|Models show off the 2018 Fall-Winter collection during HERA Seoul Fashion Week earlier this year. Courtesy of Seoul Design Foundation|
By Kang Aa-young
Korea's top designers are set to show off their 2019 spring and summer collections at the much-anticipated fashion event in Seoul next week.
Starting from Monday, the semi-annual Hera Seoul Fashion Week (SFW) will kick off its six-day run at Dongdaemun Design Plaza (DDP).
In one of Asia's most vibrant shows, 42 designers will present their works.
Of several programs, the "Generation Next" fashion tradeshow, which started two years ago with 121 rising designer brands, is expected to draw much attention from international buyers.
Seoul Fashion Week will also feature 30 runways to be held outside the main event venue around Seoul, including the Hannam and Jongno areas.
Each year, SFW organizers select designers who have made outstanding contributions to moving the nation's fashion industry move forward.
This year, Park Chun-moo and Woo Young-mi have been chosen. The organizers said the two iconic designers have played a crucial role in promoting Korean fashion across the globe.
Woo will open SFW with her show on Monday night where she will unveil new collections of her brand Sold Homme which marks its 30th anniversary this year.
The show, titled "SOLID/BEYOND 30," will highlight the brand's 100 looks from its 2018 fall and winter collections and upcoming 2019 spring and summer collections.
To mark the fashion label's 30-year anniversary, Woo will deliver her thoughts on the brand's future strategy by unveiling some of its new concepts.
Starting Tuesday, Park Chun-moo, who is a trailblazer in avant-garde design in Korea, will host an exhibition featuring a look from her brand collection Demoo. The show is titled "From Moo."
The show will feature collections of Demoo, which is considered one of the brands that upgraded the fashion industry here through its signature "Demoo style." The event will be held till Nov. 5 at the DDP.
SFW will focus on supporting rising local designers, who participate in runways and tradeshows without paying fees for showplaces or other expenses.
Two fashion labels will make their debut at the latest SFW.
SFW will be crowded with international buyers and fashion magazine editors _ 160 foreign buyers will join the event, 20 from Europe and the other 130 from other parts of Asia.
Great designers honored
Park Choon-moo, the designer behind the 30-year-old fashion brand Demoo, was born in Gimje, a small town in Korea where her family ran a children's apparel company.
At that time, Park was fascinated by clothing, falling in love with fashion.
Though she considered it "successful" running a business there, her family moved to Seoul and she attended Hongik University where she majored in industrial design, then went to Kookje Fashion School where she studied fashion design.
Her industrial design roots are evident in her fashion designs and have defined her compelling aesthetic.
Since her label launched in 1988, Park has been a leading figure of Korean avant-garde design. Responding to high demand, she opened her first retail store in 1988 in southern Seoul's posh Apgujeong and expanded quickly into other Asian markets.
Becoming an icon of a modern, edgy yet wearable look with her signature style, she established her own Park Choon-moo style. She favors monotones such as black and white punctuated by counterpoints of color, and layering.
Park has won numerous awards, including the Presidential Award.
Showing her collections in Korea, Japan and France, she was voted one of the most influential designers of 2010.
Woo Young-mi was born in Seoul in 1959. Her father was the head of an architectural firm, which allowed him to travel extensively, bringing home international magazines which the young designer studied, growing curious about other countries. Along with her mother who taught art and piano, they did their utmost to use what they had to provide a creative environment for their five children. Woo took up fashion studies at Sungkyunkwan University in Seoul.
In time for her graduation in 1983, she was selected to represent Korea in Japan's Osaka International Fashion Competition, and won.
Woo launched the menswear brand Solid Homme in 1988, starting with a single shop. This expanded to 21 stores opened with Hyundai Group, as well as others with Lotte, Shinsegae and Galleria today.
In 1993, she began the "New Wave" project as a platform for young designers to show their work. This project, gave a boost to today's Seoul Fashion Week.
Woo founded her eponymous brand Woo Young-mi in Paris in 2002. She wanted to establish a designer brand that gives her freedom to express the vision she holds for the ideal man. With consecutive successes from then on, Woo became one of leading figures representing menswear in Korea.
The Seoul Design Foundation is hosting the Global Fashion Mentoring Seminar on Thursday at the Round Hall on the second-floor Design Lab of the DDP.
One of the most anticipated events for the week, it is intended to provide a space where both fashion experts and the general public can freely enjoy and interact with one another.
Sarah Mower, chief critic of VOGUE.COM U.S., will lead the seminar as the main mentor along with Anders Christian Madsen, a fashion critic of Vogue U.K., and Isabella Burley, the editor-in-chief of Dazed U.K.
Moreover, Italian chamber of buyers President and CEO Mario Dell'Oglio and Heather Gramston, a womenswear buying manager of Selfridges, are newly joining the mentor seminar, further strengthening the global status and professionalism of the program.
At the seminar, which will be held on Oct. 18 from 4:30 p.m. to 5 p.m., major global fashion business professionals from around the world will be present as mentors to exchange diverse ideas with participants on Influencer Marketing and New Perspectives, two rising issues for 2019 in the international fashion community.
Citizens are encouraged to join SFW as various fashion and culture-related festivals are set to take place on the sidelines of the event.
It is expected to provide colorful attractions through collaborations with the global fashion industry, domestic top designer brands, sponsorship and co-marketing with various companies.