Seoul fashion has, to those in the know, been the envy of many for some time now. In the same way that Korea has exported its music, film and drama so successfully across Asia and the world, their fashion industry is now beginning to attract much attention from across the globe. With its slick, youth centred, unique and, sometimes, eccentric trends, it is little wonder that Korean clothing is garnering the same positive reactions as its other cultural exports and it can only be a matter of time before these trends are fully embraced by Westerners.
Korean style, as sported in K-Pop videos by acts like SNSD (Girl’s Generation), T-Ara and Wonder Girls, is particularly popular in Japan; it is not rare for markets in Seoul (such as Mokdong, Tongdaemun and Namdaemun) to be heavily populated with Japanese tourists who are visiting simply to pick up the latest Korean trends. What is so appealing about Korean styles is that, although often taking a Western design as a starting point, clothes are regularly tailored to mesh street wise edge with vivid sophistication and more leftfield character.
One example of a uniquely Korean piece of clothing are “Tunic Tops”. Whilst they are named “tops” the items can be, in actuality, worn without trousers or a skirt (although this is up to the discretion of the wearer and are often complimented with shorts or jeans). The “tunic top” is a piece of clothing that is essentially somewhere between a dress and shirt – too long to be a shirt and too much like a shirt to be a dress. The style also boasts another uniquely Korean trend in the way it fits the wearer – the current fashion for many clothes dictates a loose fitting top half and a tighter below.
A great example of how Korean fashion has become so popular in Japan is through examining their footwear; Seoul trends have clearly been inspired by the Japanese preference of Kawaii styles. Brands such as Haru are a leading exponent of this and have developed some of the most loved and cute children and ladies’ shoes on the market. Whilst often taking a Western design as the starting point for their footwear designs, Korean trends have twisted these classic blueprints and added an array of outside the box character and features.
In the same way that many Korean films use classic Hollywood genres as their starting point before subverting them to give them uniquely Asian character, their fashion trends are no different. Particularly popular footwear this summer has included a range of beaded thong and heeled ankle strap sandals; a great illustration of sprucing up a tired style with vibrant new innovations. Another incredibly popular shoe trend this year has been an androgynous one; Oxford shoes, usually seen worn by sophisticated gentlemen such as George Clooney, have been re-heeled with a wedge sole and marketed to women. Formerly the go to shoe of middle aged business men, Oxford shoes, in their new re-appropriation, are now often seen on the feet of young female Koreans.
With the increasing availability of Korean fashion outside Asia it will surely not be long before on trend women are looking for style inspiration from the likes of 2NE1, f(x), Jun Ji-Hyun, e.via, Girl’s Generation and their ilk.
Kieron Casey is a UK fashion writer who blogs about the latest fashion trends and shoes online. He is also a huge Korean enthusiast and loves visiting Ittaewon to pick up the latest K-Pop CDs.
Hi guys! don't forget to follow/subscribe to my blog for more updates/posts ;)