You may know your K-beauty brands inside out, but what of Korean fashion? Apart from high street chain Style Nanda and G-Dragon‘s label Peaceminusone, the city’s fashion landscape is home to countless designers adept at turning out the edgiest and trendiest — popular with your favourite Korean celebrities and locals alike. Whether your style is girly, streetwise or androgynous, below, a wide array of options by way of fifteen brands that promise one thing above all: wearable clothing and accessories. Knock yourself out.
Cover image: Dew E Dew E
The it girl of the moment, Korean-American Kathleen Hanhee Kye graduated with a masters in menswear from Central Saint Martins in 2011, and set up Kye that same year. “Kye is all about casual wear, fun, a bit rude, it’s unisex, but more focused on women,” Kye has said. The designer who has collaborated with popular brands like Gentle Monster, Adidas and shu uemura, is also friends with Irene Kim, Big Bang and C.L.
If you like urban sportswear, bomber jackets, grunge and layering, you’ll love the aesthetic of South Korean designer Hyein Seo, a graduate of Antwerp’s prestigious Royal Academy of Fine Arts.’
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Launched by celebrity designer Kim Jae-hyun, Lucky Chouette is for the modern woman who loves her prints and colours. Whether it’s for work or the weekend, you’ll find versatile separates that you can mix and match.
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Irene Is Good Label
As the name suggests, this is the eponymous label of Korean model-cum-personality Irene Kim (AKA @ireneisgood). Launched just a few months ago in 2018, it exemplifies Kim’s girls-just-wanna-have-fun approach to styling herself — purveying cropped tees, kitschy accessories, and all the trendiest must-haves. Think: plastic totes, bucket hats and colourful scrunchies.
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The winner of the 2013 H&M Design Award and Semi-Finalist of the LVMH Prize For Young Fashion Designers in 2014, Minju Kim’s collections always feature self-drawn illustrations, whimsical prints and avant-garde silhouettes.
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The South Korean brand is for the woman who marches to her own beat. Worn by international celebrities such as Rihanna, Lady Gaga and Kourtney Kardashian, the designs are kitsch and guaranteed to make a statement.
This too-cool-for-school streetwear label burst onto the scene at Seoul Fashion Week a couple of seasons ago — designer Bajowoo is known for staging his runway underground (literally) — and has since been picked up by many K-pop idols. Sandara Park (above) is known to attend the 99%IS fashion shows, and reps the brand’s punk-inspired garments on the regular.
Launched in 2012 when Goen Jong returned home after graduating from Paris’ prestigious Studio Berçot, this eponymous label focuses on wardrobe basics with a modern yet romantic aesthetic with mixed textures and asymmetrical silhouettes.
After graduating from Studio Berçot and working at Balenciaga, Kiminte Kimhekim launched his label in 2014. He combines traditional Korean sewing techniques (passed on to him by his grandmother) with methods of French haute couture, to create beautiful and elegant tailored pieces.
Tell The Truth
Tell the Truth made its runway debut at this year Seoul Fashion Week. “I started the brand to make pieces one can wear for a long time,” said designer Kim Sung-eun. These elevated basics are a hit with celebrities like Suzy and Kong Hyo jin.
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SJYP is the brainchild of Korean-born husband and wife duo, Steve Jung and Yoni Pai. The Central Saint Martins alumni put their spin on denim and have effortlessly nailed cool streetwear vibes.
Founded by Yohan Kang in 2013, Charm’s is a well-known label in South Korea’s fashion scene by now — beloved by locals and idols alike. The designer puts out a gamut of easy-to-wear logo hoodies and tees each season, alongside a “more designed” range of womenswear and menswear.
Dew E Dew E
Design duo Suyeon Lee and Junyeong Kim are behind this girly label that has made summer dressing their bread and butter. From tulle or gingham frocks to ruffled blouses, Dew E Dew E offers up the perfect vacation — and Instagram — wardrobe.
Shop Dew E Dew E.
Rocket x Lunch
Another staple in every trendy South Korean’s wardrobe, designer Jinwon Woo’s feminine pieces are the perfect office wardrobe. His colours and patterns are rather safe without being boring, and Woo drills down on interesting details like asymmetrical hems and patchwork-ed fabrics. They’re just enough to have you standout on the job — without getting the stink eye from your boss.
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Johnny Hates Jazz
Since 2007, the label’s Ji-hyung Choi has nailed a whimsical and vintage-tinged edit of dresses and blouses. Expect some of the designer’s wares to resemble a second-hand store gem, or look like it’s straight out of Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.
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