10 South Korean fashion designers to know
16 October 2016
The South Korean fashion scene is thriving and progressive despite being in its infancy. It is fast becoming Asia’s leader when it comes to innovative trends, a top position once proudly held by Japan. With the country’s fashion designers leveraging on celebrity endorsements, their own sense of identity, access to materials and speed to market, the country has firmly establishes itself on the global fashion stage, with all eyes on them.
South Korean trendsetters and style makers are adept at mixing and matching high fashion and streetwear. With these 10 trendy South Korean fashion designers and brands coming up with inventive creations, the hallyu wave just keeps moving forward.
Kim Jae-hyun is the founder of Jardin de Chouette, a brand that has successfully garnered a large fan base thanks to its nostalgic applique patterns and feminine cuts. Jae-hyun later started a sister label called Lucky Chouette the same year Jardin de Chouette was founded (in 2005). The sister label lured more younger customers with its affordable price.
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Founder of Kiok in 2004, the brand is famously known for its use of denim in its collection. The brand truly appeals to the younger generations who prefer a good dose of old-school cool with contemporary charm in their wardrobe.
YK and DO
Human Potential or HUPOT was founded by YK and DO in 2008. With head-to-toe black and monochrome looks as the brand’s signature style, Human Potential’s celebrity fans include US rappers A$AP Rocky and Big Sean.
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Ko Tae Yong
Beyond Closet, founded by Ko Tae Yong, is one of South Korea’s most sought-after menswear label. Tae Yong draws inspirations for his reconstructed classic styles from modern American design and dandyism. In 2010, he received the prestigious New Designer award from Korea Fashion Brand Awards.
Seung Gan Park
Seung Gan Park is the founder of fashion label pushBUTTON. Established in 2003, the brand derived its name from the catchy dance tune ‘Hollywood’ by Madonna. pushBUTTON’s trademark style can be seen through its strong use of colour and interesting materials. Its key pieces include streetwear staples like sweatshirts and tees, and well-tailored ready-to-wear collection.
Parson’s School of Design graduate Dong-Jun Kang founded D.Gnak in 2008. The brand’s trademark look is a combination of Korean aesthetics and timeless designs.
Jooho Lee and Jiyeun Won
Seoul-based design duo Jooho Lee and Jiyeun Won founded R.shemiste in 2012. The brand derived its name from the word ‘Alchemy’. R.shemiste’s distinctive style consists of creative graphic prints and witty pattern and has been featured in Mercedes-Benz New York Fashion Week 2014. The brand has two separate lines: contemporary label and collection label.
Contrary to the brand’s name, there’s nothing generic about General Idea’s idea when it come to fashion design. The brand’s head honcho Bumsuk Choi received his design education in Tokyo prior to debuting his Fall/Winter collection in 2009 during New York Fashion Week.
Prior to launching his namesake label in New York in 2012, Munsoo Kwon interned at Thom Browne, Helmut Lang and Robert Geller, and was a designer at Andrew Buckler. Kwon has since been in the media limelight and is frequently featured in the media by the likes of Harper’s Bazaar, Elle, and Vogue magazines.
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Kathleen Kye is a Seoul-based fashion figure with street art graphics, colourful and quirky designs as her trademark in her label Kye. A graduate of Central Saint Martins, she had a fashion show of her own during New York and London Fashion Week. Her celebrity fans include K-Pop darling 2NE1’s Dara, G-Dragon and Rihanna.
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