Seoul Fashion Week – Part 5: Korean Menswear Designers You Should Know

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Resurrection

 

Like the street style, Korean menswear is where it’s at as far as the runways go at Seoul Fashion Week.  By far the standout was Resurrection by Juyoung Lee.  The female designer is a Parson’s graduate who decided to launch into menswear with her own line started in 2004.  Since then she’s been earning awards and accolades for her funky, avant-garde designs infused with a little rocker chic that are loved not only by local k-pop stars, but international artists such as Marilyn Manson, Black Eyed Peas and Lady Gaga.

 

Resurrection clothing is made for the strong personality with silhouettes focused on tailoring that maximizes the (sex) appeal of a man’s body.  For many years Korean mens looks were tight to the body, but we are starting to see texture and flow with baggier shapes and layers.  This collection is certainly representative of that with strong shoulders, structural sleeves, loose cropper trousers and loads or organza and silk to make it all airy and comfortable.  Yet a dark and rich color palette keeps the looks as brooding as we love them to be… until she surprises everyone with a burst of color and vibrant prints you know those k-pop idols are going to lose their mind over – as am I.

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Line Or Circle

 

This where my Korean and google translate completely fail so I’m going to fill in the blanks. Designer Park Sung Chul’s collection “Real or Fake World” centers around the idea of borrowing dragonfly eyes to be able to uncover truth in reality.  As such, dragonfly prints show up in some of the graphics.  But the looks that are more striking to me are the more abstract shapes and print mixing that give the suitings a much more interesting look.  The show began with a computerized representation of how many lines can be used as the material to create a different shape – in his case a circle.  As such, a lot of the prints are made of up lines and circles.

 

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Beyond Closet

 

Ko Tae Yong is one of these emerging Korean designers who is like in it.  Already well-established at home, Ko started his menswear label Beyond Closet in 2008 and was the youngest designer to ever debut at Seoul Fashion Week.  His designs mix elements of traditional English and American trad with distinctive, witty Korean styling.  He calls it “luxury streetwear” but its better suited for the young man who just doesn’t quite want to grow up than the edgy kids on the street.  Fitting then that many of his collections have a school theme of sorts.

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Ko shot to fame in 2009 for designing the school uniform costumes for Boys Before Flowers, possibly the most popular recent Korean drama.  Whether you love it or hate it, the ascot ties and fur mufflers against bad man perms pretty much made that series.  He’s been present in the hallyu phenomenon ever since as a go-to for drama stylists, k-pop stars and even the organizers of KCon Festival in Los Angeles to head up the fashion panels.

 

His S/S 14 collection actually debuted at New York Fashion Week as part of Concept Korea.    Ko was inspired by everyday men working out in the gym and while most people don’t see that sight everyday, he’s got Korean style down spot on.  He sent models down in signature preppy designs but bringing it to a new level with color blocking, plaids, funky geometrics and shorts.  There’s also some unique short over pants layering that’s showing up everywhere in Korean menswear and street style.

 

Follow Ko on Instagram for a healthy dose of Seoul style.

 

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Munsoo Kwon

 

The sports theme continues with Munsoo Kwon who’s S/S 14 collection takes inspiration from 1920′s and 1930′s soccer and traditional sports uniforms from that time.  He’s got quite a pedigree behind him having spent years with esteemed menswear designers Robert Geller, Helmut Lang, Thom Browne and Andrew Buckler.  His namesake label is only 3 seasons old and keeps the streamlined tailoring and silhouettes perfected abroad but infusing a little youth and fun with details and fabrics that stay true to the Korean aesthetic.  He’s also picked something else up overseas: a fully functional English website.

 

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D.GNAK by KANG D.

 

This season’s show from designer Kang Dong Jun was an extra special one: the last in Seoul.  That only means good things for the label D. GNAK by KANG D. as he’s headed to Paris with an invitation to show at fashion week there.  Kang is not a stranger to Europe having shown in London before, but his designs are too dark and avant garde to really fit in with the Brits.  So Paris is a great option.

 

The collection was inspired by the Hollywood film “Men In Black” and featured models lurking down the runway in his signature dark suits toting fake guns.  The looks more appealing to me however are his casual layered styles that showcase the texture and asymmetry in Korean menswear.  And again, we’ve got some shorts over trousers action.
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Check out the rest of the Seoul Fashion Week S/S 14 Series:

 

Part 1: Let’s Hear It For The Boys (street style)

Part 2: Girls!Girls!Girls (street style)

Part 3: Color Pop (street style)

Part 4: Rubina, CRES E DIM, Moonkyounglae + Doii (womenswear)

 

Photo credit: Inapad and Tomi:Mito (thank GOD for this site!)