From pop music to beauty, it is no doubt that South Korea is Asia’s foremost trend-setter. The rise of such Korean culture has also shed new lights on Korean fashion, not to mention paparazzi cuts of K-pop stars popping everywhere and a slew of outfit inquiries on items that actresses wore on Korean shows. In case you were overwhelmed by this whole trend, or couldn’t catch up the uber fast-paced Korean fashion, here are the top ten Korean designer brands that you should know.
Mostly known for her wide connection with K-pop stars such as G-dragon and CL alike, 28-year-old designer Kathleen Kye is a true pioneer in Korean fashion. Having graduated from the prestigious fashion school Central Saint Martins in London, she is a fashion wunderkind who draws inspiration from art and design to streetwear. Her bold and witty approach to fashion has not only caught the eyes of many K-pop icons, but has been received a good amount of international attention Ciara, Rita Ora and Rihanna make up its roster of clients.
大多數人知道這個品牌都是因為她與韓流明星的廣泛聯繫，例如G-dragon和CL。28歲的設計師Kathleen Kye可以說是時裝界的神童，也是韓國潮流時裝的先驅。從享負盛名的倫敦中央聖馬丁藝術與設計學院畢業，從高級藝術品與街頭文化都是她的創作靈感。大膽又俏皮的設計風格，不單得到了韓流偶像的垂青，更受到國際的廣泛關注，連Ciara、Rita Ora和Rihanna都在其顧客名單上。
As the second line from designer Jae Hyun Kim’s luxury label Jardin de Chouette, Lucky Chouette enjoys a wider public appeal as it adds a touch of fun to its feminine silhouettes of the mother brand, resulting in a range of contemporary streetwear for the young shopper. The brand plays along with oversized silhouettes and bold prints, including its signature owl motifs, which symbolize luck.
作為設計師Jae Hyun Kim的高級品牌Jardin de Chouette的副線，Lucky Chouette有著廣泛的吸引力。除了具有母牌的女性化風格，亦添加了不少有趣的元素，吸引一眾現代街頭風格的年輕買家。品牌起用闊身剪裁及大膽圖案，包括其標誌性、象徵運氣的貓頭鷹圖案。
Style Nanda is Korea’s number one blogshop-turned-store, now even carrying its own makeup line 3 Concept Eyes, along with accessories, shoes and in-house art prints. It has an enormous three-story flagship store in the cool Hongdae area of Seoul, as well as stores all around Asia. From streetwear cool to ultra feminine looks, this shop carries them all, available at surprisingly affordable prices, not to mention some credits to the brand’s lovely muse Park Sora.
Style Nanda是韓國第一間由網店轉變而成的實體店，不單有自家化妝品系列3 Concept Eyes，亦有配飾、鞋及室內藝術擺設。在首爾弘大設立三層高的大型旗艦店，亞洲各地亦有分店。從型格街頭風到超女性化衣飾，Style Nanda都有包辦，而且定價非常合理。不得不提的是，Park Sora是品牌的迷人繆斯。
Considered as the most high-fashion label among all the brands in this list, Couronne is a luxury women’s accessories brand specializing in leather goods such as handbags, wallets, shoes and small accessories. The brand carries a unique and chic style by the warm palette and carefully selected materials, as the signature Stephanie bag continues its triumph by captivating the minds of many celebrities and trendsetters alike.
Cres. E. Dim. by designer Kim Hongbum is a contemporary women’s clothing brand that focuses on building up a modern identity by experimenting with new fabrics and silhouettes over casual wear, such as bomber jackets, sweatshirts and long skirts. The brand also has a sister brand, Dim. E. Cres, which has a more casual take on androgynous sporty streetwear.
由設計師Kim Hongbum創立的Cres. E. Dim.，是個具現代感的女裝品牌。透過對不同布料和剪裁的試驗，例如飛行員夾克、運動服及長裙，為女性顧客建立現代化的身份。其姊妹品牌Dim. E. Cres則主要售賣隨意中性的街頭運動服。
A self-proclaimed ‘unique, quirky and crazy’ brand, pushBUTTON by singer-turned-designer Park Seunggun is a witty, edgy yet feminine brand which has been acclaimed by lots of young people looking for something unique and fun to wear. Its bold and daring collection have been on the lips of fashion insiders as the ‘it’ label, as it continues to innovate the ‘new of the new’ in fashion. The label’s runway shows are always the most star-studded shows of Seoul Fashion Week.
一個自稱獨特、古怪和瘋狂的品牌，pushBUTTON的創辦人是由歌手轉為設計師的Park Seunggun。品牌俏皮、前衛而不失女人味的風格，受到一班愛獨特又有趣的年輕人讚賞。PushBUTTON追求「new of the new」，所以力求革新。設計大膽的產品系列成為品牌標誌，傳頌於時裝界內。品牌的時裝騷總是在首爾時裝週中最令人期待，也是最星光熠熠的。
Curated by designer Lee Myungshin and her friends, womenswear label Low Classic has quickly made a name for itself since its launch in 2009 as the winner of the Korean version of Project Runaway. Taking a minimal approach to clean, classic wear with a focus on natural materials and colors, the brand has been tapped by some of the big names in the industry, including Opening Ceremony US and A-Land in Korea.
由設計師Lee Myungshin和朋友所創立的女裝品牌Low Classic於2009年成立後極速成名，是韓版Project Runaway的勝出者。品牌善於利用天然物料和顏色，製造易於清潔、經典耐磨的衣服，更受到國際大品牌的發掘，包括美國的Opening Ceremony和韓國的A-Land。
Known particularly for its innovative designs and dynamic silhouettes, Surreal but Nice is a brand launched by two designers Lee Suhyong and Lee Enkyoung who want to show the co-existence of surrealism and the ordinary and its unexpectedness through the brand. Since its launch in 2009, the duo has been on the fashion industry’s rador with their unique juxtaposition of textures such as neoprene with leather and silk over an array of modern streetwear.
因其創新的設計和具動感的剪裁以聞名的Surreal but Nice由設計師Lee Suhyong和Lee Enkyoung創立。二人的品牌理念是希望展示超現實主義與平凡的共存，從而帶出一種不可預測的獨特性。自2009年成立以來，二人因為擅長將獨特的材質併合，例如氯丁橡膠皮革和絲綢製造的現代街頭服，成為時裝界的雷達。
Founded by two Korean graduates from the aforementioned prestigious fashion school Central Saint Martins, the duo’s label J Koo, which is an abbreviated name that has both of their names, blends simplicity with an alternative take on luxury and femininity, resulting in a one-of-a-kind modern aesthetic. J Koo’s bold and colorful prints over exaggerated silhouettes are balanced out by the calm undertones.
兩名創辦人與Kathleen Kye一樣，同是中央聖馬丁藝術與設計學院的畢業生。J Koo是二人名字的簡稱，品牌棄走奢華路線，取而代之的一種充滿女性味道的簡單感覺，融合出獨一無二的現代美感。J Koo大膽而顏色豐富的圖案，結合誇張的剪裁，卻能意外地帶出一種出平靜的意境。
Bymou is a casual womenswear line with its main concepts as rocker chic, funky and unique. Since its launch in 2006, Bymou has partnered up with various international brands for collaborations, including TOPSHOP UK, and made its way to Asia’s retail stores at a reasonable price. The brand aims to split the main line into women, men and kids’ wear in the near future.
Photos courtesy of respective brands