Fashion and Retail Association
Redefining Fashion in Seoul
By: Alexis Park
Seoul Fashion Week consists of five days where independent designers come to showcase their new designs. On top of celebrities attending the show to bring more attention, the innovative designs that the new designers have brought forth have caught the attention of many viewers.
Seoul Fashion Week takes place in the vibrant city of Seoul in South Korea twice every year, with the two dates occurring within the months of March and October. For this March, designers have presented fashion ideas for the winter season. Uniting Korean wholesale companies, this event is important for attracting not just national but also global attention. Dongdaemun was originally a city in which the Emperor most often resided, which meant that small retail businesses thrived nearby. Ever since then, the city of Dongdaemun has become one of the origins of thriving clothing wholesale businesses and other small clothing businesses. Like many other notorious cities within South Korea, Dongdaemun is a city in which nightlife thrives, which serves as a fundamental factor for businesses that have originated within the city. The lively nature that exists within the city for the duration of both night and day, along with the growth of many small businesses, is what makes Dongdaemun one of the most popular tourist destinations in South Korea.
This year, participating designers have brought forth indigenous designs to the table. Companies such as Ul:kin have used concepts of upcycling within the designs of their clothes. Sustainable clothing seems to be an important factor for Ul:kin and it seems to be a part of recent fashion statements in Korea. Ul:kin, which translates to “tangled up” in Korean, may suggest a messy, complicated design. However, the designer Lee Sung Dong has defined it to be otherwise. The goal for the company is to introduce the idea that even upcycling clothes can have equivalent influential fashion statements that luxury clothing brands present. New concepts of the connection between modern fashion and art have been redefined due to many companies such as Ul:kin and I hope that more designs will be introduced by them in the future.
Slingstone is another fashion brand that caught my attention. The main designer, Park Jong Chul, ultimately transformed concepts of traditional clothing in Korea into the modern definition using most colors in a monotone color palette. Unlike Ul:kin, Park presented more of an antique approach to his designs. He used different materials on top of consistent color schemes throughout his designs, color schemes that fit the orthodox masculine definition. Park has ultimately configured his designs in such a way that promotes the traditional definition of masculine through the use of designing mundane pieces of clothing. Park has also altered the designs of the traditional Korean dress hanbok in such a way that Korean traditional clothing fits in well with the modern definition of fashion. This involves the use of integrating modernist fashion with traditional fashion that thrived years before.
Another notorious fashion designer that participated in this fashion show was Lie Sang Bong, whose name was made into their company name. It seems as though Lee is one of the most influential fashion designers in South Korea. In fact, most of his designs caught the attention of oversea designers and models, with most of his designs having been worn by popular figures such as Lady Gaga and Beyonce. Unlike other designers, Lee has a more versatile way of designing his clothing. Lee has admitted to rejecting the modern, traditional definition of Korean fashion, as he wants to implement more diversity with what is part of the fashion trends in South Korea. This involves the use of implementing prints from popular artwork, such as using the popular painting The Kiss by Gustav Klimt, in his new designs. Lee’s definition of fashion has been intriguing and makes me look forward to what will be possibly presented in the next shows coming forth.
Overall, this month’s fashion show presented more unique styles and each designer did their best to show designs that supported and transformed the modern definition of fashion. This diverse outlook on fashion has definitely brought a new perspective to South Korea’s definition of fashion and possibly inspired designers worldwide to adopt new ideas of style. I hope that the next fashion show will showcase new fashion ideas and adopt new fashion ideas that have been presented throughout this month’s fashion week.