43 brands showed at Seoul Fashion Week A/W 21, including 26 established labels and 17 up-and-coming designers under the ‘Generation Next’ banner: brands with five or less years experience, making their debut on a global stage. Although this season went ahead as a digital-only event owing to pandemic measures, designers from both categories did not disappoint. Some brands channeled the post-lockdown party mood, while others utilised the meditative stillness of the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art; many opted for panoramic, sweeping views of Seoul's cityscape with the help of drones.
Below, we picked out four of our favourite shows from the jam-packed schedule.
After completing an MA at the London College of Fashion, Hana Cha won the V&A Collection of the Year award in 2012. Cha's A/W 21 collection was big on face coverings - but not the COVID-19 kind - models wore sheer, bejewelled, black and white checkerboard swathes of material over their faces. Beethoven's sombre Moonlight Sonata No. 14 played as the ensemble cast weaved among museum display cases, dark installations and a light-filled entrance hall. Cha's fever dream of a lookbook featured a knockout neon pink leather jacket, while other jackets and coats had rivulets of delicate beaded tassels hanging off the hems.
Launched in 2008, Beyond Closet is a Korean menswear brand based on the concept of preppy American style (similar brands include Rowing Blazers and Gant). For the brand's A/W 21 video, Ko Tae Yong sent his models through the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art. As cowhide boots clicked on the hardwood floor of the gallery, waifish models flounced in slow motion wearing cowboy hats, oversized blazers, aviator hats and even boxing head gear. It's no wonder Beyond Closet is a celebrity favourite, and among women too - the brand counts Korean actress Sung Kyung Lee as a fan.
Designed by Hyun Park, MMAM is a family-centric brand, conceived for the mothers and fathers of the world. The brand's A/W 21 offering pits the clothes as 'wearable art,' but the set stole the show. Looming, abstract shapes hung above the models on a blue-tinged set, while loose white threads adorned many of the garments, implying the sacred moment of a child's first ever doodle. The closing images captured a pair of models, side by side, enveloped in a smoky blue portal of light.
Seokwoon Yoon's A/W 21 collection video starts out in a location currently off limits for many around the world: the cinema. An electric blue duffel coat, a paint-splattered gimp suit, and a ruched, green slinky silk dress are gradually spotlit as models are illuminated one by one, reclining in cushy cinema chairs. SEOKWOON YOON is the eponymous New York-based brand founded in 2017 by Yoon after he graduated from Pratt Institute. Having previously worked for New York-based brand Public School and American high street giant Gap, for Yoon, the only way is up.
Peggy Gou Finale
For the SFW finale, Korean DJ and fashion icon Peggy Gou worked her magic in a 15-minute set at the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (MMCA), interspersed with montage clips of Seoul's standout fashion shows.