With the cooling fall weather and falling leaves, while others are bringing out their autumn sweaters and heavy jackets, some are strutting out in their brightest clothing designed for summer and spring. What for?
It’s Seoul Fashion Week; the time for designers to display their latest collections for the coming seasons ahead. This time, the models are walking down the runways in the new Summer/Spring 2016 collections.
As South Korea continues to grow as a cultural hub for tourists and creative artists all around the globe, it’s inevitable that Korean fashion has been widely noted for its innovative and quirky style, unseen in other well known Western brands. Here are the top five Korean brands that stood out in this year’s SS 16 Seoul Fashion Week.
Kim Seo Ryong
Titled “Hey, Good Looking”, Kim’s SS16 menswear collection displays a range of aesthetics, from colorful abstract prints to more classic silhouettes. Kim established his brand in 1996, and is most well known for his finely tailored suits with his occasional touch of “rock star excess”. By using tougher materials such as leather and unconventional colours, Kim made even the most classic pinstriped shirt or plaid blazer look bold and outstanding. Contrastingly, Kim stuck to more neutral colours such as beige or black for louder prints. The stars of the show, however, were his colourful geometric pants and blazer, maintaining Kim’s signature eclectic rocker look.
Inspired by the term Prima-Donna, meaning the first woman in Italian, the womenswear brand is renown for its girly and quirky prints, combining dollish and edgy elements in the clothing. This season’s collection had a combination of extra girly pieces, with its sheer lace tops and flowing silk robes, and bolder, more manly articles, such as the slit leather culottes and varsity sweatshirts. Jei Kim, the designer of Flea Madonna, even paired the two together, with hooded jumpers and fluffy tulle skirts, creating an interesting juxtaposition between the casual tops and the more feminine bottoms. With slicked back hair and classic red lips, the models paraded down the catwalk, truly like prima-donnas.
Cres. E Dim.
Short for “crescendo e diminuendo,” the gradual increase and the gradual softening of sound, the brand Cres. E Dim. was launched in 2009 by Hong Bum Kim. Kim created unconventional silhouettes by having the fabric “overlapping the body…cut into fragments to add rhythm” (Cres. E Dim. official site). Pinstripes were all over Kim’s pieces, from trousers to collars, thick and thin. Playful icons, reflective of a circus, were spotted on many of the tops, and the models also sported trendy thin scarves around their necks. The colour palette was youthful, borderline tacky, with louder, elementary colours paired with muted denim and pastel tones. Silhouettes were either loose and boxy, with irregular necklines and extra wide lapels, or short and flirty, with high slits and body-hugging skirts.
Kathleen Kye’s high-end street style brand KYE is adored and worn regularly not only by Korean celebrities, but also by others around the globe. She has held shows at the New York Fashion Week event, and has showrooms in other global fashion hubs, such as Paris and Milan. This season, a common print was the continuous serpentine loops. The models bore midriffs, shoulders, and leg, in sheer mesh, short skirts, and cropped shirts, that all bore Kye’s signature black and gold or sweeter candy-coloured hues.
BAEMIN X KYE
A collaboration between one of Korea’s top delivery service systems, Baedal Minjok, and a world renown fashion label produced some of the most whimsical and edgy clothing seen at this year’s spring/summer SFW. The collection featured fun and comical phrases, such as “Please don’t lean on the door” and “Entrance forbidden: Officials only”. The combination of Korean typography and fashion was unexpected, yet ultimately refreshing and original, as seen on the oversized sweatshirts, sporty bomber jackets, and flowing silk shirts. Many of the pieces were almost a collage-work of multiple Korean texts, from newspapers to street shop signs, creating novel graphic designs that have captivated fashion moguls from all around the world, including British fashion blogger Susanna Lau.
While New York, Milan, and Paris are all well-respected global fashion capitals that carry some of the world’s most recognized brands, it’s nice to come back to our roots and appreciate the great style that surrounds us today: in Seoul.
Which designs or brands allured to you the most this Fashion Week? Let us know in the comments below!
– Seiyeon Park (’17)