Korea’s Fashion Industry Continues to Make a Strong Impact Here in the States By Steve V. Rodriguez

Korean Designers: Choi Bo Ko (Left), Rich Kim (Center), Lie Sang Bong (Right)

Korean Designers: Choi Bo Ko (Left), Rich Kim (Center), Lie Sang Bong (Right)

The impact of Korean fashion in the States, namely New York City, has been growing steadily and quickly adding a refreshing twist on traditional silhouettes. It’s not that surprising since Seoul, is the fourth largest metropolitan economy followed by Tokyo, New York and Los Angeles. Similar in size and just as expansive as the latter, Seoul is a leader in technology with big name brands like Samsung. Additionally,  Seoul is ranked sixth in the world with leading Fortune 500 companies. Typically, when economies are strong, so are industries like fashion,  art and culture. Prior to the Korean War, fashion in Seoul and the rest of the country was clean, neat,  and simple, often resembling classic Western designs of elegance and wealth.  After the war, combined with a more recent economic boom, fashion has grown in Seoul as well as neighboring parts of South Korea, allowing progressive designers to flourish, while expanding their unique design aesthetic. Today, Seoul Fashion Week occurs twice a year in October and March, following the shows of New York Fashion Week. The growth and presence of Korean fashion designers in New York has steadfastly increased, and is measurable by reviewing the last few fashion weeks in New York. International designers like Lie Sang Bong, the group collective Concept Korea and New York designer, Rich Kim have painted the fashion landscape with original and noteworthy collections, thus adding to the impact of Korean fashion here in the states.

Lie Sang Bong

Lie Sang Bong Lie Sang Bong is the president of the Council of Fashion Designers in Korea, and has been showing his couture collections in Paris for over 10-years. Having dressed celebrities like Lady Gaga, Rhianna, Juliet Binoche and Beyonce, we first met the designer last year when he participated in the group collective, Concept Korea at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week, for Fall 2013. Our Fashion Editor, Carlton Jones, was invited to interview the designer backstage, prior to the group presentation. This year, Lie Sang Bong sat front row at Concept Korea, and he presented his solo Ready-to-Wear fashion show the following day at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week. Additionally we have learned that next Fall 2014, he’ll be opening his first New York flagship store, plus he’ll continue to present his couture collection at Paris Fashion Week. Watch our video feature below of Lie Sang Bong at the recent Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week for Fall 2014.

Concept Korea

Concept Korea Concept Korea is a group collective show at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week that just celebrated it’s 9th season at NY Fashion Week for Fall/Winter 2014.   Concept Korea is Korea’s government backed ‘global project’ which provides their top fashion designers with support and publicity to advance into overseas markets.   Our Fashion Correspondent/Stylist, Carlton Jones caught up with one of  the show’s designers,  ChoiBoko,  to find out about the inspiration for his collection.  Our first introduction to Concept Korea last year, was featured as a presentation of Korean designers. This past season saw the growth by narrowing the designers down to just four designers, with a well curated runway show. The designers this past season at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week included: KAAL E.SUKTAE, ChoiBoko, Beyond Closet and Big Park. Watch our video feature below, which also includes an interview with Lie Sang Bong.

Rich Kim

Designer Rich Kim is no newcomer to the Fashion scene, even though he recently debuted his first ever collection of menswear at New York Fashion for Fall 2014. Kim has made and produced clothes for Cesar Galindo, Meskita, and our own host, Carlton Jones’ new fashion line. With the help and encouragement of new designer and producer, Jarmal Harris, and owner of Mood Fabrics, Jack Sauma, Kim is now ready to design clothes that inspire him for his own label. His new menswear collection featured an array of rich fabrics, multi-layers and updated designs on classic silhouettes. Watch the video below as Carlton Jones chats with Jarmal Harris and Rich Kim about the collaboration, and inspiration for Fall 2014.

Korean fashion,  and their design aesthetic continues to inspire us, grow,  and contribute to the global fashion community. We are excited to feature and continue to explore this exciting time of Korean Fashion.