The designers at Seoul Fashion Week create very bold designs and experiment with different silhouettes, asymmetry and patterns.
Although black plays an important role in many of the collections, colours and bright creations can also be seen. On the other hand, there are dark looks like Iryuk's, which are reminiscent of the gothic scene, and styles with a lot of leather. Then there are very sporty, young styles for Gen Z as well as designs that, like Lie Sang Bong, revive the cultural heritage of South Korea with a modern twist, through their use of cuts, patterns and fabrics.
As diverse as the collections and styles are, the range of younger and long-established designers and collectives is equally broad. For example, the 'Seoul Collection' format has been around since the turn of the millennium, where "top Korean designers" show their lines. Together with the 'Generation Next' format, which promotes independent brands under the age of seven, these two concepts make up today's Seoul Fashion Week. FashionUnited has formed an overview of the more than 30 shows for autumn/winter 23 and summarised the highlights and trends.
One of the most popular pieces Seoul brands are experimenting with this season is the blazer. It's not necessarily about the silhouette and details like flared shoulders, but rather about less fabric.
So some cropped styles were on show, but blazers with bare arms were particularly prominent. The label Mmam sent several versions straight down the catwalk, including sleeveless ones and styles with sleeves hanging down behind the arms. Lie showed a very wide waistcoat that was more like a blazer in silhouette and Iryuk exposed only one shoulder in an asymmetrical blazer.
Other brands, meanwhile, went for an extra layer for the shoulders. Beyond Closet showed several loose collars with hoods worn over t-shirts as well as jackets. Acceptance Letter Studio created an olive green, high-necked quilted overthrow and M.Rof sent a lightweight harness with a hood in a cotton fabric down the runway.
Aprons and dungarees
Acceptance Letter Studio also designed less experimental pieces and incorporated workwear into the collection. The brand presented a long, creamy white apron with a black leather insert. Charms also made use of workwear and created a rather simple pair of dungarees.
M.Rof was more experimental again. The label showed a quilted light blue apron that went just above the hips and was held in place with only one diagonal strap.
Probably one of the cutest accessories and details seen during Seoul Fashion Week were teddy bears and other cuddly animals. Whether clutched tightly as a companion or as a detail on garments such as skirts, jumpers and jackets, the plush friends made for a heartwarming look. This trend was seen at Lie, Greedilous and Ajobyajo.
Another very popular detail at Seoul Fashion Week was buttons, which were used for various jackets and blazers at Beyond Closet, Not Enof Words Dearlife and Holy Number 7. The rule here seems to be: the more the merrier.
Some brands also seem to have looked across the Pacific for inspiration from US colleges and high schools. The reason for this could be the rising nationwide popularity of series like the teenage drama Euphoria, whose styling and actors have already sparked a trend or two.
Various types of school uniforms with cropped tops and mini skirts were on display, and, of course, college jackets and looks with large logos reminiscent of sports teams were also not to be missed.
Scattered jerseys were also on show, as seen at Ajobyajo. The label sent a baseball jersey onto the catwalk, a sport that is also very popular in Korea.
Ul:kin and Ordinary People also remained sporty. Both brands have integrated Adidas trademarks into their collections. Ul:kin, for example, showed training pants with the 'Three Stripes' and an upside-down Adidas logo. At Ordinary People, the logos of the Germany-based sportswear company - including the Trefoil of the Adidas Originals lifestyle line - appeared on several pieces, including a beret, a blazer and a balaclava.
It is not clear whether these are official collaborations with the German sports brand. Adidas has not yet responded to an enquiry from FashionUnited. Ordinary People, however, would argue against the fact that in an associated Instagram post in which one of the pieces can be seen, Adidas did not receive any credits.
Overall, Seoul Fashion Week relies on a rather classic catwalk without a special venue, as is the case with many major European fashion houses. However, some brands still do a show - but mostly as a grand finale.
There was everything from dance and singing performances to the drag show by Not Enof Words Dearlife, where artist Bori pulled his wig off his head at the end. #whysocerealz! turned the whole presentation into a performance with dance and drama - including various everyday situations such as scenes at school, in the gym and with a homeless person.
You can watch the whole spectacle in the following video.
But there was also a grand finale at the end of the fashion week, where all the collections were shown again in an extra show. The spectacle was accompanied by a singer.
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