Mar 23, 2017 | By Samuel Trotman
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As you may already know South Korea is having a serious fashion moment. From the slew of stylish K-Pop stars infiltrating your Instagram feed, to Korean brands popping up on international catwalks and Chanel’s recent cruise presentation in the capital – Korea is becoming a force to be reckoned with.
Seoul is as fashion-obsessed as cities come, and for S/S 16 South Korea’s upcoming designers and street style stars were out in full force. The season saw the capital’s fashion image turn a decided hue of indigo with runways and street style looks awash with some of the season’s best denim. That’s right, denim: The indigo twill that made its way from France to California to Japan is now having its moment in Seoul.
But the fabric that turned up on the catwalks is not the one you’re familiar with. Here the cities hottest designers are reworking denim with the modern design sensibility that has put the country on the map. The thriving trend for genderless style in South Korea’s youth market has also been a primary driver for this, inspiring a wave of playful tomboy skate looks and revamped 90s silhouettes.
Ahead of Seoul’s Autumn/Winter 2016 schedule later this month (21.03.16), we put a list together for our subscribers of the 10 most promising Korean streetwear labels you should know. Here on the blog we present a highlight of some of the key labels to look out for for this season.
Steve Jung and Yoni Pai are two of South Korea’s most celebrated young designers. Graduates of Central Saint Martins and the London College of Fashion respectively, the husband and wife have been making waves both in their hometown and overseas with cool 1990s-style denim. Many fans have been won from the support of K-pop stars such as Hyori and actress Gong Hyo Jin. Last autumn, the brand debuted a new denim label called SJYP with a series of raw denim pieces in revamped signature 1990s silhouettes. Denimheads, take note.
Korean brand Low Classic is a treasure all but impossible to find anywhere outside of its home country, aside from at select stores such as Opening Ceremony, IT Hong Kong and Sanlipop in Beijing. The brand was founded by three fashion industry insiders, Lee Myeong Sin, Hwang Hyun Ji and Park Jin Sun, in 2009. A regular at Seoul Fashion Week, the brand has carved a name for itself with a minimalist aesthetic and reasonable price points. For spring, the designers reference Los Angeles skate style with cropped jeans, bold plaids and graphic prints.
Launched in January 2013 by Seoul-based design duo Jiyeun Won, 24, and Jooho Lee, 22, R Shemiste began its story on an international platform, debuting its collections at both Tokyo and New York Fashion Weeks. Since then, R Shemiste has developed a cult following among the denim-obsessed for its signature distressed jeanswear pieces. Exploring the possibilities of the fabric, the brand favours high-quality Japanese selvedge denim, reworking it in raw, washed or frayed finishes.
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