Fashion

Seoul Fashion Week Spring 2015: the studio k

SFW S/S 2015: the studio k

Now only if someone would explain what “Studio K” means, or where in the world it’s located, at least.. really hoping it’s not in Garosugil or somewhere in Gangnam where the designer Hong, Hye Jin’s office is located because that’d immediately take all the fun and fantasy out of it. Hence I digress…

A border, whether it divides countries, or two different types of elements such as the land and the water, plays a critical role in a world that mainly deals with things of visual nature as that’s what makes layering and interaction possible.

Hong applied this idea to her spring collection by using loads of graphics and layers to recreate the division, layers and interactive interface that occur as a result of border’s existence. Not that it’s a rather serious topic to be dealt with particularly for fashion which is often considered shallow and fleeting, it’s undeniably an interesting thought to play with, especially for those living in a country that suffers from a painful division of the land, and also one that is surrounded by the sea. But why does any of that matter when results are exuberant and just straight out pretty like this (this includes boys’ stuff)? Isn’t that how our lives are? We all in a way live a life that is contradicting; by distracting ourselves with things that are lightweight and superficially exciting, we try to turn away and forget about the not-so-great part of our lives, which in the end (unfortunately and ironically) turns out to be most important. In that sense, why don’t we just  start lusting after model turned actress Lee, Sung Gyung’s plump lips? The real question perhaps should be, “How in the world is that possible for a Korean?”

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Photo by Justin Shin, Fashion photographer Seoul Korea

Seoul Fashion Week Spring 2015: MISS GEE COLLECTION

SFW S/S 2015: MISS GEE COLLECTION

As one of Korea’s most long-running and experienced womenswear fashion designers, Gee Choon Hee never fails to present a show that is both dramatic and romantic. Her Spring ’15 collection wasn’t an exception as she attempted to illustrate “unconsciousness” through the use of calm colors and clean silhouettes with minimal stitch work all the while keeping her signature romantic mood actively breathing throughout the entire collection. While the pink and mint lizard ensembles came and went unexpectedly which was somewhat distracting, perhaps “sexy” is another essential part of human nature that innately resides in the unconscious.

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Photo by Justin Shin, Fashion Photographer Seoul Korea

Seoul Fashion Week Spring 2015: RESURRECTION

SFW S/S 2015: ResurrectionMasculinity can mean different things- or can it?

While the rest of Korea is drowning in 90′s pop culture (myself not-so-secretly included), it’s become apparent that what’s considered sexy for men has changed a lot over the years. Actually, I’m not so sure about the rest of the world but at least for me, there is a very high correlation between masculinity and sexual attractiveness, and for Resurrection’s spring collection through which designer Lee, Ju-young attempted to show both casual and masculine sides of menswear via industrial mood. As expected however, the so-called “masculinity” often felt more imposed than natural.

As many of us like to point out while watching female singers perform in their most provocative clothes, sexy isn’t about showing more skin, but it comes from within, which I’m sure can be achieved in fashion, too, without having to use skin as a major part of the collection. And obviously, with an incorporation of aggressive accessorizing, things can get quite complicated especially for menswear- the route which Lee decided to take anyway. Thankfully, it turned out not as disastrous but I’m fervently praying that no one else besides the model below attempts it at home.

While the mesh could have been skipped (note: this is purely a personal opinion, I’m just tired of them), graphic print and vertical stripes paired with leather pants (or faux, can’t tell) were cool, an ensemble in which even a use of the leather harness became forgivable. A high-end street wear that’s more luxurious and glamorous than it should be, perhaps. But either way, that’s what sets Resurrection apart from the rest of the menswear. Kudos for being adventurous especially for Korean menswear, Ms. Lee!

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Photos by Justin Shin, Korea Fashion Photographer

New York Fashion Week Spring 2015: Yuna Yang

NYFW S/S 2015: YUNA YANG

At first glance, Yang’s designs look particularly feminine, but look twice, and you’ll see that it’s so much more than that: there’s something modern, artistic, strong and even empowering in them that makes it not just another “pretty” womenswear collection but an exceptional one at that. In congruence with the theme, her spring offering has proven to be “dreamy” indeed, which was emphasized with a use of variety of sometimes contrasting materials such as taffeta, silk and denim magically weaved into pieces that are romantic and classic provided by the positive energy of the post-World War II era and the exhilarating cultural phenomena of the 40′s such as the swing dance and women’s liberation movement. While she had us sit on the edge of our seats anticipating for the next look every time a model walked out, there was a constant that could be felt throughout the show: freedom. Yang may have worked around a rather often visited theme, but what really made it a unique, fresh collection is the “freedom” she allowed herself to explore and embrace which was another element of inspiration behind the offering.

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Seoul Fashion Week Spring 2015: Ordinary People

SFW S/S 2015: Ordinary People

This spring, “Ordinary People” go on a trip in polka dots, daisy dukes, coolest capris and sleeveless chambray button-downs. Don’t you just wish the guys you randomly come across on a trip to Europe looked like this? Now that would be the most romantic thing ever. In all seriousness though, even after so many seasons and encounters, I must say “no” to those short-shorts after all, as the mind refuses to accept them as appropriate  men’s attire. Sorry, guys. But don’t fret yet, the good news is that the designer Hyeong Cheol Chang may have come up with the cleanest looking capris, and to make things even better, he also offers what looks best with them such as the oversized sleeveless button-downs and a loosely fitted motorcycle jacket made with knitted fabric that looks Chanel. It looks especially awesome when paired with the crisp white round-neck t-shirt that looks perfectly opaque making it most appropriate for the occasion. This look, indeed, shall be what men should be wearing this spring. Capris never looked so hot- do it, and do it now.

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Perfection.

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This, guys. Yes, this is what I’m talking about.

