This season, in addition to international fashion weeks that I always attend, I’ve been invited to see the local fashion week in Korea. Seoul, Korean designers, architecture, style and unique culture totally captured my heart.
There are numerous brands of different focus on Korean fashion scene – commercial, mass-market orientated ones, as well as young and creative. This season more than 20 people of international media team, including editor-in-chief of Dazed magazine and journalists from Business of Fashion, and 200 buyers visited Seoul looking for bright and inspiring talents – and we were not disappointed. Actually, Korea is now supposed to be the main trendsetter for the entire Asian region: because of K-pop, Korean soap operas and superstars, most of the things that are trending here than are spreading to China, Japan etc.
Shows go on like a real fashion marathon, from 10 am till late at night. The main space for the events is DongDaemun Design Plaza (DDP) designed by Zaha Hadid – the most instagrammed building in Seoul in 2015 and my personal favorite. Most of the designers show a really good quality product – when competition is that high you have to match to a certain level to survive. Korean consumers are very loyal to the locally produced clothes – luxury brands, mass-market brands, endless shops that sell fake counterfeit. I guess that in such circumstances it’s much more complicated for a foreign brand, even a famous one, to get a piece of that pie – which is great and very different from Ukrainian fashion market.
Another local specialty – Korean cosmetics – was a real discovery. I almost never use any kind of creams or masks, but my friends have asked me to bring them their favorites so I couldn’t fight the temptation to try something myself as I already went to the shop. The masks were amazing, so I brought myself some; my only mistake was that Seoul climate is really different from climate in Kiev so when in Ukraine Korean products don’t have such a huge effect on my skin. Though I still like the way they style it – with all that cute Asian pop-culture colors and attributes. Pop-culture idols are a big thing in Seoul: I’ve never seen that amount of excited fans waiting for the singers and actors who come to the shows, just to cheer them from the outside. And streetstyle craze – I think that amount of photographers and streetstyle-stars at that local fashion week will outnumber the ones in Paris.
This week was a great experience, full of cultural breakthroughs, business meetings and new acquaintances. I believe it’s not my last time in Seoul – and I really wish our colleagues, who’re working that hard on developing their local fashion industry as we do here in Ukraine, good luck with theirs plans and further growth.