How K-pop conquers fashion week

Last June, I watched fashion’s love of K-pop heat up first hand, at Prada’s men’s show. The fashion week scene has become more frenetic year after year since the dawn of social media, and South Korea’s SM Entertainment was determined to get in on the action. SM is one of the biggest companies specializing in incubating and managing K-pop groups, with NCT, EXO, Girls’ Generation, Red Velvet, WayV, etc. under the company’s hit-making umbrella. After sending a handful of artists to Paris Fashion Week before the pandemic, 2022 saw SM roll out an entire press to link its talents to luxury European homes. “The Prada SS23 Men’s show is a fashion show that we started to participate in more enthusiastically,” said Soyeon Kim, SM’s visual director. SM arranged for Jaehyun from their top group, NCTto attend the show, where he was warmly greeted by a crowd of about 400-500 people—mostly young Italians—who waited earnestly behind the metal fence surrounding the brand’s store. brand. Fondazione Prada location in a few hours.

According to Wook Kim, SM’s head of visuals/fashion, the benefits of such a relationship are twofold. “As a K-pop artist, there is a difference between the images shown on their albums and the images shown at fashion shows with brands,” explained Wook via email. “So attending Fashion Week gives you a chance to show off new images, and participating in the event itself will mark the artist’s value and expand it into the fashion market, leading to mutually beneficial relationship between artist and brand.” In other words, artists can create enhanced content and brands get access to the artist’s image—and, increasingly, their massive Gen-Z fan base.

Jenowith his new friends Schafer Hunter And Fake Evan.

Image of Jacopo M. Raule / Getty

In recent months, this arrangement has generated a nuclear hype. At Prada’s men’s show in January, enough screaming Enhypen fans gathered in a small Italian town (more than 6,000 people, per Prada rep) clogged the streets around Fondazione, signs on hand and phones at the ready. When seven boys in denim and leather stepped out of their black sprint van, the collective hyperventilation must have been picked up by seismometers. NCT star Jeno’s trip to Milan for a Ferragamo gig in February literally changed the city’s traffic patterns. “The road was paralyzed because fans gathered in front of the Ferragamo store when Jeno visited, even though it was not the day of the reality show,” Soyeon Kim said. Concrete proof that SM’s plan is working. “The energy and the hype is impressive,” added Kim.

This unprecedented viral fandom explains why brands are eager to recruit K-pop stars for front-row exclusivity, and more and more long-term contracts, as was the case with Dior signing. contracted with Jimin as a global brand ambassador in January. Louis Vuitton followed up by announcing J-Hope as the luggage brand’s newest ambassador, saying in a statement that the Seoul-based artist “carrys”. His unique style and charm comes to this exciting new chapter with The House.” “It boils down to participation,” said Bryan Yambao, AKA. Bryanboytop fixture and editor-in-chief of perfect magazine, after the Miu Miu performance in Paris. “You have a generational shift between kids obsessed with Asian celebrities versus Jake Gyllenhaal for example. They really worship them as idols. So they’ll buy whatever they’re wearing, they’ll buy whatever they’re advertising, they’ll hype them up on the internet. It’s a different world.”

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