Designers End Seoul Fashion Week with a Bang
And so another fashion week has passed us. Peppered with refreshing innovation, Seoul Fashion Week reflects the bombshell of a year we have had. The sleek buildings of Dongdaemun Plaza saw an influx of celebrities, models, and designers alike. Basically, anyone who is anyone was there, creating a whirlwind of color and excitement, the most the square sees all year. Unfortunately for some of us who were unable to experience this atmosphere, we have to settle for living vicariously through the pictures and videos that we saw surface on the internet. With multiple shows happening per day, it can be quite overwhelming to keep up with it all, which is why we have compiled a list of the prominent trends and looks from the shows this year.
In Korea We Trust
It’s quite apparent that Koreans have a deep sense of patriotism. However with the recent growth in the “cool factor” of Korean products, this pride has increased even more. While designers like D.Gnak have gained their popularity through their blend of traditional shapes with Western tailoring, inspiration from hanboks were present within more designs this year. Lee Kyuho (the designer behind the brand Moho) featured traditional Korean jacquards and revamped it to give it more of a modern feel. Reflecting the culture also means dwelling on dealing with the “elephant in the room”: Korea’s current political situation. Military details were quite prominent amongst many collections this season. A lot of the jackets with their padded pockets and shoulder pads, almost making them look like bulletproof vests, were quite clearly a statement made toward the army.
The reflection of Korean culture in the garments does not end there. While focusing on the traditional and political aspects, there were also nods to various other aspects that are important parts of the country’s social culture. Hyun Minhan’s collection, for example, featured influences from video games that he played as a child. In South Korea, gaming is quite an important part of childhood (if the Reply series are anything to go by) and even in adulthood, it is seen as stress relief. The bright neons, trendy fanny packs, bucket hats, and ‘90s reminiscent style of D Antidote’s collection reminded us of another aspect ingrained within the social culture—K-Pop. This was also quite apparent with the amount of hallyu stars scattered amongst front rows, and of course this year’s surprise model appearance—NCT’s Lucas. While playful prints have been a staple in the K-Pop scene, we can all agree that this year was a little extra wild, BTS’s “IDOL” music video being a good example of this. This trend has finally seeped into the design scene with brands like Ordinary People featuring floral suits, and it is also a big feature in street style.
Refined Street Style
While Koreans have always been known for their attention to design and lack of fear when it comes to experimenting, they are equally as admired for carrying these traits in everyday fashion. Street style, when it comes to the streets of Korea, can be quite interesting and features a variation of style and self-expression. While Koreans have always brought their A game when it came to street style, this year felt quite different, almost as if they’d taken something so ingrained within the youth and matured it to create a completely new product. Brands like DOZOH took casual streetwear looks and pieces and turned them into a playground of deconstructed goodness. The shades were also quite muted save for a few pops of colors, be it in the details or select pieces.
One of the reasons why Korean style has gained the reputation that it has is because of confident experimentation. While many do stick to trends and follow brands blindly, there is also a vast majority of people who choose to play around with their fashion and actually use it as a tool of self-expression. From dying their hair to expertly layering, the end results are vast. One brand that truly stuck out was MÜNN. While the cut of the clothing itself wasn't too crazy, it followed traditional tailoring and appeared a bit formal. The textures and colors of the garments were cranked up too loud. The pinstripe patterns on the blazers and shorts were reminiscent of laidback uniforms; the glitter bodysuits, neon colors, and floral fanny packs gave the collection a completely new and uncharted vibe. This in turn was contrasted and complemented by the over-the-top accessories ranging from colorful full face masks, VR headsets, flowers, and biker gloves.