want it to.”

The story was originally published by The Thunderword.

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