K-trend forecaster Joie Reinstein (@kimchi_creative) takes on the walkways of the Dongdaemun Design Plaza, surveying emerging styles inspired by subcultures, tradition, and even South Korea's current sociopolitical climate. This is part one.
Words and Photos Joie Reinstein
Romantically layering ruffles and billowing sleeves instills a mood of the vintage French countryside. French marine stripes de rigueur.
Late 90s, early 2000’s raver style started to bubble up last season and now is trending at full speed, especially for men. Layering bright colors, patterns and characters, with a baggy silhouette and bold accessories is the key to this look.
I don’t play sports (but I want to be on the team)
The next permutation of athleisure: this isn’t your “I threw on my yoga pants with my yeezy’s” style, no. Mixing athleticism with a bit of sex appeal and quirkiness, this look is loud and daring. Sporty items such as track pants, hoodies and varsity jackets are paired with shredded denim and ladylike elements for women. Shirts are cropped and fishnets are on display to complement this look.
There is always some sort goth happening at Seoul Fashion Week each season. Last October it was sports goth now we’ve entered a moodier early 2000s raver goth phase with exaggerated geometric shapes and pops of red.
Seoul Fashion Week draws a very international crowd and in particular, people coming from all over Asia. Fashionistas find ways to cleverly mix their home country’s traditional garments with modern elements, elevating traditional looks from places like Thailand, Vietnam and Japan to a whole new level.
Pitti Uomo in Seoul
Seoul Boys know how to do a good tailored suit and this season several of them rocked tailoring that the men at the suit Mecca, Pitti Uomo in Italy would have approved of. Suits often had a vintage flare with wide leg pants, double breasted jackets and muted pastel colors.
THE look on the runways as well as the street: a direct result of the current political climate of Korea where the youth are now contemplating their uncertain future after a period of scandal and upheaval. Garments are heavily layered, often uneven and shredded. The main point of this look is to appear as if one had put on a bunch of random clothing to face the global warming elements and then just emerged from a protest, disheveled. Expect to see this trend spread across Asia as well as to the West in the months to come.
Colorful outfits fit for the racetrack where happening in a big way for both men and women this season. Whether it be looking like you are part of the pit crew, wearing full on racer gear, or just donning certain elements such as a racer jacket or checkerboard prints, this is a new and fun style meant for the fashion adventurous.
Punk was HUGE on the runway last season here in Seoul and we are still seeing it’s trickle -down effect on the street. For those not willing to go full Sex Pistols, there is a softer side of punk with loose silhouettes and typical tartans toned down with denim or chic accessories.
One of the more unexpected trends this season was a sort of homage to Ronald McDonald both in color (with the not easy mix of yellow and red) as well as stripes and ribbons. Some ladies went even further by adding some BDSM elements to the mix. Cres E Dim could be largely responsible for this as they have stood behind the yellow and red combo for a few seasons now.
A more “true punk” if one would word it like that, some Fashion Week attendees went all out in their rebellion. When asked, it was discovered that most of these people customized and painted their leather jackets themselves, bringing in even more of the DIY punk spirit. The usual suspects, leather, plaid and hardware were all there.
Surprisingly more cute looks, which are more typical on the everyday streets of Seoul, aren’t as present at Seoul Fashion Week, but a few girls did confidently rock some more flirty feminine and pastel ensembles.
The Moon and the Stars
Ethereal and spacey are two words that come to mind with this look. Semitransparent materials, high metallic accessories, and soft hues make us feel dreamy about the universe.