K-Fashion: A Closer Look at Fashion’s New Sorority — Seoul

Korea and the Business of Fashion.

Riding on the phenomenal wave of  “Hallyu”, or “The Korean Wave”, Asia’s fourth largest economy (South Korea) is climbing the ranks to break into the world’s top fashion league alongside that of London, Paris, New York and Milan. This is the rise of K-Fashion.

In the past decennium, ‘Brand Korea’ has been positioned at the lion’s share of crossroads where Korean pop music (K-pop), television dramas (K-dramas) and Korean fashion (K-fashion) collide to form a nebulous #swag factor.

Seen at Seoul Fashion Week '15
Seen at Seoul Fashion Week ’15 (Photo Source: www.seaartrhinestone.com/news/Our-Favorite-Street-Style-Pics-From-Seoul-Fashion-Week.html)

The “Hallyu” wave (coined to depict the rising popularity of Korean entertainment) has taken the world by storm; K-fashion is now fashion’s new sorority and she seems to have the right recipe for her rapid expansion plans to break into the international fashion league.

Ordinary People fashion show at the Seoul Fashion Week FW ’16 (Photo Source: www.mutzine.me/features/seoul-fashion-week-fw16-day-1-ordinary-people-jarret)

According to The Korea Herald, it has been reported that South Korea’s Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy, or MOTIE, announced its plan to invest about $27 million into South Korea’s fashion industry. That is just the icing on the cake; The Seoul Metropolitan Government (SMG) has invested 484 billion won ($413 million) to transform the capital city (neo-futurist landmark Dongdaemun Design Plaza) into the fashion hub of Asia. Dongdaemun Design Plaza is now home to Seoul Fashion Week.

Donghaemum Design Plaza
Donghaemum Design Plaza (Photo Source: www.travelokorea.com)

The rising star in the international fashion arena has been scouted by L Capital (private equity fund sponsored by the LVMH Group and Groupe Arnault); LVMH’s L Capital capitalised on the opportunity to ride on the Korea’s wave by investing in YG Entertainment Inc (the manager K-pop stars such as Taeyang, G-Dragon, Sandara and CL) and partnered with Cheil Industries to form a new fashion brand: Nonagon.

Lalisa Manoban of Girl Kpop Group, Black Pink, for Nonagon
Lisa “Lalisa” Manoban of Kpop Girl Group Black Pink, for Nonagon

To weave the market more tightly and help Korean design houses and fashion designers enter into the Southeast Asian market, leading South Korean fashion brands, including the likes of Lucky Chouette, Rocket X Lunch, WORKWEAR, Jucy Judy, Lapalette, and Nohant have been launched on Asia Pacific’s leading online fashion destination — ZALORA.

ZALORA Loves K-Fashion

Models at the ZALORA Loves K Fashion Event
Models at the ZALORA Loves K Fashion Event

ZALORA Singapore commemorated a night of “Hallyu” with a curated fashion show of 16 premium Korean labels. The launch ceremony and fashion show was held at The Blue Room at The Arts Houseearlier this month, which was attended by Southeast Asian fashion journalists and influencers.

As an attempt to infuse fashion and technology, models for the fashion showcase were adorned with wearable technology, such as Samsung’s Gear Fit2, and high street fashion.

Models with Samsung's Gear Fit2 3
Models with Samsung’s Gear Fit 2 at the ZALORA Loves K Fashion event

ZALORA Group is Asia Pacific’s leading group of online fashion destinations. Founded in 2012, the company has a presence in Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei, the Philippines, Hong Kong and Taiwan. ZALORA is part of Global Fashion Group – the world’s leader in online fashion for emerging markets. ZALORA Group’s localized sites offer an extensive collection of top international and local brands and products across apparel, shoes, accessories, and beauty categories for men and women. ZALORA Group is the online shopping destination with endless fashion possibilities.

Mediacorp Art Director, Auston Cai snapping selfies with guests.

In a summary of the K-fashion industry, we note that it is the intangible assets (‘Brand Korea’) that are inflating the fundamental values above any tangible number found on a financial spreadsheet. Needless to say, K-fashion’s move into Southeast Asia’s e-commerce market is an intelligent move that is poised to capture a lion’s share of the fashion pie in the international arena. A report by Google and Temasek (Singapore sovereign wealth fund) has projected Southeast Asia’s e-commerce market to expand at an annualised rate of 32 percent over the next decade; it will hit US$88 billion in 2025, which is 16 times its previous size in 2015.

Liyann Seet

Fashion Editor

A Singaporean investor, commercial model, beauty queen and philanthropist. Liyann began her commercial modelling career at 16 and later represented Singapore in international beauty pageants in Asia Pacific and in the United States. She has since won several international beauty pageant titles. Liyann is also responsible for founding the International Children Foundation that advocates equal educational opportunities for underprivileged kids.

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