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Khakis are always a nice idea.

SFW S/S 2015: Ordinary People SFW S/S 2015: Ordinary People

But do refrain from tight pants if you have thick thighs- No hate though, soccer is an attractive sport. Just be aware of your body and what looks best on it, fair enough?

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Photos by Justin Shin, Fashion Photographer Seoul Korea

Seoul Fashion Week Spring 2015: SURREAL BUT NICE

SFW S/S 2015: SURREAL BUT NICE

If there is a ranking solely dedicated to brand names, Surreal but Nice would be on top of the list as the most confusing, illogical yet still kind-of-cool brand. “What do mean ‘but nice?’ Since when was surrealism not nice?” a slew of artists who were nothing but revolutionary including Salvador Dali, Marcel Duchamp and Joan Miro would demand an answer. But sarcasm aside, the duo are known to put up a good show with pieces that are usually more appropriate for editorial shoots than as everyday wear. They are not couture but utility seems not to be at the core of their design philosophy- not that it matters anymore especially with all the attention given to street style. The point seems to be that we should wear what we want, simply because we are free to do so.

Continued from their last collection, fringes appeared again but in a shorter version, and while tuxedo-inspired blazers and vests were eye-catching, it wasn’t until what looked like some mystical maze pattern paired with vertical stripes started appearing that things got really interesting. They can make anything with the maze pattern and it would sell. Tattoos can sometimes add fun to a show, but only when done in moderation. In this case, it looked overdone especially with the cartoonisty print which added nothing but distraction. The oversized blazer and a dress/skirt over pants would have been better if any of the three pieces was fitted or at least a size smaller. The bagginess of everything made the models look like they were wearing things randomly picked from a thrift store, and we are referring to at least one globally recognized top model here (aka Kwak Ji-young). The show seemed to be shifting gears towards the end with video game or just some random doodles that looked like they were borrowed from kids’ clothing. Please correct me if I’m wrong but the red and black lettering looked like a “Youtube” logo.

It’s good to be different and unique, but one should always know where to draw the line. But then again, how will we ever achieve things at an extraordinary level if we never took a risk? These are just samples after all, which means the freedom offers designers an opportunity to experiment and explore. On that note, definitely a great show with lots to see; I hope the buyers noticed their potential and bought lots of the “maze” things because man, it’s the coolest.

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Photo by Justin Shin, fashion photographer Seoul Korea

Seoul Fashion Week Spring 2015: ROLIAT

SFW S/S 2015: ROLIAT

Please tell me I’m not the only one who was confused and a bit uncomfortable to find out that the theme of Roliat’s spring collection was “Boudoir”? Because you know, the first thing that came to mind was an image of a woman sitting on a fancy bed in her prettiest piece of lingerie, thanks to my first exposure to the word being Boudoir Photography, not the French word itself which means a lady’s bedroom… hence the pajama-themed collection which makes everyday attire look boring. If loungewear looked this good, why bother changing every morning? But then again, when this is what you change into, it may be a different story… While the show effectively conveyed the message of comfort and fantasy of a bedroom as intended, when it comes to practicality, the idea is there albeit conflicting. Perhaps a piece from each look paired with something more outdoorsy is a nice option if you don’t intend on mimicking Beyonce  (#iwokeuplikethis).

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Seoul Fashion Week Spring 2015: PUSH BUTTON

SFW S/S 2015: PUSH BUTTON

So apparently I’m either prophetic or secretly possess some kind of superpower that allows me to see people’s past without having studied it. A close source tells me that the designer of the uberpopular brand, Push Button, used to be a stylist. And not only that, he was a model too. Although I only got the first half right, I must say I was pretty shocked to find out. And on that note, I cautiously assume he never quite received full training in fashion design (not that it matters when your stuff is good) as I’m unable to locate such info anywhere on the cyberspace. But really, who cares. If anything, aren’t we all tired of seeing institutionalized people making same stuff over and over? For one, I’ve recently become a huge fan of the self-trained French designer, Jacquemus, well, because he’s the most creative, artistic individual I’ve come across recently (albeit only in cyberspace, unfortunately- I’m sure he’s a nice guy in person too). But if I had to be completely honest, the reason why I began considering Park more of a stylist than a fashion designer is I always felt like his collection was missing that certain “something” even after being almost always particularly entertaining and memorable. It turns out the looks are “made” to look good with exceptional accessorizing and styling. The question was, ‘If he were to show each look with no accessories at all, or minimal styling work involved, would it still be interesting?’ The answer, at least this time around, was no, because as you can see, what really completes the look is not the dress nor the layered bra, but the matching headband, jeweled cat eye sunglasses and big, big hoop earrings. But what is there to complain when the collection looks awesome and maybe even covetable?

With the iconic painter Frieda Kahlo as an inspiration, Park pushes the button yet again through his own world of wit and glamour where vintage and future meet- which sometimes turns out to be a bit awkward yet strangely in a good way. That must be a talent.

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Photo by Justin Shin, Fashion Photographer Seoul Korea

Seoul Fashion Week Spring 2015: CRES. E. DIM.

SFW S/S 2015: CRES. E DIM.

One great thing about having experienced a not-so-memorable past collection is that there is something to look forward to in the next season. And this season, Cres. E. Dim., comes on strong with a collection filled with engaging pieces that not only prove that he’s a qualified designer but that he can embrace and reinterprete “norm core” in his own, unique way using elements found in Korean school uniforms from the 70′s. There were jerseys, mesh sweaters, trench-inspired sport coats, culottes and even bucket hats to add to the list. While it is uncertain whether he meant the band or the artist when he mentioned Yves Klein Blue as part of inspiration, this sporty yet relaxed approach to casual wear sure seems to be working for the brand.

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Photo by Justin Shin, Fashion Photographer Seoul Korea