For the past few years, the fashion in South Korea has greatly matured, due to inspiration from the West. “Factors that have influenced the changes in the country’s fashion are culture, wealth, and (social) media, its developing economy has also had a profound effect on fashion.”
Currently, South Korea maintains a unique fashion style that has become an acknowledged influence in worldwide trends. Korean style has become more expressive and, most of the time, reflects a sense of individuality. When I was in Korea I realized one thing that the country’s fashion has slowly started to affect the world’s fashion. Korean celebrities are starting to have a real influence in fashion such as G- Dragon and TaeYang. Both pop stars have recently made appearances at the Paris Fashion Week, where they mingled with the most prestigious fashion designers such as Kenzo and Karl Lagerfeld, a German fashion designer who is based in Paris. Karl is also a head designer and creative director of the fashion house Chanel and the Italian house Fendi.
The most popular fashion event in South Korea is, without a doubt, Seoul Fashion Week which take place twice a year in the Spring/ Summer and Fall/ Winter seasons. It is sponsored by Seoul Metropolitan Government and organized by Seoul Design Foundation. The fashion shows are held in March and October followed by New York, Paris and London Fashion Week.
Lee Sung Hoon
Seoul Fashion Week was split into three parts: The Seoul Collection, which was represented by 55 fashion designers. One of those designers was SANG BONG LEE, whose brand concept is “based on artistic sentiment, pursuing beautiful and new pattern, cutting and structural silhouette reflecting lifestyle”, CHOI BOKO, whose brand’s idea is “based on artwork motif that started in painterly foundation of fine art and reproduces vintage with steric effect from couture’s perspective. It also presents a balanced silhouette using patchwork of various materials. The brand presents an ethnic fantasy using geometric pattern, which has strong and colorful contrast, changed shape and modernity” and KANG KIOK whose brand is based on classic and trendy design. Apart from Sang Bong Lee, Choi Boko and Kang Kiok , there were fashion designers who displayed their work such as Duyoung Jung (Brand: VanHart di Albazar), Kwak HyunJoo (Brand: Kwakhyunjoo collection) and many more. Generation Next is an upcoming fashion design program for Korean designers. The Generation Next was represented by 21 young fashion designers such as JINWON WOO (Brand: Rocket X Lunch ), DOYOUNG KIM (Brand: Pethidine in Pearl) plus many more. The Seoul Fashion Fair is an exhibition showcasing Korean fashion companies.
Lee Sung Hoon
Seoul Fashion Week has always been aimed at an international audience, from an ordinary fashion goer to celebrities. This year you could have seen Jessica Alba, an American actress, at one of the fashion shows. I was lucky enough to be able to interview Heynam Sin, a South Korean model, who is represented by YGK Plus Agency. Sin was eager to answer a few questions about her career as a model, favourite designers and her preferred daily outfits.
I have been friends with Heynam for a year now and I must admit that she is a really hard working young lady who doesn’t give up easily. For as long as I have known her, she has always been driven by the fashion richness as well as music. It is worth mentioning that Heynam plays bass guitar and sings too. Sin has been working in the fashion industry for years. Apart from participating in Seoul Fashion Week, she has been taking part in commercial photo shoots for various magazines in South Korea and beyond. Sin spent a few months in Hong Kong as well as Milano, where she worked for different photographers and fashion designers.
Pictures courtesy of the photographer
I started the interview by asking Heynam about her favourite magazines, blogs and catalogues that she reads often. Heynam, without any hesitation answered: “I definitely go for Vogue Girl, Dazed and Confused and Streetper”. I have to admit that I love Dazed and Confused myself. Recently, the magazine went trough some crucial changes and now it’s called just Dazed. For those who don’t know, Dazed “is a monthly British style magazine founded in 1991. Its founding editors were Jefferson Hack and fashion photographer Rankin. It covers music, fashion, film, art, and literature”. Of course every model has to be asked about its favourite models and designers. Honestly, I expected Heynam to say that her preferred models are Naomi Campbell or Kate Moss, to my surprise, the answer was “Twiggy, I like Twiggy. She is still rocking and she is definitely great”. I have always thought that models from 1960s or 1970s aren’t popular, but Sin proved me wrong.
Heynam has a vast knowledge about fashion and its designers but nevertheless seems to appreciate Alexander McQueen and Valentino the most. Who doesn’t right?
Pictures courtesy of the photographer
As mentioned before, Seoul fashion is dynamic, Heynam thinks that it’s because “People who love fashion and care about current trends use internet. Due to the development of the internet, people communicate better and fashion becomes more complex yet dynamic. It constantly evolving.”
When describing her style and what fashion means to her she said that “Fashion is a way of showing the freedom of expression, this is how I see fashion. My style? It is probably 1970s punk rock style.” As you probably know, modelling is a very hard work. Sleepless night, dozen catwalks a day and endless photo-shoots. How does she feel about it? What’s rewarding about it and how has modelling changed her life? With a smile on her face she answered “When the money gets deposited into my account I am happy, making money is probably the fun part. Having said that, I also came to appreciate myself and learnt how not to be embarrassed about my height and learnt how to embrace my beauty too”.
She has been working not only as runway model, but also as a model for fashion magazines and various catalogues. I asked her about the main differences between runway and photographic modelling; “Runway modelling is about grabbing audience’s attention and see the response and gratification on their faces. Whilst photographic modelling is more about working with countless stuff and trying to get the perfect shot for a magazine/ catalogue. As a model I do prefer to work the runways as it is more fun.” Don’t you wonder what’s Heynam’s favourite outfit is ? “It’s gotta be classic motorcycle jacket and Ramones T-Shirt.”
Heynam Sin debuted in 2006. She said she lost count how many times she participated in fashion shows. When it comes to Seoul Fashion Week, season F/W 2015, she represented 11 designers. In the previous season, S/S 2015, she took part in 13 catwalks while the year before. F/W 2014, she rocked her socks off in 14 shows. Whose fashion show was the most interesting at this year’s Seoul Fashion Week: “Kaal E. Suktae, the fashion designer incorporated a famous and well known animated character DOOLRI. The outfits were modern with a touch of chic. This style stood out for me.” How does she get along with other models? Heynam said: “When I was starting as a model there was that issue of senior/ junior thing that I had to adhere. However, modelling environment is more relaxed nowadays. These days since I am doing my own projects, there is not a lot of competition from other models. I only gained confidence and precious experience when doing my job.”
We do hope that the next season of Seoul Fashion Week will be even more exciting than this year’s one.
Written by Maggie Gogler