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K-Fashion Future: 9 Korean fashion labels to have on your radar

K-Fashion Future: 9 Korean fashion labels to have on your radar

Ones to watch

Text: Kelly Lim

Image: Miss Sohee; Hyein Seo; Andersson Bell; Minjukim

Shopping for the new year? Add these Korean fashion brands to your list ASAP

From K-beauty and K-Pop to Netflix's Squid Game, South Korea continues to have a massive influence on global pop culture. As such, it's no surprise that the country's league of designers are also among the fashion industry's ones to watch for what's to come. From new-gen couturier Miss Sohee to minimalist must-know Andersson Bell, what sets Korean fashion apart is its propensity for experimentation and the unconventional, atop an appreciation for all things timeless and classic. 

Read on for our round up of best Korean brands––both emerging and established––you need to follow, stat: 

Miss Sohee

Loved by Bella Hadid, Cardi B and Gemma Chan, London-based brand Miss Sohee creates delicately beautiful demi-couture pieces from deadstock and recycled fabrics. Often adorned with sequins, pearls and embellishments, her ethereal gowns carry a sense of old Hollywood glamour underscored by her signature ultra-feminine flair. Her velvet Swarovski-encrusted custom ensemble worn by Gemma Chan during the Eternals premiere in Rome was one of the most talked about red carpet moments of 2021.

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Hyein Seo 

Consider yourself a bit late to the party if this is the first time you're hearing of eponymous label Hyein Seo. The designer was a star of her class at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp and was generating buzz within the fashion world before she had even graduated. Dystopian with an edge of adolescent rebellion, the experimental label champions the counter-cultural expression of the young generation to present technical silhouettes, elaborate string-ties and convertible hoodies with a playful yet widespread appeal. Her latest collection features intricate yet distinct drawings of multidisciplinary artist Somnath Bhatt

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Andersson Bell 

Scandinavian design principles meet trend-forward Korean sensibilities through Andersson Bell to offer clean lines and timeless silhouettes created for the contemporary moment. From pressed pleats to knitwear in subtle pops of colour, the Seoul-based label embrace fluidity and individuality via a neutral selection of garments that are meant to be passed down for generations to come. 

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We11done

What happens when former Girls Generation member Jessica Jung and G-Dragon's sister Dami Kwon come together in the name of fashion? You get highly-successful brand We11done––in-house line to the pair's renowned concept store Rare Market––that boasts an enviable global fanbase including the likes of Billie Eilish, Angelababy and Kylie Jenner. A mix of streetwear and tailoring, the brand's offbeat designs offer modern interpretations of bygone silhouettes that reference the early aughts and have appeared at Paris Fashion Week since 2020, as well as on top global retailers such as Net-a-Porter and Saks. 

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Minjukim

Since being crowned the winner of Netflix's Next in Fashion series in the beginning of 2020, Minju Kim has established herself as one of fashion's global rising stars. The namesake label combines youthful playfulness with the craft of couture via delightful frou-frou smocked dresses, poplin-sleeved tops and charming cardigans adorned with abstracted graphics. Next up for the South Korean designer? A highly-anticipated fairy-tale collaboration with affordable Scandi brand & Other Stories slated to drop this Spring. 

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TheOpen Product

It-girl favourite TheOpen Product has appeared on everyone from Kendall Jenner to Peggy Gou. The buzzy South Korean brand challenges outdated womenwear tropes via a distinctive approach to design that highlights individual expression through unique, modest creations. Wardrobe staples are updated with bold cut-outs and vibrant colours in tonal shades, while handbags are presented in irregular proportions to unveil a vision of time-proven silhouettes that disrupt the status quo. 

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Osoi

Osoi is the place to go if you're on the lookout for timeless, thoughtfully-created accessories. Lifting its name from the Japanese word for "unhurried", the 2016-established brand reinterprets staples with a fresh, minimalist approach, offering a versatile mix of sculptural leather bags, multifunctional hardware and puffy platform slides that combine designer Heejin Kang's architecture background with technical craftsmanship. 

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Kimhekim

Paris-based label Kimhekim befittingly takes its name from an ancient royal family in Korea in their creation of couture that draws on traditional Korean costuming. Having honed his skills at Balenciaga, founder Kiminte Kimhekim is known for his play on volume and scale––balancing feminine detailing with avant-garde silhouettes in elevated simplicity. Think Hanbok-style shapes, exaggerated bows, Renaissance art motifs on statement blazers, dress shirts and trench coats that offer a refined take on wardrobe classics

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Goom Heo 

London-based, South Korean designer Goom Heo creates menswear that challenges the conventional through collections that are genderless, individual and daring. The Central Saint Martin’s and Fashion East alumni was the first to be awarded the venerable L’Oreal Professional Award twice—first for her BA collection in 2017, and again for her MA collection two years after—with good reason. Her intelligent cutting and confident graphic language is accentuated by meticulous construction that’s since expanded into womenswear for her AW21 collection––think layered t-shirts, pastiche of sportswear tropes and tons of bold colour. 

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