peggy gou
Incheon-born DJ Peggy Gou was listed as Forbes 30 under 30 in 2019. Source: Kevin Winter/Getty Images North America/Getty Images via AFP

Ask any fan of Peggy Gou, and they’ll describe her as a fashion icon.

The South Korean DJ had an interesting educational journey before she rose to fame in 2016.

Peggy Gou was born and raised in Incheon until she left at 14 to study English in London. 

It was here where she was exposed to an unconventional musical education — by going out to parties and meeting different people. 

In an interview with GuardianGou shared how she spent three years living with guardians as a minor, but “I became a rebel. I lied to them, and I’d come home late [from parties].”

After a brief return to Korea, Gou’s creative journey started while attending the London College of Fashion. 

At 18, music entered her life after a friend taught her to DJ. That led to her first gig at Cirque Le Soir, Soho, and weekly performances at the Book Club, East London.

Fashion to editor to DJ-ing: Peggy Gou’s journey

peggy gou

Peggy Gou was the first female Korean DJ to play at the famous Berghain night Club in Berlin. Source: John Macdougall/ AFP

Preoccupied with teaching herself how to produce using the audio software Ableton, Peggy Gou unsurprisingly failed fashion school. 

“My parents didn’t let me come back to Korea, because I failed, and they were like: ‘Do you know how much your course is? If you don’t pass, you’re not coming back,” she told Guardian

After another two months, she eventually graduated from the London College of Fashion. 

Fresh out of university, Gou’s creative instincts led her to become an editor for Harper’s Bazaar Korea before she moved to Berlin to make a name for herself in the music industry. 

During this period, Gou’s focus shifted from fashion to music as she made good her ambition. 

While talking with Guardian, Gou recalls her parents’ reaction when she wanted to forgo fashion to pursue music full-time: “In the beginning, I remember they were like, ‘You want to do fashion, and now you want to do music? What next? Are you going to change your mind again, after one-two years’?” 

Gou promised that she would prove her passion to them, and if she failed, she would return home and pay them back every cent they gave her.

That never happened as her relentless spirit led to her spinning at Berlin’s most exclusive nightclub Berghain as the youngest and first female Korean DJ.

Funny enough, it was fashion that sparked her interest in music. 

“I always wanted to become a stylist, and then I realised I sucked at it,” she said during a shoot with Harper Bazaar Malaysia

“I am only good at styling myself. I’ve realised that styling myself and styling other people are two totally different things. But while I was discovering that, I discovered DJ-ing and music, and that was when I learned production as well.”

From there, she began to hone and craft her unique sound and style, making her recording debut in 2016.

Launching her own luxury fashion line: Kirin


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Today, the multifaceted 31-year-old DJ and fashion designer has her own streetwear line — Kirin.

All it took was an encounter with Virgil Abloh, artistic director of Louis Vuitton’s menswear collection, in 2019 that led her to start her fashion brand.

Named after Gou’s “spirit animal”, the designs marry traditional Korean mythological motifs with club culture graphics, debuting at Paris Fashion Week in 2019.

“We met at an event where we were both DJing, then he introduced me to [luxury fashion company] New Guards Group, which [Virgil Abloh’s brand] Off-White is part of. When I sat in my first interview, they said: ‘We see some of Virgil in you.’ That was a great compliment, in my eyes. Virgil and I are very ambitious, we always think we can do better, that there must be more possible,” Gou shares in an interview with Vogue

Peggy Gou also mentioned her struggles coming up as a DJ due to her background in fashion.

“I felt I was being taken less seriously. Or maybe I just told myself that — like a self-fulfilling prophecy. But at some point, I thought to myself: ‘I love clothes and shoes and I don’t want to hide that.’ I wanted to be me. If I were standing in the crowd, I’d be happy to see that a DJ had made an effort and not just put on a shirt. A lot has changed in the meantime.”