Fashion Bites: Korean Fashion from the Street to the Runway

Fashion Bites: Korean Fashion from the Street to the Runway

Words by Joseph Ansell
Shots by Frederick McHenry

Fashion is a funny industry, trends come and go, stars rise and fall. The business of fashion appears to be a world where hard sales and indestructible branding take priority above the initial and evolving creative process that takes place throughout a brands lifespan, season to season, year after year and for the big players, decade after decade.

 Making dat Money 

In the fast paced and ever changing world around us, brands are the constant in our turbulent lives. Brand identity is king. But even for established fashion houses there is a continuing need to adapt and inspire new generations—competing with the fierce trends bursting from the street, while keeping intact what makes them distinguishable from the barrage of no frills, black market copycats found through online shopping malls and in the bagged up piles of the worlds Dongdaemun Markets

Over the past few years, big brands have begun to evolve through successful collaborations with artists, photographers, and musicians on some of their signature pieces and collections, and have been rolling the dice by appointing newbie fashion designers to take the helm of their iconic empires. This new approach has injected fresh perspectives into iconic brands, maintaining their relevance in the new landscape of fashion.

 From Sidewalk to Runway 

This year in particular, the ethos of creative freedom has transcended from the gritty urban melting pots of street fashion capitals such as the punk grunge of East London, the ease of New York vintage or the bold eye-popping looks found on the streets of Berlin and Tokyo to reach the heady heights of High Fashions Mt. Olympus…“Fashion Week,” where Ms. Wintour casts her career make-or-break glare. Brands like Givenchy, Saint Laurent and even the pristine Calvin Klein have all been taking street style influences direct to their collections in the form of collaged imagery, manipulated photo prints with bold painted strokes, and graffiti scrawled statements. These whimsical yet hard-edged reinterpretations of legendary houses are a far departure from their more regal and refined wears expected from such fashion royalty, yet have successfully boosted interest in the High Fashion circuit from the teenaged bloggers to seasoned critics.

 Identify yourself 

Initially, when looking at the spectrum of superbrands, it is easy to overlook what is really at the core of any good fashion design. Clothes undeniably reflect aspects of our identity from the “don’t give a #$%! style anarchists” in their sagging sweatpants and oversized Tees to the tightly cinched executive in a Chanel power suit. Every single item of clothing or accessory that we choose to put on originated from a creative thought, and is an experimentation. It is in this process where fashion becomes more than a practicality, but an influx of abstract, structural and illuminating ideas. Expressing one’s identity through these multiple shades makes fashion such an exciting form of expression that everybody can be a part of.

 Korean Fashion is Now 

Seoul Street style has steadily shaped an identity for itself over the past decade. Not that long ago the streets were consumed with crowds wearing identical ‘G-Market Uniforms’ while the wealthy wore high-end international brands like Gucci and LV. Thankfully, the gap between the affordable and the stylish high-end market has significantly decreased. In 2014, the wealth of Korean brands available for all tastes and budgets is immense; fashion design is now a big business in Korea that will continue to gain momentum over the next few seasons of collections. Brands such as, Ordinary People, KYE and RESURRECTION inspire new fans with their fashion fantasies. On the streets, the look of individuals in chic, bold silhouettes, yet muted in color pallet with the occasional juxtaposition of a fantastically vivid color piece or accessory, seems to be the armor of choice for style warriors pummeling the pavements of Seoul this Fall.


[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’][/author_image] [author_info]Frederick “Freddie” McHenry is an Atlanta native currently working as a freelance photographer in Tokyo, Japan. His passions for art, fashion and photography have steered him around the world contributing to online and print magazines in Seoul, Berlin and London. Check out his work at[/author_info] [/author]