Why South Korean Fashion Is So Awesome

by Becca Drage, Apr 13, 2018

As Seoul’s reputation as South Asia’s leading fashion capital continues to grow, Native introduces you to the burgeoning world of Korean Fashion.

South Korean culture is becoming evermore widely known in the Western hemisphere, the global culture that 21st century interconnectivity has granted the world means that cross-pollination of cultural ideas can happen almost instantaneously.

Although it may have been inevitable, the internet has thrusted South Korean fashion into the limelight much more rapidly than might otherwise have been possible. Daring, vibrant and unafraid of the masses - Korean fashion breaks all the rules, whilst creating some of it's own in the process.

The colours, styles and fits are always mix-matched in a way that comes together nicely, no matter the body shape – they make it work. That’s why I find it so appealing. Smart and casual are common patterns of style, commonly done with blazers and culottes but finished off with chunky trainers. Latex, leather and denim crop up most of the time in an outfit, adding a refreshing taste of something different in the look.

 

Accessories are almost never forgotten about, although they may be ommitted with purpose – quirky sunglasses and hats are paired with oversized trench coats to add a certain je ne sais quoi to an outfit that otherwise may have blended in with the crowd. Berets are also a popular choice this year. So it’s clear that little details never go missed.

Despite similar styling, there is a noticeable contrast between either all black and white or bold colour scheming, Japanese fashion is very big on pastel colours, but it’s all bold in South Korea. Yellow blouses, orange trousers, red parkas – big and bold, yet always tasteful.

What’s even better about this style is that it is adopted by both guys and girls – the genders are not segregated when it comes to fashion, something that coincides well with recent societal hot-topics in the West and our current obsession with gender. The oversized 80s-style suits, for example, is something worn by all genders and most importantly, pulled off with aplomb by all.

Elaborate colours and makeup are also trends appreciated by all genders – androgyny is the word of the moment in Korean fashion. Despite the rule breaking nature of Korean fashion houses, one thing always remains the same - a beautiful face is always paired with a beautiful outfit.

 

The most well-known models for Korean fashion are the K-Pop stars, and for the most part these idols are the vanguard of Korean fashion in the West, but the runways of Seoul Fashion Week allow the world to take a closer glimpse into the nascent world of high fashion in this unlikely Eastern state. 

If nothing else, it's certainly a refreshing new paradigm to come around to the West, thanks in large part to the booming popularity of Korean culture the world over. If you're a closet fashionista and want to learn more about the stylings of South Korean youth, SJYP is a fantastic design house that have retailers based in the UK, they're always at the very forefront of the latest trends.

It’s great to see that fashion is such a precious part of South Korean youth culture, emphasising their appreciation of individuality. The kids take pride in what they wear and how they wear it. In the so-called ‘individualistic’ west, youngsters’ clothing can be lazily used as just a means of blending in with society, the same jeans or the same jumpers or the same Adidas shoes. It’s all about what everybody else is wearing, what's 'cool'.

But so-called ‘collecitivst’ eastern societies’ fashion statements are much more about individuality, despite contrasting East vs. West ideas about culture. So who says societal rules apply to fashion? Not me. And that’s the way it should be.

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