|Participating designers and artists of Fashion Kode pose at a press briefing held on Monday in Seoul. From left: Bastong CEO Ki Nam-hae; illustrator Kwang; artist and designer KUN; and fashion designers Kim Hong-beom and Shin Yong-kyun. (Korea Creative Content Agency)|
While Korean fashion has been on the international radar for quite some time, the lack of a proper fashion trade show has hindered overseas buyers from meeting local brands.
Fashion Kode, envisioned as Asia’s fashion business hub, will be held Thursday through Saturday at Coex in Samseong-dong, southern Seoul, gathering some 150 local fashion brands and designers and 20 foreign companies and buyers.
The event will kick off with seminars and a market where designers and sellers can pitch their items, followed by the opening fashion show by renowned fashion designer Song Zio. A networking party for designers, buyers and the press will close Thursday’s schedule of events while a fashion show by up-and-coming designer Shin Yong-kyun of Alogon at the Stage NEXT session will serve as the finale on Saturday.
Artists outside of fashion will also host side events. There will be a showcase for T-shirt silk screening, visitors can design their own shoes at the “You are the Designer” section, and fashion photographers Hong Jang-hyun and An Sung-jin will be on hand to take photos of visitors. The Korea Creative Content Agency, organizer of the event, said DJs will perform to spice up the atmosphere.
The schedule is conveniently timed to overlap with Seoul Fashion Week slated for Oct. 18-23.
“This way, buyers will be able to observe and enjoy various trends in Seoul,” a participating designer said.
“We are hoping that the event will strengthen the global competitiveness of local fashion brands, create a visible export effect, share the latest trend information in fashion, and provide partial business opportunities to match buyers with sellers,” the organization said.
Designers participating in Fashion Kode 2013 say the event could be a huge boost.
“I can see that buyers are generally interested in Korean fashion as a cool thing. Buyers from all around the world individually contact designers and ask for a showcase,” said Kim Hong-beom, designer of Cres. E Dim.
“I find Fashion Kode exciting in that sense. Korea is the only country that does not have a large fashion trade show while Japan’s roomsLink is a strong fashion festival in Asia,” he added.
Ki Nam-hae, CEO of Bastong, a brand focusing on outdoor apparel, said he welcomes the opportunity.
“Of course this is a very early stage and I wouldn’t say that we are expecting a huge deal this year, but having a large trade show with buyers from major department stores such as Harvey Nichols in Hong Kong and others is a great opportunity,” he said.
The designers agreed that it was K-pop that drew people to Korea’s culture. “But it will be our homework to draw their attention to other parts of the industry. So when I go overseas, I tend to highlight the fact that K-pop stars wore my designs and show our collaborative works,” said KUN, an artist and designer who will present silk screening prints for T-shirts at the event.
“K-pop is a good start for a story but if you don’t have the right content and the right place to pitch it, (the opportunity) will fizzle. In that way, yes, I am thrilled to share my art world with others and promote it,” he added.
For more information about the event, visit www.fashionkode.com.
By Bae Ji-sook (email@example.com)