Beyond Closet is one of Korea’s foremost menswear designers. Designer Ko Tae Yong combines his love of dandyism with contemporary American design to create reconstructions of classic styles. His bright designs belie the structured nature of his collections, which still bear the influence of his degree in uniform design at the Catholic University in Korea. Tae Yong juggles a fellowship at Sasada Fashion School, where he still lectures, with a blossoming career in fashion design. He was awarded the New Designer by Korea Fashion Brand Awards in 2010, and recently debuted his s/s 2014 collection in New York to positive reviews as part of Concept Korea, a platform which allows Korean designers to exhibit their work at New York Fashion Week.
Steve J & Yoni P
The funky designer duo behind their eponymous brand. Having debuted their first collection at London Fashion Week in 2007, this duo’s designs can be found at foreign high-fashion retailers such as Opening Ceremony. In Korea, the initial wave of popularity that greeted them is as strong as ever.
The clothes are wearable, but with an unexpected kick in the details.
The brand’s flagship store in Hannam-dong this season is a playground of summery dresses with floral prints, fancifully re-imagined stripes and paisley.
“Spain has Zara, Korea has 8seconds,” says “InStyle Korea” fashion editor Sujin Yang.
Launched in February in 2012 by Samsung subsidiary Cheil Industries as a domestic competitor to foreign fashion brands such as UNIQLO, 8seconds‘ heavy marketing paid off with ₩60 billion ($54 million) in sales in 2012.
The brand’s goal for 2013 is ₩150 billion ($134 million) in sales. It hopes to bring its success abroad with international stores open by 2014.
The name is supposed to signify the length of time that we perceive as the “now,” according to the brand’s somewhat convoluted mission statement.
With colorful and creative displays, the stores are some of the most fun to visit in Korea.
A signature 8seconds look combines neon tribal print leggings, Space Age-silver bomber jacket and retro polka dot blouse, all at extremely low prices, in the Forever 21 range.
PushBUTTON is a frequent favorite of the press. It’s difficult to pick up any Korean magazine without seeing one of their bold pieces in both men and women’s editorials. Park Seunggun, pushBUTTON’s creative director, takes the brand in quirky and whimsical directions, while never straying from a sophisticated and clean line. Founded in 2003, the brand has collaborated with Puma and Korean beauty giant Amorepacific in order to reach a wider audience and lend their aesthetic to more everyday items. They have also launched a sub label named Dressmonster, which is currently available at the premier platform for fresh talent.
Lucky Chouette is the sister brand of Jardin de Chouette, which means “garden of owls.”
Lucky Chouette is the variegated, street-inspired and accessible line by Kim Jae-hyun, who was chosen to be part of Seoul’s 10 Soul — a fashion project launched by the Seoul government to promote upcoming Korean designers.
“Kim Jae-hyun is already a familiar figure in the fashion world through her Jardin de Chouette line,” says Yang, adding that Kim’s atelier is always crowded with Korean celebrities.
Silhouettes tend to be chunky and casual — skirts are short and flared, blouses are oversized.
Prints play a big part in the Lucky Chouette design, as does the owl, which is supposed to symbolize luck.