The Seoul Collection menswear line-up looks equally if not more exciting than what’s expected at the womenswear shows. A number of the men’s collections like General Idea and D.Gnak, have just been shown at London and New York Fashion Week, and seen on major celebrities like Lady Gaga and The Black Eyed Peas. Personally, I have a soft spot for smart Korean menswear so I’m looking forward to seeing Beyond Closet and MVIO – labels for Asian dandies if you will. There’s something awfully cool about dress-shirts with minimalist patterns, slim-fit suits and ankle-length slacks. Take a look at these highlights and be sure to check out the front-row report next week!
Behind the brand: A Parson’s graduate, Kang Dong Jun was one of 10 Korean designers handpicked by the Seoul Government to be shown at the prestigious Tranoi trade show in Paris. Pronounced “dignak”, the brand’s name is the designer’s initials, Kang D., spelled backwards.
The look: The label is known for strong architectural tailoring with a contemporary twist. Last season’s collection, themed “Workaholic” and inspired by his own work schedule, saw random shirts paired with jackets and wrinkled ties, and several looks had ties pulled out to the side.
Fame factor: Launched in 2006, D.GNAK already has a strong international following, having shown at London Fashion Week for the past two seasons, and is stocked in the US.
Behind the brand: Designer Choi Bum Suk launched this avant-garde streetwear label in 2004 at the young age of 26. Choi’s fashion background comes from working in Seoul’s fashion market, Dongdaemun.
The look: Dongdaemun is a clear inspiration in Choi’s collection of hoodies, polos and a dark-colored palette.
Fame factor: The seasoned designer is now a global name, having shown at New York Fashion Week and collaborated with Heineken, Absolute Vodka, Mild Seven’s F1 racing car. Most recently, he produced a capsule collection in Asia for long-time partner Puma.
Behind the brand: Creative Director Lee Ju Young, another Parson’s graduate to show at this season’s Seoul Fashion Week, created Resurrection with an emphasis on gender (Lee says, “all the guys are so girlish, they’re so slim and I hate it”) and functionality (driven by the economic downturn, the collection is season-less).
The look: Known for its gender-blurring, gothic and edgy garments, this glam-rock menswear label has been seen on Marilyn Manson, The Black Eyed Peas and Lady Gaga.
Fame factor: Formerly a successful classical cellist, Lee completed a master class under renowned cellists Yo-Yo Ma and Mstislav Rostropovich. She even performed at Carnegie Hall and the White House before switching into the fashion industry, following her mother who is a well-known fashion designer in Korea.
Behind the brand: A former marine, Ko Tae Young launched his label in 2008. At 27, he was the youngest ever designer to show at Seoul Fashion Week when he first debuted four years ago.
The look: Classic suits and checks, all with a twist. Past collections showed boyish plaid and bright colors on moustached models while last season’s collection, dubbed “Your Boyhood” and envisioning a young boy going through his father’s closet, saw baggy slacks and school-boy shorts with oversized jackets.
Fame factor: Ko designed costumes for Lee Min Ho and Kim Beom in popular drama Boys Over Flowers, and the brand is a favorite of Ryu Seung Bum (or Beom) and Bong Tae Kyu.
Behind the brand: Founded in 1995 by Korean conglomerate Cheil Industries, who also manages Givenchy and 7 For All Mankind in Korea, this smart menswear brand is a favorite among young Korean men in their 20s and 30s. Creative director Han Sang Hyuk, focuses on sophistication for the modern gentleman.
The look: Smart and stylish office wear to indulge the modern dandy – sophisticated suits with avant-garde details like oversized flap pockets and all-over zippers.
Fame factor: The current ad campaign features celebrity Kim Hyun Joong from SS501, who was also present at the front-row of last season’s show. TVXQ’s Yunho and Changmin, Super Junior’s Kyu Hyun and actor Kim Bum have also been seen sporting MVIO’s S/S 2011 pieces.
This article is part of the The YesStylist Seoul Fashion Week F/W 2011 Coverage