During fashion month, the world gets enamored by giant, conglomerate-backed luxury houses and refuses to look elsewhere. On European runways, some of our editors’ favorite brands churn out look after look to a die-hard global audience that’s been following them for years. Fashion has always been a showcase of the glitz and glamour, but in an industry that feels overproduced and oversaturated, this editor has started to step away and think about the age-old question that fashion is all about: What happens to the little guy?
Every year, hundreds of talented designers present on a local level, showcasing their collections to a room of homegrown talent that has inspired their raison d’être. Most of the time, these smaller-scale brands are some of the best-kept secrets in the fashion industry when it comes to raw and authentic talent. Such is the case of Seoul Fashion Week, which happens thousands of miles away from the chaos and circus of the “big four” fashion calendar. Over the span of five days, 30 South Korean designers get the chance to showcase their collections to the world thanks to the Seoul Metropolitan Government’s well-oiled operation to encourage both international and local buyers, influencers, and press to turn their gaze toward the East Asian fashion capital that’s slowly but surely gaining traction. After experiencing it myself, I can confidently say Seoul is the training ground for some of the industry’s most talented identity-driven designers.
Whether you’re a streetwear buff or a fan of simple and modern tailoring, the designers at Seoul Fashion Week have something for everyone. Below, browse six South Korean designers that need to be on your radar immediately before the world catches on.