LFW's Seoul Synergy

Ahead of Seoul Fashion Week next month (October 14-19), LFW served us up a little teaser this week with collections from two successful exports. YCH, the British Fashion Council’s exchange programme recipient, and pushBUTTON, the popular 2010-launched brand from Seung Gun Park, back for a third consecutive season.
 
“Being here, surrounded by amazing talented people is a privilege,” said (by translation) YCH’s Yoon Choon Ho after the show. “It feels like a turning point [in my career].” The exchange programme enables the brand to broaden its reach to an international audience.  
 
“Traditionally, Seoul has been more interested in Milan and Paris Fashion Week, but through this [exchange] I get to explore more of London and London designers get to come to Korea, which is great!” Recall that menswear favourite Cottweiler showed in Seoul last season while new Korean name Munn showed here. Blindness have also showed in London.
 
But where London wins out over Milan and Paris is here: when you think about it (or even see Seoul Fashion Week on your Instagram feed), there is an undoubted synergy between the two fashion capitals in their enthusiasm and creativity for fashion. “100 per cent,” said Choon Ho backstage.
 
While London can boast established and well-known big brands, it’s the nurturing of the smaller talents that’s become its calling card over the years. More often than not, those go on to become the above big names. See the rise of JW Anderson, Simone Rocha, and Richard Quinn, all of whom drew big crowds this week.
 
The partnership comes at a pertinent time for Seoul with K-pop having taken off on a global scale this year: the girl group Black Pink performing at Coachella. YCH has dressed them.
 
In this collection, the designer set about bringing some clarity and balance back to the way men and women view one another, which he felt had become lost and misinterpreted among the recent #MeToo movements. “It’s about equality, not anyone being better than anyone. In Korea, women feel like they’re being discriminated against which leads to them hating men. It has created a further division between the genders,” he pointed out.
 
So, this, he explained, was about going back to the source of feminism. There was sharp tailoring for a killer first look (his favourite), wild west trenches, and a few cinched waists.
 
In a similar reality check of a sentiment, pushBUTTON’s Seung Gun Park looked at how, way back when, the future we thought would materialise (his suggestion: along the lines of cyborg policemen and flying skateboards) never quite did. And how in the 21st century things aren’t all that much different from the 20th century.
 
So, in this we saw the brand’s signature one-leg trouser (still think that one is going to take some time to catch on) and inflated-sleeve blazers, built-up peplums on jackets (a great turquoise tweed one) and lots of cycling shorts and toe socks. It was a fun yet strong commercial take on what could have been potentially an apocalyptic subject – of which London has also been relatively devoid this season. Of course, that narrative has been plentifully covered in the real world.
 
But these were both insightful takes to make you think. About equality and, on a flippant note, when will we get those flying skateboards? Perhaps that’s next season from pushBUTTON…  

Photo by Guillaume Roujas

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