From K-pop supergroups like Girls Generation and Big Bang to addictive K-dramas and the viral ‘Gangnam Style’ dance craze, South Korea has emerged East Asia’s up-and-coming cultural hotbed, seeing a rapid increase in international attention within the past decade. In addition to its flourishing entertainment industry, a slew of exciting South Korean fashion brands are stepping into the global spotlight. HERA Seoul Fashion Week, Korea’s premiere fashion event, is held biannually at the newly-constructed, Zaha Hadid-designed Dongdaemun Design Plaza in the heart of Seoul. The five-day long event plays host to the country’s best luxury fashion brands, an eclectic mix of elevated womenswear labels and high-calibre streetwear marks. From 99%IS-’s tech punks and Low Classic’s feminine ease to the street style stars of tomorrow, here are the best collections and street styles from Seoul Fashion Week Spring 2018.
Emerging Korean Fashion Brands
Low Classic, Spring 2018 After a three-season hiatus, Spring 2018 saw Low Classic (and its instantly-covetable brand of off-kilter elegance) return to the runways of Seoul Fashion Week. Amid a sea of overhyped streetwear imprints, accessory overkill, and logomania, designer Myoungshin Lee offered a refreshingly refined collection of beautifully feminine separates. Drawing inspiration from the designer’s travels in Europe, Low Classic’s Spring collection told the story of the ‘Asian traveller,’ casting elements of East Asian culture, from 14th century Chinese pottery to Korean earthenware and Japanese shibari, within the context of European style. Sophisticated blazers, shirt dresses, and trousers evoked an easy minimalism in the vein of Phoebe Philo and Christophe Lemaire, while a selection of flowing trench coats and oversized bucket bags catered to the wanderlust of the modern nomad.
Pushbutton, Spring 2018 Designer Seung Gun Park wished to convey a sense of timeless dress through Pushbutton’s Spring 2018 collection. However, somewhere along the design process, Park began gravitating toward the eighties, the decade of his youth. The era of excess came through in brightly-hued powersuits, off-the-shoulder styling à la Pretty in Pink, Victorian-collar lace blouses, lurex cocktail dresses, fluorescent aerobics garb, and a powder blue Canadian tuxedo. For those with more streetwear-leaning sensibilities, Pushbutton offered a tailored nylon tracksuit, baggy acid wash jeans, and a selection of fanny packs that will no doubt be seen on the backs of myriad K-pop stars this Spring.
99%IS-, Spring 2018 Always riffing on the irreverent spirit of punk culture, designer Bajowoo reinterpreted the musical subculture’s standard accoutrements in cutting-edge all-weather textiles for 99%-’s Spring 2018 show. Motorcycle jackets were cut in nylon ripstop, while transparent vinyl coats, shiny track pants, and technical fabric blazers were loaded up with zippers, bungee cords, buckles, and cargo pockets. The runway itself mirrored the clothing’s post-apocalyptic utilitarianism with moody models trudging, hoods drawn over their faces, down a tarp-covered, rain-soaked catwalk. The collection’s showstopper? An iridescent tracksuit surely to be a future street style favorite.
South Korean Street Style Trends from Spring 2018 Seoul Fashion Week showgoers dress like no other. Ultra-trendy yet inimitably cool, Seoulites know how to seamlessly integrate the season’s most covetable trends into their own high-individualized personal styles. Outside this season’s shows, photographers snapped: layers of logo-emblazoned streetwear and sportswear, über-stylish toddlers, his-and-hers matching outfits, and androgynous tailored pieces.