As one of the more famous countries for all things beauty and wellness, Korea’s fashion scene has flown relatively under-the-radar, but a quick look at Seoul fashion week and some of the country’s biggest influencers and there’s a lot to discover. South Korea, whose fashionable women are partial to pastels, block colours and tailoring, is a goldmine for those looking for something a little out of the ordinary or under-the-radar. Packed with cool-than-cool brands, South Korean fashion has recently become a hit overseas — for those who know where to look.
With Seoul fashion week kicking off in just 2015, there hasn't been much time for the city to get a reputation for heading up street style, but, as anyone paying attention to international fashion weeks will attest, it's done just that. Known for youth-focused streetwear with a pop of femininity, Seoul's streets are packed with Korean women doing things differently. Perhaps thanks to the K-pop influence, but colour and personality shine with women's clothing taking on quirky characteristics and transforming simple items — T-shirts, shirt dresses, mini skirts — into must-have pieces. Pair that with impeccable skin and you've got yourself a winner. Below, we've rounded up some of our favourite lesser-known Korean fashion brands.
As if being nominated for the LVMH Prize in 2014 and being tapped by the Woolmark Prize in 2017 wasn't enough, the designer behind cool-girl brand Kye, Kathleen Kye, has had her clothes worn by Kim Kardashian and some of Korea's biggest local stars. Casual and street in its design, Kye's simple pieces have found a calling with Korea's achingly hip youth.
Sort of like Korea's version of ASOS, Style Nanda is the online marketplace (with real life stores, if you're lucky enough to live in Korea) for stocking up on trendy Korean pieces. From shearling outerwear to the perfect jean, Style Nanda's affordable, on-season pieces will see you through even the toughest of style ruts.
Boasting celebrity fans like Bella Hadid and Rihanna, Hyein Seo is one of Korea's coolest fledgling designers. After cutting her teeth in Antwerp, Seo now has a focus on youth fashion and her unisex label has grasped its crown as the hippest of all Korean fashion labels — so much so that fans will line up around block to get into their sales. Step one to becoming cool in Korea? Dress in head-to-toe Hyein Seo.
As fun as you'd expect from the name, Lucky Chouette is a go-to for cute prints and unexpectedly quirky items. From star print shoes to baseball caps covered in glitter, this is one must-buy Korean brand when visiting the country.
Dreamy and gothic all at the same time, Minju Kim is the rebel label for good girls, with lace layered on leather and puffy sleeves offset with velvet. Like a mix between Molly Goddard and Cecilie Bahnsen, Minju Kim is as dreamy as it is wearable.
A little bit of fun and a lot chic, Fleamadonna is here for a good time. Whether it's pink denim or a sparkly jacket, fans like Kylie Jenner and Lady Gaga have given this cool girl label their tick of approval — and we'd have to agree.
Known for its chic separates, Goen J is probably one of the most well known of Korean labels. Stocked on scores of worldwide fashion marketplaces like The Outnet and Farfetch, international It girls are drawn to the brand's simple aesthetic and pared back style.