meet the next generation in k-fashion

These eight designers are dressing the youth of Seoul and beyond.

|
Oct 29 2018, 2:08pm

Over the last decade, Seoul has established itself as an international cultural hub exporting the latest in K-pop, K-beauty, K-design, and K-fashion across the globe. In recent seasons, Hera Seoul Fashion Week has been at centre of it all. For spring/summer 19, its mix of design talent, engagement of youth, its ability to translate global fashion trends for its local Generation Z to consume and a desire to place a mirror to the very best that the city has to offer, combined in a heady mix to further set this fashion week apart from any other. Over the course of 40 shows inside the neo-futuristic, Zaha Hadid-designed Dongdaemun Design Plaza, the infectious energy of its next generation design talent continued to ignite imaginations and push possibilities.

“Seoul is much younger than many other cities,” Seung-Gun Park, designer of Pushbutton, explains over email, “there’s an overflow of young creators and people are beginning to pay attention.” After his acclaimed contrast-filled, emotion-driven London Fashion Week debut, Park returned home to take his rightful place at the epicenter of South Korea’s fashion scene. As K-beauty products become global must-haves and K-pop bands like BTS conquer the world's charts, K-fashion is set to be the next export to change the planet. With little cultural nostalgia, a developing sociopolitical consciousness that has seen a growing #metoo movement, protests against unrealistic beauty ideals, a commitment to an era of no war, and an appetite to take K-fashion global, i-D meets eight next generation labels that caught our eye at this season’s Hera Seoul Fashion Week.

1. MÜNN

MÜNN spring/summer 19, backstage Seoul Fashion Week
MÜNN spring/summer 19, backstage photography courtesy of Hera Seoul Fashion Week

Could you tell us about your fashion epiphany?
I majored in graphic design and photography but after seeing an Alexander McQueen show in the first year of college, I fell for fashion and decided to change my major.

How do you describe your aesthetic?
Luxurious defamiliarization.

What's the MÜNN mission statement?
To challenge outdated concepts of fashion, to break the boundaries of habit, and to offer a new extended sensual experience for the audience.

How does Seoul shape your work and world?
Seoul’s ever-changing everyday life resembles fashion. Young people in Seoul accept the fast trends and express themselves with their own personality, just like K-pop.

The future of Seoul fashion is... exciting.

2. MAXXIJ

MAXXIJ spring/summer 19, Seoul Fashion Week
MAXXIJ spring/summer 19, Hera Seoul Fashion Week

What's the MAXXIJ mission statement?
Expressive, experimental, escapist.

How does Seoul shape your work and world?
Seoul is intense. Its fast changing youth culture and its unique energy inspires me.

If readers take one thing away from the collection, what would you want it to be and why?
This season’s concept was ‘visitor.’ I wanted to visualize the attraction, tension and gaze from the ‘visitor.’ We all have moments of being a ‘visitor’ and I hope people can be more playful with this.

The future of Seoul fashion is…
NEW DIVERSITY!

3. Moho

Moho spring/summer 19, Seoul Fashion Week
Moho spring/summer 19, backstage photography courtesy of Hera Seoul Fashion Week

How do you describe your aesthetic?
Free-spirited.

How does Seoul shape your work and world?
I see numerous cosmetic surgery clinics in Seoul, an idealized standard of beauty, of capitalism, a mercenary society. I feel like people are losing their own image when they care too much about other people's opinions.

What advice would you give to the next generation of Seoul-based fashion designers who dream of following in your footsteps?
Be prepared to struggle to overcome the obstacles that you'll face. Don’t give up on your ideas because of real-world limitation. Just go for it and make them possible by any means.

4. Daily Mirror

Daily Mirror spring/summer 19, Seoul Fashion Week
Daily Mirror spring/summer 19, Hera Seoul Fashion Week

What's the Daily Mirror mission statement?
To create a brand with a long history that anybody can identify with, rather than become a brand that undergoes only a flash of success.

How does Seoul shape your work and world?
The lights never go out in Seoul. Keeping the nights long and lively after dark continually provide the best source of inspiration.

If readers take one thing away from the collection, what would you want it to be and why?
The detail within minimalism. My pieces may look simple at the first glance, but the detail within that simplicity is one of my biggest strengths.

The future of Seoul fashion… resembles its city lights, glowing vibrantly and incessantly.

5. By.D’By

BY'D'BY spring/summer 19, Seoul Fashion Week
By.D'By spring/summer 19, backstage photography courtesy of Hera Seoul Fashion Week

Could you tell us about your fashion epiphany?
I originally enrolled in the College of Engineering and majored in computer engineering before switching to the Department of Fashion and Clothing. I was simply a student who liked to dress and collect.

How do you describe your aesthetic?
Street avant-garde.

The future of Seoul fashion is… filled with possibilities. Now, Seoul’s designers have to work harder.

6. Youser

Youser spring/summer 19, backstage at Seoul Fashion Week
Youser backstage photography courtesy of Hera Seoul Fashion Week

Describe your aesthetic to the i-D reader:
Commercial art form.

How do the youth of Seoul inspire you?
Seoul’s youth understand their identity more and more as time goes by.

The future of Seoul fashion is… preparing to spread around the world.

7. D-ANTIDOTE

D-Antidote spring/summer 19, Seoul Fashion Week
D-Antidote spring/summer 19, backstage photography courtesy of Seoul Fashion Week

How do you describe your aesthetic?
Retro and crossover.

How does Seoul shape your work and world?
My design (and the brand itself) is at one with Seoul. The dynamic energy of the youth in Seoul is naturally a part of our designs.

If readers take one thing away from the collection, what would you want it to be and why?
The neon colored windbreaker and hip-sack. Neon is our main theme this season, and it represents the flashy nightlife of Seoul.

The future of Seoul fashion is… becoming a major part of international fashion trends.

8. KYE

KYE spring/summer 19, Seoul Fashion Week
KYE spring/summer 19, backstage photography courtesy of Hera Seoul Fashion Week

Could you tell us about your fashion epiphany?
Ever since I was a young girl I was always into art and fashion. The first and most important influence is my mother, but Louise Wilson OBE is the person that really pushed me into being a serious designer.

How do you describe your aesthetic?
Rude yet lovable, youthful and contemporary.

What's the KYE mission statement?
To create new looks that aren’t too affected by trends, and to represent my own stories.

How do the youth of Seoul inspire you?
Unlike previous generations, today’s youth support local designers. This really inspires me.

The future of Seoul fashion is... in our own hands.

This article originally appeared on i-D UK.