Featured Posts

To top
13 Sep

Seoul Fashion Week Revamps With K-Pop, Contemporary Art

Seoul Fashion Week Revamps With K-Pop, Contemporary Art

SEOUL — Seoul Fashion Week‘s spring 2024 edition took place one month sooner than usual amid the stifling late-summer heat, with fashion enthusiasts braving faux furs and leather balaclavas to see and be seen.

South Korea’s largest fashion event reset its calendar from October to September for the primary time since its inception in 2000, and took advantage of the star wattage of the Korean entertainment industry with a view to bounce back from the consequences of COVID-19. Face masks had been compulsory in hospitals and other public areas within the Asian country until as recently as May, making the 2024 spring collection the primary truly mask-free event.

RELATED: K-pop Stars, Luxury Labels Join Frieze Seoul to Have a good time Korea’s Booming Art Scene

There have been considerably larger crowds than previous offline editions of the event that resumed in October 2022. In keeping with the Korea Tourism Organization, the number of tourists to Dongdaemun-gu, Seoul’s fashion district that’s home to nighttime markets, shopping centers, and the SFW venue — the Zaha Hadid-designed Dongdaemun Design Plaza — increased 4.2 times through the month of June alone in comparison with June 2022.

Making appearances on the “blue” carpet and at shows were K-pop girl group NewJeans, who’re SFW’s global ambassadors; Seohyun of Girls’ Generation; actress Han Ye-seul; Taiwanese actor Darren Wang; model Hye Jung Lee, and Nayun, Hye Bin, and Ahin of Momoland.

Even BTS added to the pop-infused energy with an exhibition of costumes from their Billboard Hot 100 topper “Dynamite,” held contained in the plaza’s trade show venue.

Girl band Kiss of Life also attended, donning distressed cargo miniskirts and craftily cropped tops while singing on the runway for Ul:kin. That is the second consecutive season that the eco-friendly brand has opened SFW.

Getty Images

A glance from Ul:kin’s spring 2024 collection.

“A few of my pieces are recycled K-pop costumes and you possibly can even see the names of the artists that their stylists had written on the label,” Ul:kin’s creative director Lee Seongdong told WWD. Waistlines were lower and pants wider in the gathering, as they were for BLR by Kwon Bongseok, who has been making a reputation for himself by dressing A-listers like EXO, Twice, and Seventeen.

“The pandemic was really tough. But Korean popular culture got a lot attention during that point as well,” said Monica Koh of Maison Nica, referring to the emergence of K-pop mega-groups, the Emmy-winning show “Squid Game” and Oscar-winning film “Parasite.”  

“I can feel a renewed sense of interest in my clothes from foreign buyers, especially from Latest York. I believe it’s a byproduct of this attraction to all things Korean,” Koh added.

“It’s great to see everyone from fashion and entertainment gather after the pandemic,” actress and singer Jo Ga Bin, formerly often known as Sojin of girl group Nine Muses, told WWD while attending the SFW debut show for Bludiblu. “K-pop and fashion are inseparable so I actually have all the time been concerned about emerging brands.”

Coming fresh out of an internship with Henrik Vibskov, Bludiblu’s Kim Kyungdeok presented a surprisingly cohesive and mature collection for a first-time label, starting from muted marine stripes and washed-out denim to wild graffiti prints and zany diving suits with mossy motifs that appear to belong on a Mediterranean beach.

SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA - SEPTEMBER 07: Models walk the runway during the BLUDIBLU show at Seoul Fashion Week S/S 2024 on September 07, 2023 in Seoul, South Korea. (Photo by Justin Shin/Getty Images)

Getty Images

Looks from Bludiblu’s spring 2024 collection.

“Bludiblu deals with each art and fashion, and this collection was a likelihood to showcase each at the identical time,” said Kim, who can also be an artist with two exhibitions under his belt. His experimental collection espouses SFW’s dedication to bringing a recent artistic nuance to the event. 

Among the many crowds were VIP guests of Frieze Seoul, which coincided with SFW during its run through Sept. 9. Hosting the runway and trade shows in September was a business-conscious decision that’s mindful of not only the worldwide fashion week slate but in addition the synergy effects of concurrent art events.

Almost a 3rd of the featured brands, from newcomers like #whysocerealz! to established labels like Lie and D-Antidote, collaborated with South Korean artists.


A scene from #whysocerealz!’s spring 2024 runway show during Seoul Fashion Week.

Kim Keontae

Looks from D-Antidote during Seoul Fashion Week.

That is an initiative by organizers, the Seoul metropolitan government, which helped match designers and artists for added retail opportunities. Participating labels partake in a series of pop-ups for his or her collections at three Hyundai Department Stores in Seoul through Oct. 1.

