Dear Shaded Viewers,
Seoul Fashion Week concluded last week and I have been on the hunt to find new and exciting brands in the East that may be of interest in the West.
Many of us know South Korea due to the global successes of the popular music genre K-Pop and television series K-Drama. The stars of these genres have one of the most dedicated and engaged fan bases in the world and as more and more people jump on the bandwagon to explore Korean pop culture, Seoul has established itself as a fashion capital. Throughout Asia, everyone is looking at the streets of Seoul, trying to find out what the latest trends are and what K-Stars are wearing.
This year Seoul Fashion Week was held virtually and it featured 45 designers with 10 new designers in the mix, as part of Generation Next. The location of the shows were scattered around different parts of Seoul.
Here is a run-through of the brands that caught my eye:
A mens streetwear label founded in 2013 by Chan Kim, the brand combines different prints and silhouettes to create an alternative masculinity, that is both playful and androgynous, as exemplified in K-pop styles. Personally, I have always found menswear in Korea much more exciting and innovative compared to womenswear. With the global explosion of Korea’s pop culture, a new perspective of masculinity has come forward, praising feminine, emotional and innocent men. An attractiveness towards the “good” boys rather than “bad” ones we had always admired. What ChanceChance presented was a line in between, a colorful collection with lean silhouettes that still has the edginess of street style.
Dew E Dew E
Created by Jin Young Kim and Su Yeon Lee, Dew E Dew E is a womenswear brand that has a playful essence but shows itself with a dark twist. Though the romantic silhouettes and colors give an innocent feel to the models, as they are dressed up like dolls with their oversized ruffled dresses, the short video for their latest collection presents a ritual of movements and exchanges that reveal the dark side of these girls, as if they are possessed by a greater force. There are many brands in Seoul who are inspired by doll like innocent beauties, but with Dew E Dew W there is a gothic feel that lies under the layers of organzas and ruffles.
A womenswear brand established in 2016 by Designer J, it aims to present the Korean culture in a creative and fun way that appeals to the younger generations. The brand works with a team of illustrators, photographers and songwriters to carry their mission across Korea. Their latest collection was presented in SFW, with a playful video which made me feel as if I was playing one of my old computer games where I could dress my dolls in different costumes. Like a stop-motion animation, the models are placed in doll houses made of legos. As for the collection, the garments are youthful, simple with the lego shapes present throughout which are displayed with a careless attitude. Perhaps not the most innovative and trend setting collection, however the mix of different prints and fabrics that we wouldn’t dare in the West, is exhibited as a sign of youthfulness which is celebrated in the East.
Established in 2017, Carnet-Archive is an archival fashion brand which perceives fashion as art. It aims to combine opposing elements of high and low cultures, fusing luxury with street wear, high-quality fabrics with industrial materials. Their latest collection called Humanoid Test displayed their punk-grudge styles that were present in the fabrics and prints. The casting was one of the strongest I have seen so far in SFW, as the models were exhibiting a non-conformist, rebellious attitude which didn’t carry the concern of looking youthful or innocent, a breath of fresh air after seeing so many doll-like models.