Sure, we are well aware of the popularity of South Korean beauty, what with the many innovative products and trends the beauty mecca has conjured. But what do we know about fashion in Korea? Just like beauty, the booming industry is definitely one you should take note of, with many South Korean brands making their international debut at fashion week.
One great example is Lee Chung Chung, founder of womenswear label Lie. Growing up in the Korean fashion scene (his father is the founder of the South Korean label Lie SangBong), the ambitious designer is definitely one to watch. Recently in Singapore to showcase his new Spring/Summer 2018 collection (which is now made available at SocietyA), we got up close with him where he shared his thoughts on his brand, the industry and more.
On how his background in menswear helped his designs for womenswear
LCC: “I started my fashion design career in menswear with the launch of the line, “A.Hallucination” in London, which went on for about three seasons. In 2011, I returned to Korea to launch my first womenswear label Lie, which stands for love, identity and ego. I brought many ideas from menswear such as tailoring, as well as some details that are a little bit mannish into my current womenswear line and turned it into a more feminine aesthetic. My background in handling men’s clothing has also helped me generate more ideas with some androgynous aspect as well.”
On what makes his label different
LCC: “I really like to combine different colours and textures, together with the menswear elements that I have picked up previously, which I believe is the unique selling point of my label when compared to other brands. When I design my collections, I have the international market in mind, so I don’t really design for the domestic market only.
Another aspect where I feel that makes my brand stand out is that I always make an effort to listen to my customers and get their feedback about what they want. I really like to work with my customers (I’m pretty customer-driven) and listen to their ideas. I feel that this is very important in order to survive in the industry. Co-operating with the customers is crucial but of course, I always make sure to stay true to my brand’s DNA and identity. It’s that fine line between giving them what they want and at the same time offering them something new to keep the brand constantly fresh and modern.”
On how his father has influenced him as a fashion designer
LCC: “My father works really hard even at 70 years old. He has so much passion for this industry and I have never seen anyone like him. He taught me the right attitude of being a fashion designer and always reminded me to do my best no matter what. He is very inspirational to me. Honestly, when I was younger, I thought it’d be too difficult because of the amount of hard work and effort needed but I realised I really wanted to do this (fashion) and make my father’s brand (Lie SangBong) internationally-known. Although it is really tiring, it makes me feel alive and I’m still very happy. I want my company to grow and to be internationally-known.”
On his favourite pieces from his recent collections
LCC: “I really love the outerwear that is made of both plastic and fur which I debuted in my Fall/Winter 2017 collection. It was very interesting to make and it was also another outlet for me to try new things. I got the inspiration from the Inuits tribe from the North Pole.”
On how the rise of Korean pop-culture in the recent years affected his brand
LCC: “It is no doubt that the rise of Korean beauty and pop-culture has definitely helped push my brand into the international market. The downside? it only helps in the beginning. We constantly have to keep the brand fresh to ensure people will come back for the brand and not because of other factors (i.e.: Korean stars). I am always thinking of ways on how to keep people interested in Korean fashion and it is important for me to make sure my brand stands out and continues to grow.”
Three Korean fashion trends to know
LCC: “Streetstyle has been a very prominent trend. Feminine (think ruffles and pretty colours) style is also one that’s pretty constant. Koreans really like to combine streetstyle and feminine aesthetics together in their outfits. Colours is something that’s starting to grow. In the past, many people just wore black and white but now they prefer adding colours to their looks.”
On how serious the South Koreans are about their dressing
LCC: “I think that the South Koreans take dressing up very seriously because it’s a form of expression of how they think and feel. Also, we really like to take inspiration from one another. It is not really a judgement, we just like and enjoy looking at one another and the way we style each piece of clothing. It’s fun and I guess it has become sort of a culture here. And evidently (with the many beauty brands etc) in Korea, the standard of beauty is pretty high and dressing is sort of an extension of beauty itself.”
On the brand’s upcoming plans for 2018
LCC: “We recently opened a new shop in Hyundai, one of Korea’s biggest department stores. We are also in the works of building a new flagship store in the Cheongdam area together with my father’s brand that is set to open officially in April. It consists of three levels – the ground floor, which is a cafe, the second is my brand and the third is my father’s label. Outside of Korea, we will also have a pop-up store in Dubai and Lebonan in March and April respectively. In June, there will be another pop-up in Osaka, which will be a first for the brand.”
Like this? Check out the biggest trends from PFW F/W’18 that you’ll be wearing next season, why this season is the perfect time to free your wardrobe and the two times Milan Fashion Week made us go huh?