Seoul Fashion Week: Local labels that will turn you into a K-fashion convert
There needs no convincing that Seoul has risen as Asia's breeding ground for the hottest new designers. Forget the K-pop artists and just focus on the locals for a moment — whether you spot them shopping along the city's hipster district Garosu-gil (where brands like Gentle Monster and SJYP have set up shop) or ducking into Dongdaemun Design Plaza during Seoul Fashion Week, chances are, they're repping all the latest threads. Which of course includes a laundry list of their homegrown, need-to-know designers. For the K-fashion newcomer, think of these five labels as your starter pack, introducing you to a world purveying all that's badass, contemporary and downright trendy.
Who: Kathleen Kye, whose days at Central Saint Martins has honed a refined streetwear aesthetic.
What we love: The label juggles the gritty edge of the streets and the attention to detail you get with high fashion. Always in sync with the climate, expect the hottest trends uplifted by a wave of colour, texture and truckloads of embellishments. Not for the faint-hearted.
2. ROCKET x LUNCH
Who: Jinwon Woo, whose forte lies in seamlessly fusing a ragtag range of fabrics.
What we love: The label prides itself in androgyny. From elevated velour tracksuits to grungy outerwear and workwear corduroy, you'll catch both men and women coveting — and rocking — the same gender-bending pieces.
Shop Rocket x Lunch.
3. BEYOND CLOSET
Who: Taeyong Ko, who design wise, is a softie in Seoul's sea of street-inspired ballers.
What we love: The designer toes the line between the preppy and quirky, giving both traditional tailoring and athleisure a pop of kitschy graphics and primary colours. Imagine: A cocktail of donut, bichon and palm tree motifs.
Shop Beyond Closet.
4. SEWING BOUNDARIES
Who: Dongho Ha, your go-to designer for nostalgic, vintage vibes.
What we love: The collections channel the energy of '90s youth culture where bootleg logomania and thrift shop steals were rife. Enter colour-blocked sweatshirts, baggy trousers and oversized suiting you're used to seeing in your grandpa's closet.
Shop Sewing Boundaries.
Who: Yohan Kang, who's all aboard the bandwagon peddling the brazenly street.
What we love: The label is all about what's now. Flared sports suits, dad caps and cut-and-sew T-shirts take the cake for fall, but not without a flair of utilitarian meets grunge that sets it apart from skater brands.