ROKing Korea is a feature column by ROKing Magazine that explores Korean culture and expat life in South Korea. With the growing number of Korean-American expats in Korea, we’ve teamed up with ROKing, a bi-monthly, bi-lingual, Korea-centric magazine, to give you a glimpse of life in South Korea.
The ever fast-changing fashion world is merciless. New lines of clothing are launched every day. The fashion people continuously look for new and fresh looks. Like hawks, they compete and hunt for a new design that will be the next ‘it’ item. But how long does such selected item survive? There are only a few exceptions, most of them disappear quickly behind the scene, surviving three months if long, only a day if short. In this jungle-like fashion world, the life-span of fad is becoming shorter. Korea is no exception. ‘Fast fashion’ has taken over the country, and the trend comes and goes within a blink of an eye. We met four representative designers of Korea who stands strong in the midst of this fast paced fashion world. While others came out with power shoulders and trendy outfit, these four stood still and faithfully kept their own style. These designers are true leaders and not followers of quick trend which makes their brand special. This season, pay close attention to designers Lee Young-hee, Lie Sang-bong, ANDY&DEBB, and Jain Song.
The colorful embroidery has been finished with a special care. The natural colors of the dye are done manually. Only born after going through such specific manual steps, Lee Young-hee’s hanboks are true ‘Korean Haute Couture.’ Made with ramie fabric and coarse silk that is unfamiliar to many, the outcomes of her design have no competition when it comes to grace. Lee Young-hee has been putting her best effort in promoting hanbok overseas. The Korean fashion world is lucky to have such a designer.
Lie Sang Bong
‘Hangul (Native Korean alphabet)’ comes to the mind when I think about Lie Sang Bong. One of the design themes for his Paris collection was hand-written Hangul-printed costumes. Those outfits became a huge sensation, not only in Paris, but in Korea which is the home of Hangul. Many were drawn to the modern and polished design mixed with Hangul. Lie Sang Bong has participated in the Paris collection continuously since 2001. His experimental designs are coming through as the year goes.
Check out ROKing’s short Q&A with designer Lie Sang Bong:
You’ve presented countless collections domestically and internationally. Could you tell us about the most memorable collection amongst all?
LSB: It’s hard to just pick out one. Past collections and recent ones, I remember them all and all are memorable.
You go back and forth from Paris and Seoul each season, and you must feel many things while going back and forth between the two countries. What have you felt about the Korean fashion world, and what are your hopes?
LSB: I hope the government will take the values fashion creates importantly and support the new and old designers with practical means.
What are your ultimate goal as a designer?
LSB: I always try to make people from all over the world keep remembering my name ‘Lie Sang Bong’ as one of the great fashion designers in the world. Thus, it enables not only Korean but also all the other Asians to feel that they are no longer in the suburbs of high fashion. And hopefully Korea will produce a large number of talented young designers who are inspired by me.
Andy & Debb
‘Romantic’ and ‘minimal’ would be the two words that best describes ANDY&DEBB. Each season ANDY&DEBB collection draws attention from overseas buyers and the press. Not so trendy while looking polished and chic, ANDY&DEBB collection is elegant, modern and feminine. Designers Andy Kim (a judge on Project Runway Korea) and Debbie Yoon create a romantic style, representing active yet a graceful modern look with fine quality details and silk materials.
Simple but not boring, plain but not so ordinary designs are what Jain Song’s designs are known for. Dubbed the ‘Stella McCartney of Korea,’ her designs are never superfluous, always clean and modern. Successfully landing in Paris with her ‘salon de woman collection’ in 2009, her line of clothing have 2-3 mono-toned colors harmonized with meticulous designs, creating a true high-end fashion line.
Check out ROKing’s short interview with designer Jain Song:
‘Song Jain,’ ‘jain by jain song,’ and ‘jain song.’ There are three different names for your brand. What would be the correct name?
Jain Song: Just my name as it is. Jain song would is the correct one.
You’re a representative Korean women’s wear designer, being dubbed ‘Stella McCartney of Korea.’ Your design always live up to the expectation of the people. Could you tell us who your muse is?
JS: All who has a free and healthy mind. All of them are my muses.
Could you tell us what your goals are as a designer?
JS: Building a designer brand based on a stable house. That is my ultimate goal.
Written by Sang-aa Park. Cross-published from ROKing Magazine with permission. ———————————————————————————————————————————————–
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