Although we, like everyone else, are obsessed with K-beauty to K-pop, what excites us the most about South Korean culture is its burgeoning fashion scene. Take a stroll through its capital city, Seoul, and you’ll find yourself instantly captivated by the killer street style and people-watching opportunities.
While many of us in the States are drawn to Seoul’s exciting streetwear scene, there’s a lot more to Korean fashion than just that. From the feminine to the refined, and the quirky to sporty, there's lots to be inspired by in South Korea’s fashion scene. And now, a new showroom project headed up by KOCCA, the Korean Creative Content Agency, will be bringing some of South Korea’s freshest talents Stateside this fall.
Just don’t assume that any of these labels are newcomers. All of these brands are seasoned in the industry, and already have quite a presence in the Asian and European markets, even if they're just now bringing their wares to the U.S. Get ahead of the curve and get to know these 10 labels—all destined to become your cult-favorites—before everyone else, below.
Photographer: Sun Hye Shin
Stylist: Suk Won Kim
Hair: Seung Won Kim
Makeup: Jo Yeon Won
Models: Yu Jin, Hye Young Seon, Soo Min Cha, and Tobi
Designer Chung Chung Lie is no stranger to the fashion game. The son of a fashion designer, it’s clear in his designs that fashion is in his blood. He’s no stranger to the New York scene, either. Just last season, he showcased his Fall 2018 collection during NYFW’s Concept Korea show.
While his use of texture, patterns, and color, is what makes LIE stand out from the rest, the designer also always incorporates some sort of message into his collections. For Fall 2018, it’s global warming awareness.
Inspired by the North Pole, the collection represents the juxtaposition of the beauty of it all—“the aura of the skies, the blue from the oceans, and the silhouettes and textures of the Inuit tribe”—and the obvious dangers this beauty is facing. After seeing a photo of a starving polar bear, Lie was inspired to bring attention to the melting glaciers and icebergs in the region. You’ll find “It’s not justICE” ("justICE"... "just ice," get it?) slapped onto tees and other items in the collection, bringing attention to the threat the region—and our planet—is facing.
And while each of his collections has some political element to it, it’s never too in-your-face. “I don’t want to push, I want to remind people,” he says.
While always feminine, his pieces certainly aren’t for the faint of heart—even the most classic or basic silhouettes have some sort of twist to them, whether it’s a flared trouser with a panel of ruffles or a faux fur-sleeved top. Yet somehow, it all feels extremely wearable—he makes even a faux shearling and PVC jacket or a patchwork sweatshirt-blouse hybrid seem approachable.