Designer Sheen Je-hee’s SS 2013 collection
/ Courtesy of Seoul Fashion Week
Seoul strives to become fashion capital
Korea’s leading designers and fashionistas gathered for Seoul Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2013, which started Monday.
This year’s event boasts a lineup of 48 collections, 12 next generation and seven presentation designers.
Despite the bad weather on its first day, the two venues, the War Memorial of Korea and Seogyo Xi Gallery, were packed with dedicated followers of fashion.
“I arrived here two hours earlier to see the very first show of Seoul Fashion Week,” Kim Sun-a, a design student, said Monday.
According to the fashion industry’s concept of scheduling, the shows ran on time. This meant that most of them were still about 15 minutes late, but that’s better than other leading fashion weeks — in Paris, for example, it’s a minimum of 40 minutes.
The venues, on the other hand, were a mistake; they were too small to host such an international event where visiting buyers and editors should be able to at least secure a seat. Front rows were adorned with celebrities as usual and sponsorship has done its best to support the event.
The good news is that there now appear to be more than five Korean designers producing work close to world-class standards, compared to a few years ago when the city used to rely hugely on only two to three names.
TBut Korea’s capital still can’t shake off the feeling it’s an underdog in the fashion world. Untrained employees and a disorganized seat designation system at the event means the city still has a long way to go to before it can be regarded as a serious player among the world’s fashion capitals. But the other good news is that the number of international press and buyers is steadily increasing, compared to a few years back when the city used to be bypassed altogether.
For men, the year 2012 is one in which many sports events took place and that influenced the imagination of designers everywhere. On the London, Milan and Paris runways, parkas, shorts and t-shirts were the winners that will invade our wardrobes next summer.
In Seoul Fashion Week SS 2013, shorts, in particular, are seen as a must-have item with a variety of length and styles such as super shorts, tailored or minimalist, teamed with a blazer or a t-shirt. Shorts from such collections as Kim Kyung-min’s Sneezer Parade and Ko Tae-yong’s Beyond Closet were clear winners at the show.
The color palette consists of bright colors such as yellow, as seen in Sheen Je-hee’s total yellow look, blue and beige. The season also has a white look; a model clad in white from top to bottom seen at Lee Sang-hyun’s LEIGH collection looked comfortable yet sophisticated. The summer coat, as with womenswear last season, is the new must-have item of the season ranging from demure classic raincoats to military style jackets.
Unlike the men, the world’s leading fashion weeks presented a range of different styles for the SS 2013 season in womenswear, acknowledging their heritage. But there is one thing in common — lightness in terms of palette and fabrics such as chiffon and organza in white and pastels. The shows also exhibited black for summer and even some fur.
Designers such as Park Choon-moo and Moon Young-hee presented some white-and black-pieces that are less hugging and a variety of trousers including palazzo have earned their place on the runway. Lee Suk-tae also showed the total white look, oversize t-shirts tucked in short skirts, and some strong prints that were more gusty than girly.
Beyond Closet by Ko Tae-yong
For each season designer Ko presented different themes for his collection, and this year, he came up with “travel,” featuring sailor and outdoor looks with stylish backpacks. While last season was about boyish charm and college sports appeal in hues of grey and beige, he lit up the runway this time in such bright colors as yellow and blue.
Ko is well-known for dressing chic, preppy men. Prints especially stood out in his practical yet sophisticated collection. For those who are less adventurous, the collection gives some simply-designed pieces such as a bottom side zipper blazer and loose fit trousers.
Resurrection by Lee Ju-young
The veteran designer’s collection appeared on the runway to the raucous sound of heavy metal. The American-educated artist whose clientele includes Lady Gaga and the Black Eyed Peas saw its front seats adorned with Korean celebrities including members of Jewelry, Chae Yeon and Seo Ji-seok.
While she took inspiration from her collection from last season, her military-themed collection was definitely more toned down in relation to her past “rebellious men” clothes, showing off some black and white modern chic outfits towards the end of the show. All of her outfits are well matched with her popular eyewear as well. Resurrection’s dark, sexy look is a little break from the multitude of well-heeled looks seen on most Seoul runways.
LEIGH by Lee Sang-hyun
The designer known to reinterpret the concept of “classic” showed his predilection for minimalism this year, while continuing his usual “chic casual” look using limited shades of blue, grey, white and black.
The zipper detailing on the coats and trousers was minimal but demanded attention. In particular, his precision-cut tailored summer coats and jackets with black leather sandals ruled the runway