South Korea's pop-culture exports to the West have brought in billions of dollars, and its music, television, cinema, technology, and beauty exports have created some of the world's most significant cultural trends today. Korean fashion is now making its mark on the world stage. These 13 up-and-coming Korean designers are fast establishing themselves in the fashion world, both at home and abroad.
1. Hyein Seo
Hyein Seo was asked to present her debut collection at New York Fashion Week while she was just 23 years old and still a student at the prestigious Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp, Belgium. Rihanna, an international superstar, noticed Seo's art and became an instant admirer, helping to make the "School Kills" t-shirt one of her signature products. Her apparel is a wonderful fit for millennials, incorporating famous motifs from youth with a streetwear aesthetic and a sense of defiance.
2. Terrence And Kevin Kim
Terrence And Kevin Kim, a Korean-American design pair headquartered in Seoul, have always been motivated by their roots. This is nicely reflected in their IISE brand, which offers a wide range of streetwear things from apparel to bags. Each piece is handcrafted in Seoul with a blend of Korean textiles, techniques, and a mix of contemporary and traditional styles.
3. Hee Jin Kim
Kimmy J, Hee Jin Kim's own label, debuted in 2013 as a monochromatic womenswear line with black punk-inspired separates like miniskirts and pleather tops. While the materials and shapes haven't changed, the brand has expanded to include menswear as well as a more vibrant colour palette. Kim is said to draw inspiration from observing society and tries to include a fresh philosophical notion into each season's collection.
4. Leesle Hwang
Leesle Hwang, the creator and CEO of casual hanbok firm Leesle, is perhaps the most passionate about resurrecting the hanbok, Korea's traditional clothing. She designed a hanbok for an occasion around a decade ago, and it was a success with the participants. She opened an online business in response to the growing demand in modern adaptations of traditional Korean clothing, and it has now evolved into a hugely popular brand. Leesle, who is still in her twenties, is making a name for herself and was recently featured in Vogue.
5. Kathleen Kye
Kathleen Kye's designs are noted for their eye-catching contrasts and the use of street art motifs. They are quirky and bright. Her most recent collections include band tees in satin and fur, as well as zany motifs paired with shaggy textiles. Rihanna, who has been seen wearing a blue mink coat, G-Dragon, and Dara from 2NE1 are among their followers.
6. Younchan Chung
Younchan Chung, a Seoul native, founded his brand Sirius (named after the brightest star in the night sky) shortly after graduating from fashion school, and after only two seasons, he was awarded the British Fashion Council's renowned International Fashion Showcase designer award. Leather, lightweight wools, and lustrous silks are among the materials he used to produce the contemporary yet understated elegance that has become synonymous with his brand.
7. Jae Hyun Kim
Jae Hyun Kim is the Creative Director of Jardin de Chouette and Lucky Chouette, two of Korea's most intriguing labels. The former began as a company that specialised in custom-made, one-of-a-kind pieces, while the latter expands on what she does best: designing entertaining and quirky clothing with powerful yet feminine forms. Lucky Chouette has quickly established itself as a popular label among K-pop idols and their passionate followers.
8. Noah Nam
Noah Nam's ultimate goal for his Nohant brand, which he launched in 2012, was to bring what he calls the "brunch aesthetic." This approach makes it easy to look relaxed and attractive while enjoying brunch on a Sunday afternoon. Warm knitted scarves, cotton sweaters, flannel patterned suits, and soft fleece sweatshirts are among the items featured in his Alpine-inspired unisex collection for Fall 2017.
9. Rejina Pyo
Rejina Pyo's eclectic interests undoubtedly contribute to her work's distinct aesthetic — one that is both elegant and playful. The London-based designer, who was born in Korea, merges abstract art's graphic influences and startling colours with a sophisticated, subtle femininity.
10. Munsoo Kwon
Munsoo Kwon apprenticed at Thom Browne, Helmut Lang, and Robert Geller, as well as working as a designer at Andrew Buckler, before founding his own line in New York in 2012. Kwon, who is known for fitted menswear filtered through the lens of youth culture, has been in the media spotlight for a long time and has been featured in publications such as Harper's Bazaar, Elle, and Vogue.