Seoul Fashion Week, South Korea’s biggest fashion event organized by the Seoul Metropolitan Government and held every March and October, kicked off its five-day run at Dongdaemun Design Plaza on Wednesday, showcasing the fall-winter 2023 collections of 23 designers, seven rookie designers and one corporate brand.
Following last year’s format, the 22nd Seoul Fashion Week will include 100 percent in-person shows with real-time streaming available on its YouTube channel. Celebrities showing up in front of the photo walls before each show and fashionistas walking past a swarm of photographers and visitors reinvigorated the stagnant fashion industry that had suffered a setback in recent years due to the prolonged pandemic.
A notable change at this year's Seoul Fashion Week is the new stage formation.
The typically T-shaped catwalk was replaced by a circular stage to provide a better viewing experience for the attendees. At another venue, a large-sized LED screen amped up the atmosphere of the show with high-resolution videos playing in the back ground.
Celebrities such as Seoul Fashion Week Ambassador NewJeans and online content creators draped in their finery posed in front of the photo wall before the fashion week kicked off with a show by Ul:kin.
Ul:kin, a Seoul-based unisex casual brand using upcycling materials by designer Lee Seong-dong, unveiled the 2023 FW collection inspired by "magnet fishing," showing outfits and items using nets and cargo pocket details to express the message of the need for environmental protection.
LIE by Lee Chung-chung, son of veteran fashion designer Lie Sang-bong, expressed the concept of PLUR -- Peace, Love, Unity, Respect -- using a new combination of various elements with delicate details and patterns, all based on LIE's signature mix and match.
Singer Bada opened the show with her daughter Rua on the runway, sporting a gray boxy suit jacket and short pants.
The five-day event is open to fashion industry personnel and media as well as the public. In addition to the runway shows, live studio talk show led by fashion influencers, AI photo booths and brand pop-up exhibitions have been set up at DDP.
Combining technology with fashion, brands like Musinsa, Mercedes-Benz and Metrocity are holding pop-up exhibitions throughout this week, inviting people to take a photo in front of a 360-degree photo show room and try on various fashion items in the metaverse.
Despite the slight chill in the air, visitors were seen enjoying the fashion event in front of a photo wall as well as gathering around the booths outside the show venue.
“It’s delightful to see the designers’ collections as well as a lot of fashion stars being taken photos of by photographers. It will be an unforgettable experience for me,” said Jeena Shin, a 23-year-old fashion major from Incheon.
Over the five-day event period, Seoul Fashion Week is holding the largest-ever trade show also at the DDP, with 67 local fashion and jewelry designers participating. This year's fashion week has attracted some 130 buyers from 23 countries such as the UK’s Browns Fashion and France’s Printemps.
Pieces from the 2023 fall-winter collections of eight designer brands, including Ul:kin, Ordinary People and LIE can be purchased on CJ ENM’s e-commerce website CJ OnStyle at a 10 percent discount.
“Seoul Fashion Week has become the industry-leading show and works as a platform between local and overseas fashion brands so the designers and buyers can both contribute to content exchange and development,” said Kim Tae-gyun, chief of the economic policy office of the Seoul Metropolitan Government, which organizes the bi-annual fashion event.
“We will try to make this event the epicenter of nurturing K-fashion’s competitiveness and let designers and brands spread their works and brand,” he added.