5 Korean fashion trends that will power K-style in 2018
What they’re wearing
If you can't beat 'em, join 'em. We find this adage particularly apt for all things Korean. Have a collague who's a walking encyclopedia on all the latest K-dramas and actors? Or a friend who swears by K-beauty and only K-beauty? Attempt broaching these topics and you'll see their eyes light up while giving you the spiel — but not before putting out a disclaimer that they too, were never into K-anything just a few years prior.
So while it's a not-so-well-kept secret that Korean designers do have ways to go by international standards — in terms of design and manufacturing — the fact that they're increasingly adept at adding their own flavour to existing trends (micro and colossal alike) is a quality we deem worth saluting. That, and their appetite for unisex clothing and styling. Forget androgyny. In the spirit of Korean fashion, it's simply free for all — gender notwithstanding. Go on, join 'em. We already have both feet in.
1. THE NOT-JUST-A-SHIRT SHIRT
What it is: If fashion in the recent years could be reduced to a singular sentiment, it's the decree that more is more. Not in vein of copious sequins, paillettes, or embroidery, but as if normcore — the anti-style trend — decided to well, style itself. Case in point: bomber jackets with two additional sleeves hanging out of the back (thanks, Helmut Lang), plain short-sleeve tees with one, just one, extra long sleeve tacked on (that's Y/Project).
Who it'll please: Applying this to the blue button-down shirt by throwing in false cuffs mid-arm and a blazer's front sewn on for show, this one reps liberty for the corporate crowd. Pair with nondescript trousers and footwear to avoid the NSFW label.
2. NEON TO GIVE THEM FEVER
What it is: Did we revisit lookbook.nu, or did the '80s regurgitate all things punchy and pop in 2018? Regardless, neon has a hold on fashion again. Not convinced? Well, Miuccia Prada is in agreement this fall/winter 2018. It can't get more official than that.
Who it'll please: Not your die-hard fan of all-black garments for sure. Other than that, the ball's in anyone's court — especially if you have an impartiality to athleisure or the streetwise. To kick it up a notch, let it colour not just your hoodies and tees, but your cocktail frocks too.
3. STRAP ON, STRAP OFF
What it is: A utlity vest. Fastened over anything from shirts, dresses and even outerwear, it's an evolution born of fashion's increasing appetite for function, even in the luxury sphere. Just as we're taught to put ourselves to good use — and not just look cute — as we graduate from childhood, this is fashion, all grown up.
Who it'll please: Those who favour function as much as they do form. Think about it: there's no need to chase the latest It-bag for sakes of punctuating your outfit. Realistically, you're probably that much harder to mug too.
4. SHOWING ALL YOUR CARDS
What it is: For modesty's sake, maybe not all your cards but most of it at least. Given that plastic dominated many a collection — Chanel, Burberry, Off-White x Jimmy Choo — in the big leagues, it's no surprise that it has trickled down to Korea by sheer effect.
Who it'll please: Those who stand firm against the (excessive) use of plastic in luxury fashion for fear it triggers high street names to churn pieces in the material for trendiness sakes. Why? Because it's detrimental to the environment. Like the above, bank on sheer organza or see-through cotton and silk. And instead of a blouse, the translucent bomber will keep them guessing.
5. GIVING THE COLD SHOULDER
What it is: 2015's cold shoulder trend is well alive and kicking over in Korea, but favoured on men for its comeback. Chalk it up to Vetements' Champion cut-out shoulder sweatshirts and hoodies for giving the trend a masculine edge, or Korean fashion's love for all things unisex.
Who it'll please: Individuals who afford attention to detail. The number of permutations to layer and style garments under the cut-outs are boundless.
Love Korean fashion? Here's what the locals are wearing.