Hera Seoul Fashion Week

Seoul Fashion Week

Photo by 김신재 (his Instagram account is @fotografo_enzo)

The main trends of Seoul Fashion Week Spring-Summer 2019: “War and Peace”, digitalization and Kids models Boom.

Spring-Summer 2019 fashion show season has officially ended with Seoul Fashion Week.  This event is no doubt ‘the jewel in the crown’ of both Asian and European fashion markets.

What was it about this time? Let’s go through the main highlights:

“War and Peace” Theme

The year 2018 was marked by major changes in the relations between the two countries of the Korean Peninsula.  An agreement on the end of the war which lasted nearly 65 years was negotiated.  Several summits aiming for a unification of Korea were held. No wonder that these unbelievable historical events had an impact on all spheres of life: including fashion.

Photo by Maiya Li, Instagram @maiya_li

This year, Seoul Fashion Week opened with the 30th-anniversary show of the world famous men’s clothing brand Solid Homme, founded by Korean designer Woo Young Mi in 1988. The show was held in the twilight light of the futuristic creation of Zaha Hadid – Dongdaemun Design Plaza and gathered an international audience of critics, buyer, bloggers and fashionista people.

War and Peace

Photo by 김신재 (his Instagram account is @fotografo_enzo)

The show was divided into 2 parts.  This was so one could possibly catch an idea of both the autumn-winter 2018 and spring-summer 2019 collections. The best Korean models defiled on the sand-styled runaways of the DDP in their trendy military-style costumes-uniforms. Their handbags with a laconic slogan “Peace” completed multi-layered oversized outfits. Another Korean brand that is one of the most popular among international buyers, which could not bypass military themes, was R. Shemiste, who called his show “War is over, get real world.” Models were dressed up in contrasting prints, textures, and colors, richly decorated with appliqués and patchwork, as well as inscriptions like “Extra peace, real liberty.”

Go Green

Photo by Maiya Li, Instagram @maiya_li

Designers paid close attention to the ecological situation in the world. Anyone who traveled in Korea this year, for example, was surprised by the widespread rejection of plastic straws and take-away coffee paper cups in numerous coffee shops throughout the country. The young brand Ti: bag in its collection also tried to attract peoples attention to the preservation of wildlife issue. The show began with a unique dance.  A girl in a white dress “fluttered” against the backdrop of raging waves until a little boy took her away. Afterward came the models in light dresses decorated with a floral print.  Some were holding in their hands eco-bags with real live plants.

Gender Neutrality

Photo by Maiya Li, Instagram @maiya_li

No matter how progressive Korea might be, LGBTQ, sexuality and gender equality are still quite delicate subjects to talk about openly. However, designers cannot help using unisex style ideas in their collections.  Male models with long hair were cat-walking in maxi skirts and dresses.  On the other hand girls with short boyish haircuts had almost zero or nude makeup.

Digitalization and K-pop

It is no secret that, thanks to K-pop stars and Korean dramas, it is difficult to find someone who would have no idea about Korea.  Fans, on the other hand, want to know what beauty products and brands their idols use every day. And therefore, one of the priorities of the fashion industry is to collaborate with Korean super-stars such as BTS, EXO, Winner, Wanna One, etc. Thanks to the internationally growing interest in Korean show business, Korean fashion is also going through its ‘rebirth’. Known for its advanced technology, Korea has taken advantage of this by constantly running live streaming from shows to reach as many people around the world as possible.

“The Internet has opened the way for people to virtually attend all Hera Seoul Fashion Week (SFW) shows in real time, despite physical distances, in the same way, we can see global fashion shows on the other side of the world, I believe that for Korean designers, participation in SFW is enough to go global, as public interest in our fashion week is constantly growing,” Says Jung Ku-ho, executive director of Hera Seoul Fashion Week.

Kids models Boom

Photo by 김신재 (his Instagram account is @fotografo_enzo)

If you were lucky enough to be at Seoul Fashion Week this year, then you definitely should have paid attention to the glamorous and showy children.  They were accompanied by mothers, often dressed in the same outfit. Everywhere clicks of the cameras were heard, trying to catch a single gesture, every passing movement small models were professionally and confidently posing for.

In Korea, there is now a big problem with the birth rate decrease.  Young women do not want to “sacrifice” their careers for the sake of family and children.  They refer to either not have children at all, or limit themselves to a maximum of one child. Plus, the upbringing and education of the child “cost them a pretty penny”.  Korean parents dream that their children become famous, successful and rich, and therefore from a very early age their children attend all possible academies, including fashion academies where they pose and defile on a par with adults, if not better. You could easily choose your favorite model just by giving a quick glance at the kids.

Fashion seminar

Photo by Maiya Li, Instagram @maiya_li

For the first time a fashion seminar with the participation of world fashion critics, designers and buyers took place in the spring of 2018, gathering a considerable audience and leading to a public outcry. This SFW was accompanied by the second seminar, with Anders Christian Madsen (Vogue UK), Isabella Burley (Editor-in-Chief, Dazed UK), Mario Dell’Oglio (President, Italian chamber of buyers), and Sarah Mower (Vogue US Chief Fashion critic) as prominent fashion mentors.

The seminar was designed to help young Korean designers to understand the main fashion trends.  Trends such as influencer Marketing and New Perspectives. Besides, in the epoch of digitalization and universal globalization, in order not to lose its relevance, one should focus on influencers – bloggers and vloggers.  Especially from among millennials and centennials. Not to forget about cross-collaborations between brands, with world celebrities.  As well as with governmental and non-governmental organizations, such as the UN and NASA.

Maiya Li
Maiya Li

Maiya Li is a graduate student at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies and is majoring in Global Culture Contents and is a freelance journalist from Kazakhstan. You can reach her on her Instagram account @maiya_li

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