An Insider In Fashion And K-Designers
Fashion week was once again filled with people to the core, proving the fact that fashion is slowly becoming a more mainstream aspect of culture. But what is fashion exactly? Because only by walking among all the different outfits filing the passages of Dongdaemun, it was clear that there are many possible approaches to this same concept.
“What is fashion exactly?”
Fashion varies depending on the person. To some, it might just be a needed attire for work and life. To others a potential source of attention or even something to play around and have fun with. While to someone completely different, the meaning could be reduced to a very shallow aspect of life.
Strongly believing that everything in this life is not made of just blacks or whites, but mostly a mix of greys. Fashion like everything else can have positive and negative traits depending on what you make of it. In a world where we tend to judge easily and at times outer appearance is the only thing we are able to see. It is no wonder why such a concept could become this important for some while being perceived by others as a burden or something that only feeds the ego. Today, I wanted to add yet another different perspective on the subject, since I strongly believe that fashion is a lot more than just the shell.
A Different View on Fashion
To me, fashion is an art. A form of self-expression, an additional way to share what we are and how we feel. It is a way of creating, a way to distinguish ourselves from that sea of people where we many times forget to be our own.
“Fashion is an art. A form of self-expression, an additional way to share what we are and how we feel. It is a way of creating, a way to distinguish ourselves from that sea of people where we many times forget to be our own.”
Not only that, I see fashion as a source of change, and new choices. A way to take a stand against things that you might believe in or even a path to help you make better life choices. If you think about it most societal changes have come with new trends in fashion that took over former “rules” creating new boundaries. The first woman wearing trousers, the clothing adaptation that went through the industrial revolution, the seek of peace through the hippy movement… It is undeniable that fashion was a big part of it all.
In current times, fashion can also be more than a mere way to dress. But a way to bring up to the surface a little bit more of all that greatness that we all have bottled up inside. Fashion is a statement. One that can not only help you shine a little bit more brightly but at times like the armor of a battle, something to give you that extra courage or confidence that might be needed to push through, upon a difficult task.
Fashion can be confidence, self-love, and appreciation, that does not come from selfishness or narcissism. It can be a way to help you fill your own cup. Something that makes you feel a bit better about yourself, so you can then give out to others, from a place of self-love and self-respect, without having to step on anybody’s head in the process.
Fashion is all those things because, at the end of the day, fashion and life are both about choices. For that, I want to challenge you to have a look at life and also fashion in another way, not as something that defines you and your value, depending on how you dress or how much money you spent, but as something that can potentially add to who you are and what you want to create.
“Look at fashion, not as something that defines you and your value depending on how you dress or how much money you spent, but as something that can potentially add to who you are”
Having said that today, I do not want to make it only about us, the people wearing the clothes. But more about the creators, those whose inspiration and hard work bring us a new way of self-expression, a new source of art. So today we are going to shine some light on the designers, the ones that start giving, by creating.
The behind the scenes
When it comes to fashion most of us only see the finished shining product without knowing all that it is behind, the good and the bad. In my case, fashion has been a part of my life for as far as I can remember, because of that I wanted to share with you the perspective of a child that was born behind the scenes.
As the daughter of a hard working fashion designer, I grew up having a dining table filled with sewing machines and fabric scraps instead of plates. Marking soaps, measuring tape and pins instead of silverware. Designs and half made pieces filling all the empty spaces on the walls, the floor, and the chairs. It was a special house, where you could not only find unlimited supplies, but also a very distinct feeling, the love for creation impregnating the air.
It could be the reason why for me fashion is familiarity, it is love, the love of a mom creating something special just for her child. Care, trying to adjust everything to the last detail to make everything look as perfect for others, as you possibly can. Fashion is also sacrifice, spending many hours working in order to make everything come together, not knowing what others might have to say about your art.
“ Fashion is a statement, a source of change, rebellion and new choices. But fashion is also love, care, and sacrifice”
Creation is very brave in a way, sharing a piece of you out into the world even besides the fear of being judged. Designers share big parts of them with every collection. Pieces open publicly for everyone’s opinions. Something that most of us might never dare to do, because how many of us will be brave enough to share core pieces of our mind and identity with the world when most times we can not even share it with those that are close to us?
“Designers are brave, they share a piece of themselves that many of us hide inside”
Due to that braveness, I have always found a big respect and admiration for designers and creators, who put their contribution out into the world. Designers exposing a little bit of what we all might decide to leave in, afraid of being judged while bringing us a new angle of reality and pushed boundaries. While also making the path a little bit more easy for everyone else following behind.
You can see all their work and inspiration through every new collection and this fashion week was no different. Seoul Fashion Week gifted us with very talented designers, collections, creations and trends that should be celebrated, not only for the beautiful aesthetics but for the braveness, values and hard work that they also represent.
Seoul Fashion Week
This fashion week has been filled with very beautiful collections. A season in which the trend and demand for more wearable fashion have definitely shine through, bringing out more “real life” trends into the runway. But do not be confused, collections have might been tamer in terms of eccentricity, but have only increased in terms of pattern work, design and inspiration.
“Collections have might been tamer in terms of eccentricity, but have only increased in terms of pattern work, design and inspiration.”
A Spring Summer fashion week in which, societal factors have also played a huge role in the designer’s work. As you know Korea has been going through a lot of change. And things like the desire for peace, climate awareness and pushed gender boundaries have been very present in most of the collections.
