With the recent rise of K-pop in the mainstream music circuit, other aspects of Korean culture are achieving similar recognition – namely, Korean fashion. Generally, Koreans choose very on-trend items, and both women and men carefully select their chosen ensembles. This results in outfits that implement colour without looking too bold, and creates something recognisable while also being classy.
A big foundation for Korean fashion emerges from streetwear, with a lot of K-fashion pieces using this as an inspiration for casual yet sophisticated looks.
Recently, Korean fashion has grown significantly, climbing from 56th to 17th place in global fashion-capital rankings due to its increasing prominence internationally. It’s also due to annual events like Seoul Fashion Week, which hosts only South Korean brands and is paid for by the Korean government. The general public take part in this event by dressing up; something distinct from shows in various other countries where the public are often just spectators. Seoul Fashion Week has become international by effect.
KYE is one of the most prudent and significant K-fashion brands, which has taken the world by storm in terms of international sales. Korean pop culture has been instrumental in creating this distinct fashion, with K-pop stars being central in matters of fashion and identity. Young people are undoubtedly the most prominent in heading the fashion revolution for Koreans.
Korea also hopes to develop even more significantly, aiming to have 10 Korean designers featured worldwide and to promote their distinct Korean brands on the international stage. Seeing in which direction K-fashion develops will be fascinating and one hopes that an evolution of different styles and ideas in the industry will soon be explored because of it.
So what are the main trends in Korean fashion? One trend that features prominently in most K-fashion collections is loose fitting clothes, such as baggy trousers and oversized hoodies. These achieve a very laid back look, that nevertheless exudes style. Asymmetrical items are also omnipresent in Korean street style; these can include oversized shirts or skirts. In terms of accessories, bows, laces and cat hairbands jazz up minimalist ensembles. A serious element of fun is also injected into K-fashion by mini skirts, animal print, fur and 3D designs.
There are many popular and diverse places to shop in Korea, including Steve J and Yoni P, some of the top brands. Another major brand is Push Button, which completely encapsulates the quirky and original nature of K-fashion, garnering significant attention from Korean celebrities. Another brand, Demin, uses an Asian fit simultaneously with a western design aesthetic, creating something silently distinct. Finally, Low Classic is aethestically pleasing and very creative, for those wanting to create more of a fun look. It provides good basics but with more of an edge than the normative.
By Charlotte Wood.