LIFE&STYLE

New Seoul Fashion Week director hopes to promote K-style to world

By Im Eun-byel

Organizers focus on Asian market buyers from 12 countries

  • Published : Oct 1, 2019 - 17:07
  • Updated : Oct 1, 2019 - 17:07

Fashion designer Jung Ku-ho has stepped down as executive director of Seoul Fashion Week after four years at the helm of the country’s largest fashion event.

Taking his place is Jeon Mi-kyeong, a former editor-in-chief of Harper’s Bazaar Korea with more than 25 years of experience in the fashion magazine industry. She will head Seoul Fashion Week with the Seoul Design Foundation for two years.

The 2020 spring-summer Seoul Fashion Week -- the first edition led by Jeon -- is slated to take place Oct. 14-19 at the Zaha Hadid-designed Dongdaemun Design Plaza in central Seoul.

“Korea is a very strong consumer when it comes to luxury goods. But still, it is sad to see that there has not been a global designer or a brand that can represent Korea,” Jeon said at a press event held Tuesday at the DDP. 
(Seoul Design Foundation)
Seoul Fashion Week’s Executive Director Jeon Mi-kyeong speaks during a press event Tuesday at the Dongdaemun Design Plaza in Jung-gu, central Seoul. (Seoul Design Foundation)

“Thanks to the popularity of K-pop, K-beauty and K-culture, perhaps it is time for K-style to be introduced to the world in a more mature form.”

This season, 135 buyers from 12 Asian countries and 30 buyers from the US and Europe have been invited to attend, with a strong focus on the Asian market, where Korean designers have a higher chance of sales.

“In fashion, the overseas market is like the Olympics, where designers can herald their status and deliver Korea’s content, but the local (market) is where they breathe with the public,” Jeon said.

Tickets for fashion shows will be available to the public. Around 5 percent of the seats for each Seoul Collection show will be sold to the public at the price of 10,000 won.

As in previous editions, this season will see 34 Seoul Collection shows and 20 Generation Next shows.

Under an agreement between the British Fashion Council and the Seoul Design Foundation, London-based fashion designer Ashely Williams will present her collection at Seoul Fashion Week.

Seoul Fashion Week will also host a conference about sustainable fashion, and hold a portfolio reviewing session and a mentoring seminar to connect young talent here with international fashion industry professionals.

In collaboration with the US-based publisher WWD, participating designers and their collections will be available in a digital format. WWD, a fashion retail specialty magazine, is looking to officially expand in Korea and this will be its soft launch.

Every fall, the biannual fashion event has chosen an honorary designer who has significantly contributed to the fashion scene here. This year’s pick was designer Sul Yun-hyoung, and an exhibition featuring the 75-year-old’s career and archives will be displayed at the DDP from Oct. 15 to Nov. 7.

“In the past, designers used to show their identities on the runway. But now, there are other ways for designers to express their identities through social media and e-commerce platforms. It is the same situation for overseas fashion houses,” Jeon said.

“But even then, European fashion houses are still trying to promote a younger image through fashion shows. Fashion brands with history still rule fashion weeks, despite the rise of rookies,” she said.

“Rather than thinking there are no shows worth seeing. … Consider that designers are still trying to stage nice shows on the catwalk. Please try to open up to new, young names.”

By Im Eun-byel (silverstar@heraldcorp.com)