The 2010 fall/winter Seoul Fashion Week kicked off last Friday on the largest scale in its 20-year history.
The Seoul Metropolitan Government, which is hosting the event, said the seven-day show will have events with 45 leading local designers - best represented by the internationally recognized Lie Sang-bong - and 12 fledgling designers. That is an increase from 43 and 11, respectively, at last season’s show in October.
In addition to these designers, 50 smaller, low-profile fashion brands have been given spaces in showrooms to display their lines throughout the event. These designers are hoping to clinch sales deals with domestic and overseas buyers through their separate presentations.
The design- and catchphrase-savvy city government has designated 2010 “the year of fostering global fashion brands” and has promised to help 10 outstanding participants showcase their works at Tranoi, the biggest trade show for the high-end fashion industry. The men’s collection will be shown in June at Tranoi and the women’s collection will be shown in October.
Every day from 11 a.m. till 8 p.m., models and local celebrities will take to the catwalks at two different venues in southern Seoul - Setec near the Hangyeoul Station on line No. 3 and Kring near Samseong Station on line No. 2. The “Generation Next” shows with 12 emerging designers will take place at Kring.
The first two days were dominated by the men’s collections. The opener was the D. Gnak by Kang. D line by designer Kang Dong-jun, who debuted in the Seoul Collection in October 2008. Kang said this season’s theme is masculinity, inspired by military uniforms.
Interpretations of battle gear have been widespread since last year and the influences seem to be still rolling, judging by previous global collections including the one in New York.
Other men’s collections included Songzio Homme by Song Zio, General Idea by Choi Bum-suk, Andy & Debb Homme by Kim Seok-won and Caruso by Chang Kwang-hyo. Lee Ju-yong, who owns the brand Resurrection, is one of the better known designers who showcased men’s collections. Her clothes have been worn by overseas pop stars such as Marilyn Manson, the Black Eyed Peas and even Lady Gaga.
Yesterday, the brand Jardin de Chouette by Kim Jae-hyun made its debut at Seoul Fashion Week. The brand, whose name means “the owl’s garden” was launched in 2005 and became popular across destination boutiques in Paris and Seoul with its signature owl logo.
Doii Paris by Lee Doii, noted for materializing classical and feminine qualities through unusual fabrics and embellishments, featured a girl walking into a magical forest like in a fairy tale.
Today, Steve J & Yoni P, Korean designers who have been featured at the London Collection since 2007, are having a presentation session for buyers in a separate showroom. Like 19 other leading designers, they will not have a runway show.
Fashion Week organizers say these presentations are meant for companies to “turn a maximized business result.”
The Miss Gee Collection by senior designer Gee Choon-hee will have a runway show in the afternoon.
Tomorrow and Wednesday will focus on veterans. Tomorrow, Lie Sang-bong, who has been showing in Paris for in the past seven years and is recognized for adopting hangul, the Korean alphabet, patterns in his clothes, will have a presentation for buyers. Lie is expected to dress models in tiger patterns with what he calls the “Korean power shoulder,” as he did at Paris Fashion Week earlier this month. Others showing tomorrow include Ro Sung-un of Nosgun, Park Youn-soo, Moon Young-hee, Jin Te-ok and Park Hang-chi. Wednesday will showcase lines by Rubina, Shin Jang-kyoung and Sul Yun-hyoung, among others. Most of these designers have long been the fashion favorites of affluent older Korean women.
This will be the first time since the fall of 2007 that these senior designers, who belong to the Seoul Fashion Artists Association, the nation’s biggest and most powerful designer group with 11 figures, will show at Seoul Fashion Week.
SFAA’s history with Korean fashion is a long one. The association had been the very matrix of Seoul Fashion Week. It launched its collection in November 1990 and in its footsteps followed smaller designer groups such as the Korea Fashion Designer Association and New Wave in Seoul, which held their own collections in different periods.
In October 2000, the Seoul Metropolitan Government officially launched Seoul Fashion Week, but top designers were reluctant to join. In March 2003, at last, the SFAA, KFDA and NWS joined up, but the alliance didn’t last long. Reconciliations and breakups have repeated since then, as those groups pursued their own interests, according to fashion industry insiders.
Won Dae-yun, chairman of the Seoul Fashion Week Committee, expressed his hope earlier that the unification will last a while this time.
Seoul Fashion Week will close on Thursday with a show by Son Jung-wan. The designer whose jacket-skirt suit combinations have long been loved by brides-to-be and younger female office workers for their feminine qualities, said she will debut a few pieces of her homme collection, along with her existing female collection.