Korean fashion is slowly but steadily taking a stand into the global scene, with a very beautiful approach. One where not only designs and aesthetics are improved, but one in which designers themselves are pushing to improve the world starting by wanting to make Korean society, values, and climate also rise for the better.
“Korean fashion is slowly but steadily taking a stand into the global scene, with a very beautiful approach, improving the world by improving oneself first”
Fashion week in Seoul is slowly maturing, bringing out some excellent designers and brands that you might want to start to get to know. And here you have some of the numerous shows that I really enjoyed.
With a collection named Strangers presented over a design slightly recreating a camouflage pattern. Tofit started its show with fast-paced beats of music along which the models started to march across the runway.
Mixed patterns and fabrics created the colorful designs that filled the collection. A collection created around three main concepts: the “encounter of military and romance”, fun rebellion of slight punkish details and the comfortable yet stylish desires craved by today’s society. Tofit´s pieces presented mesh detailing, overlapping elements, flowy skirts, and loose fitted pieces with which designer Kim Hyun Jung brought us a strong yet delicate collection that slightly contradicted the “fit” taking part on the brand´s name.
Pictures courtesy of Tofit.
Han Chul Lee
With “Ombra Mai Fu” a piece of opera that could easily bring your mind right back into an Italian Catholic church during the Renaissance period, angelic-faced models dressed fully in white started to glide along the runway.
An outfit slightly transitioning from white to black, started adding duality to the show. The opera music switched then to a Marylin Manson piece that brought with it all black outfits, with beautiful detailing and slight rockish vibes. With military patterns and a mix of fitted and oversized elements, the predominant colors of designer Han Chul Lee´s collection were blacks, whites, and greens adding the occasional red. Abundant metal and silver detailing like studs, beautiful button art, chains, and hooks decorated the pieces. And a mix of materials among which silk, leather, and dark and white jean were the main protagonists, created the pieces.
In a beautifully made collection that in my eyes screamed duality, with slight references to what could possibly also represent a bit of the current Korean political situation. The fringe detailed jackets that made the models wearing them look just like dark winged angels, made me on this case and in this duality, run towards the dark side.
Pictures from Seoul Fashion Week
A dark smoky room illuminated by faint lighting was building the ambiance for Moho´s latest collection, “the sublime”. A very conceptual collection with which designer Lee Gyu Ho wanted to evoke not only the “grandeur of nature”, but also give society a small piece of its mind.
Futuristic outfits, in which pieces could hold a slight resemblance to spacesuits and working gear right out of the next industrial revolution, this collection had the power to teleport you to another era. Beautiful organza suits created through the superposition of fabrics, the mix of materials, the monochromatic color scheme, the incredibly beautifully created accessories, and the accompanied chosen hairdos, definitely made heads turn around for a closer look.
With a collection in which the designer wanted to add a bit of perspective through the criticism of the loss of human value for material one, the armor like structures were in my eyes a clear representation of the defensive personal wall that we at times build in today’s society. A collection in which the aim to trigger an emotion further from the traditional basic aspects of only aesthetic was very well reached.
With a collection as cheerful as the song accompanying it, Big Park´s new collection exuded spring. Colorful schemes with predominant greens, yellows, and oranges played a contrast with the more neutral colored pieces, that added fun elements through overlapping and small colorful touches and details.
The use of silk, ruffles, double ribbons, big sleeves, and artwork like patterns were eye-catching elements that added to the designs. Predominant oversize fits, loose shirts, and flowiness added movement to the collection. A collection in which clothes were given their own special shape through well-thought pattern design and potent detailing elements.
Baroque started its show with enchanting music and an eye-catchy dance performance. The 1001 tale like music, transitioned into a more powerful song that brought the model´s strong strikes along the runway. A collection in predominant blacks and whites, in which the well-made fit and pattern design were the main protagonists in all pieces.
Models with very distinct attitudes added a rebellious aura to the show along with the rockish, punkish and biker elements presented on the runway. Zippers, leather, eye-catching stitch lines, and big bags were big elements on the show, without subtracting any attention of the main star, the outerwear pieces. Overall the show created an aura, through which you could very well imagine charismatic individuals wearing the same exact designs out on the streets while stealing many glances. And that was the beauty of it.
It is about you
Collections were filled by different inspirations, strength and the love for self-expression. So today I wanted to give a shout out not only to the models, the pieces or the collections but especially to all the great creators out there that made all that beautifulness happen through their hard work
This article goes out to all designers established or new. All those artists that actively decide to create and give a piece of themselves into the world besides the hardship or the possible judgments.
Thank you for making reality a bit more colorful, more fitted, more loose, darker, more sober, a little bit more open-minded and special…Thank you for making reality broader and pushing people besides their limits to express themselves.
Also a special thanks to a great designer that through my life taught me love and passion for fashion and self-expression among many other things, being a firsthand example herself. Thank you for being a great designer that has given me not only a career but also a lifelong passion and dreams to go with it.
Designers, today I celebrate and thank you all.
Story: Lorena Jiménez
Written for Groove Magazine
****Disclaimer: Pictures are being disclosed with the permission of the owner, lovely photographer Manon Thore, to whom the Copyright of the former pictures belongs to.