Six designers to watch from Seoul Fashion Week

Street style and androgynous looks caught the eye on the catwalks in the South Korean capital, where top K-style designers showed their autumn-winter 2017 looks

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 04 April, 2017, 12:58pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 04 April, 2017, 12:58pm

Signature simple casual wear and K-pop-inspired street styles dominated the catwalks at Seoul Fashion Week, but other styles, from androgynous to military and even Amish, caught our eye at the Zaha Hadid-designed Dongdaemun Design Plaza. Here are six fashion brands whose autumn-winter 2017 collections make them ones to watch:

Blindness

Blindness, founded by Park Ji-sun and Shin Kyu-yong, came back strong this season. The menswear designers featured more of their signature, critically lauded gender-bending looks on both male and female models. Think gingham-patterned slit-shoulder shirt dresses, and regal strings of pearls hung in diamond-like configurations over a puffy jacket that could only be described as ’80s power shoulder meets Elizabethan. Each look made its own statement about the virtues of androgyny.

JKoo

Yeonjoo Koo and Jinwoo Choi, the husband-and-wife team behind JKoo, have a clear sense of what effect they’re after. This season was all about refining their style and improving their work from past seasons, said Choi. The collection showcased a series of JKoo’s signature oversize looks in satin, leather, lace and other fabrics. A floor-length, fern green trench coat wrapped in a series of belts and sashes was the highlight of the show. Choi said the collection was influenced by Dadaism, as well as the idea of self-respect.

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“Self-respect really inspired me because that’s what I’m feeling right now… Sometimes when I’m working on a design, I feel really desperate, like ‘Am I doing good or not?’ Then I realise I need to have self-respect,” the designer said.

Yohanix

Normally fun and accessible, Yohanix by Yohan Kim was notably more subdued this season. The brand’s catwalk show opened with Flower, a song by veteran Korean singer Lee Eun-mi. Woven floral patterns, as well as appliqué flowers, were a major theme, as well as army greens featured on bomber jackets, windbreakers and satin two-piece outfits.

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“I used the idea of buying flowers as my concept,” said Kim. “Some people think it’s a waste of money because if you buy an expensive watch, you can wear it for 10 or 20 years, but flowers only last three days or less… But the act of buying flowers has a meaning to me,” he said, “it’s about living in the moment.”

YCH

YCH by Yoon Choon-ho went full-on ’80s this season. Oversize looks and power dressing went hand in hand, with much focus on the upper body silhouette and everything from strong, exaggerated shoulders to asymmetrical bare ones. See-through black tulle also played a key role in several looks, invoking both a sense of elegance and fragility.

Munsoo Kwon

This Korean-street-style-meets-Mennonite collection was playful, and perhaps even controversial for its cultural appropriation. The designer said his work this season was inspired by “rumspringa”, a rite of passage for Amish youth. The collection featured black face masks spouting mini tassel beards from the bottom, as well as patterns of bearded faces in Amish hats on scarves. Oversize sleeves, one of the ubiquitous trends this season, were abundant.

87mm

Founded by popular male models Kim Won-joong and Park Ji-woon, both born in 1987, 87mm is one of the country’s top emerging street-style brands. With legions of local and growing number of international fans, taking a look at their collection is an insight into what styles will be major on the streets of Seoul.

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Their catwalk show at Seoul Fashion Week was based around the idea of “my personality”, and featured a series of well-curated, popular street trends including fishnet tights peeking out of the top of low-cut trousers; oversize ankle-length quilted coats; and lots of forest green, orange and leopard print as neutrals.