The start of fashion week is always full of buzz, but the Seoul FW23 season seems to have ushered in a new kind of energy that feels more like a gentle hum. This season embodies diversity in ways that go beyond just “youthful”; the South Korean fashion scene has evolved to have its own pioneers and fresh faces that makes this season’s programme feel more centered and grounded in its own rhythm, aware of the community’s collective growth and a fashion future that will soon be completely free of the talons of the pandemic.
From Charm’s, LIE, to Beyond Closet, the first day presented collections of pioneering labels that paved the way for what South Korea’s fashion industry is today. The Charm’s show in particular marked the first time the brand has participated in Seoul Fashion Week since 2019 — read on for all the best-dressed from the first day of Seoul FW23, lensed by street style photographer Leong Su Shan.
The second day of Seoul Fashion Week welcomed the first batch of the Generation Next designers of this FW23 season — a selection of up-and-coming talents who have either developed an irresistible creative presence from the grounds of Seoul, or have come back from prestigious institutions like Central Saint Martins, London College of Fashion, or the Royal Academy of Fine Arts Antwerp, to inject the scene with new visions of design.
Set alongside established names like Tibaeg, Caruso and Seokwoon Yoon, the picture Day 2 painted of Seoul’s fashion landscape was spirited and expressive, full of fresh perspectives that amplified more than deviated from the nation’s still insatiable hunger for translation and reinvention. From the embrace of gender-less shapes and silhouettes at Acceptance Letter Studio, to the tongue-in-cheek play on denim at Blr Bluer, the emergent brands this season were so far true to the vernal energy from the ground — read on to see what that looks like from the best dressed of the second day of Seoul Fashion Week FW23, as lensed by street style photographer Leong Su Shan.
Seoul Fashion Week is not one to lack in surprises, even when surprises are to be expected. From exploring environmentally-conscious materials and designs at M.RoF to architectural silhouettes and structural patterns at Iryuk, or even undertaking a complete re-imagination of past designs at Ajobyajo and an embracing of self-love with the colourful retro athleisure repertoire at Greedilous, there is a page out of every book leafed and fleshed out along the curious canvases of Dongdaemun Plaza. Lie Sang Bong integrated artist Gustav Klimt’s work in his erotically coloured collection, in a partnership with the Belvedere Museum in Austria, while Ordinary People’s travel-themed collection was sporty, classy and even couture, all at once — familiarity was never a lone sentiment found in any of these shows, even in those that spoke with an established language.
A strong sense of innovation still tied all the shows together, but the third and last day of this Seoul FW23 season was a rather intense show of strength in this Asian fashion capital’s equal technical and creative prowess; the contrast of established and young designers continued to make a strong statement about the state of dreams in the South Korean fashion landscape — they would always somehow turn into reality with exacting precision.
The streets outside reflected the same ambition, the garments lit vividly by the warming end-winter sun. Denim seemed to be the most popular material donned, while headphones-as-accessories and collegiate jackets tie in close at second place for number of recurring appearances. There were as many recognisable fashion cult items on display as there were pieces that came from unknown sources — either a unique item made by the outfit-owner’s own hands, or from a brand that is still thriving below the media’s radar — which continues to show the ironically fluid nature of hierarchy in Seoul’s fashion community. But the true highlight for this whole season, as with every fashion week in Seoul, is the nation’s expert grasp of masterful layering — scroll through this collation of street style photographer Leong Su Shan’s best dressers from the second half of Seoul Fashion Week to learn a thing or two about balance in dressing, an untethered execution of sartorial character, and fashioning hope.
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