Seokwoon Yoon, a former graphic designer for Gap, collaborated with artist Lee Sangwon to present an embroidered motif for his namesake label. Yoon also found inspiration in “gut” or Korean shamanistic rituals for a series of polychromatic, deconstructed street styles. Lie Sang Bong also nodded to time-honored Korean motifs, with architecturally cut creations taken from “giwa” roof tiles and “dancheong” paint on traditional buildings.

SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA - SEPTEMBER 06: Models walk the runway during the SEOKWOON YOON show at Seoul Fashion Week S/S 2024 on September 06, 2023 in Seoul, South Korea. (Photo by Justin Shin/Getty Images)

Getty Images

Looks from Seokwoon Yoon’s spring 2024 collection.

Off the runway was a special art-meets-fashion exhibition, by which Andersson Bell designer Dohun Kim’s archived clothing was shown alongside work by Uruguayan photographer JP Bonino. 

Despite the art-and-pop-fueled buzz surrounding the brand new season, SFW continues to face challenges.

Only 30 shows were offered this season, which is half of the lineup prior to the pandemic. While veteran labels like Demoo by Park Choonmoo proceed to be fixtures, offering high production values of her signature minimalism, younger fan favorites like Münn have moved to European runways. Han Hyun-min will present his tailored menswear in Milan next month.

“In comparison with the past, the standard of the brands continues to be barely weak. A lot of the brands have shallow collections with only 30 to 40 [stock keeping units], and familiar Korean brands selected to participate directly in Paris and Milan Fashion Weeks. It was a little bit of a pity that we didn’t see their latest season’s products,” said Mengyu Zhang, marketing director for the Shanghai showroom Dadashow.

But even before the pandemic, SFW had suffered the lack of not only its major sponsor but in addition its longtime executive director Kuho Jung.

Makeup giant Amorepacific’s beauty label Hera was SFW’s titular sponsor, providing about $752,000 a 12 months from 2015 to 2018. But an agreement couldn’t be reached to make sure that all 60 or so featured designers would use only Hera makeup products for his or her models.

Organizers, nevertheless, hope to recuperate the variety of featured brands and to strengthen its program.

“We were really inspired by how international couture houses like Gucci held its show at Gyeongbok Palace, or how BTS performed on the World Cup Bridge,” said Sun MinJoo, senior manager of Seoul City’s Beauty and Fashion Industry Division.

“As much as Seoul City is hosting the Seoul Fashion Week, it is sensible to expand beyond the Dongdaemun Design Plaza to highlight different landmarks around the town,” added Sun.

Sun added that the shift in dates has already helped turn things around. “For a very long time, we now have repeatedly had requests from designers to maneuver the date of Seoul Fashion Week to September. Now it’s going to now not happen after the massive 4 fashion weeks come to an end and buyers are low on budget. We had many buyers head over straight from Japan [Rakuten Fashion Week Tokyo],” Sun said. 

A complete of 127 buyers from 27 countries participated within the SFW tradeshow, which featured 94 brands. First-time visitors included ones from Le Bon Marché and Liberty London, in addition to Japan’s Isetan which returned after a seven-year hiatus, in response to organizers.

“We’ve had many buyers and guests reaching out to us first, especially from Europe and most notably Italy,” said Violet Yang, president of trade show organizer Trade Community. European buyers accounted for a couple of quarter of buyers this season, a marked increase from previous seasons.

Amongst guests from Italy was Marcella Di Simone, project manager of Milan Loves Seoul, an event that can introduce Korean designers during Milan Fashion Week next February.

“The Korean wave is completely exploding in Italy. The recognition just isn’t nearly K-pop and TV dramas but there’s also a rising interest in Korean fashion. We’re here to find and introduce recent brands,” Di Simone said.

Jan Friotz Mathias, a buyer for the Emirati concept store Essentials 5ive, said he has been coming to Seoul for its novelty value. “Dubai has the world’s highest brand concentration of 95 percent, so it’s all the time a challenge to seek out something recent. That’s the reason I’ve been coming to Korea for the fifth or sixth time now, to envision out emerging brands like BLR, Ul:kin and Holy Number 7. These are very forward pondering,” he said.

A glance from Holy Number 7’s spring 2024 collection.

SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA - SEPTEMBER 05: Models walk the runway during the BLR show at Seoul Fashion Week S/S 2024 on September 05, 2023 in Seoul, South Korea. (Photo by Justin Shin/Getty Images)

Looks from BLR’s spring 2024 collection.

Getty Images

“When you’re asking which market to look at due to its potential, it will be Korea,” said Joel Adebayo, a buyer for the London multibrand store Not Just One other Store.

“Brands like People of the World really understand the blur between street, athleisure and in addition traditional Korean fashion, while still being respectful of its collaboration with Reebok. And there’s also more a more blended attitude in other ways, comparable to gender fluidity,” Adebayo added. “I would like to start out investing in Korean brands and never just stocking them.”

  • With contributions from Denni Hu

Recommended Products

No Comments

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.