I’ve been asked a lot about the meaning of WINDFALL 횡재. For me, it’s way more than just a cool name.
I’ve wanted to start a clothing brand since high school. I sketched designs and logos in all of my classes, brainstorming my business plan, imagining what it’ll be like when I finally make it. I pursued art in college, thinking I’ll breeze through all this just until I can leave for my brand full-time.
But after a while, I could tell something was wrong with my approach to life. Underneath all the smiles and laughs, all the passion and drive, I felt empty. But I couldn’t bring myself to admit it. I had so many unaddressed issues deep in my psyche, deep in my soul, and they all manifested in unhealthy ways that I was just now recognizing. I needed this brand to work out because I thought it’d save me from my problems. And I realized it wasn’t going to.
So with this newfound self-discovery, I embarked on a journey to try and fix myself. Trying to dig deep into these insecurities and face them head on. I tried to stop lying to protect my feelings. I tried to stop worrying about how I looked all the time. I tried to be comfortable with the fact that I may just be a nobody. (tried is the key word here) It was hard.
But I’m grateful that during all of this, I had a little help. I had an incredible religious experience; a spiritual revelation. And I felt such intense peace and ease in my soul. I experienced the answer to all my questions, and it changed me. But it was a lot to process.
I didn’t know what I was doing anymore. Everything I was and everything I wanted to do felt so disingenuous. It was all deeply entrenched in unhealthy thoughts and ways of thinking. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to do this brand anymore. Which was strange and discomforting because I built my entire life around it. I built my entire identity around it.
Over time, my sketches from the past few years felt like they were done by another person. The messages and maxims I wrote down, I slashed and marked through half of them because I didn’t believe in them anymore. Hell, my brand name didn’t fit at all anymore. So one day I combed through pages and pages of synonyms and definitions trying to come up with something new. Until there it was. I found it. On dictionary.com.
def: unexpected good fortune
It was perfect. And that was the (re)start of it all.
It wasn’t until two years later that I added the Korean characters to the name. 횡재 “hweng jae” which translates surprisingly very close to “windfall” in Korean. But why did I do that you ask?
Well first off, it looks badass. I mean seriously, it just adds such a nice little oomph to the brand. But also, (a bit) more importantly, it symbolizes an internal reconciliation of my identity. Something that I struggled with my entire upbringing; feeling like I didn’t belong.
For those of you who don’t know me personally, I’m half Korean and half White. I grew up in public school while attending a homogeneous Korean church on Sundays. In brief, I was too Asian for the Whites, and too White for the Asians. I just wanted to fit in somewhere.
WINDFALL 횡재 for me meant finally coming to terms with who I am. Not rejecting one half for the other, not masking parts of myself to fit in, but knowing who I am and accepting it. Embracing it. And loving it. It was me being comfortable in my own skin with my appearance, my weight, my personality, finances, everything. Finding meaning and purpose to all this.
Those are the highlights at least. It’s been a pretty rough road. It’s still hard. I still struggle. And I’m still trying to figure things out for myself. It’s my hope that through my experiences, by being transparent and talking about them, I can bring light to some things that you may be going through. Because I’m going through them too.
That’s what WINDFALL 횡재 is.
Get to know yourself. Deep down. DEEP deep down. Reconcile these parts of yourself. The darkness with the light. Make a distinction between who you are, and what this world has made you out to be. Figure out what makes you, you.