Korean fashion brands have firmly established themselves at the forefront of the global fashion stage, offering a remarkable range that covers everything from edgy street style to luxurious high-end labels featured in Fashion Week and top fashion magazines. This versatility underscores Korean fashion’s dynamic influence and broad appeal.
The global phenomenon of Korean culture, often referred to as the “hallyu” wave, initially gained recognition through K-pop, K-dramas, and Korean cuisine like kimchi. This cultural wave has expanded to include Seoul-based clothing brands, introducing Korean fashion sensibilities to a global audience.
Korean fashion brands have made a significant impact on the international fashion scene, offering a diverse range of styles from edgy streetwear to upscale luxury labels that grace Fashion Week runways and editorial spreads. Notably, New York Fashion Week has even embraced Korean fashion with its Concept Korea runway, where brands like KYE have secured multiple business deals with New York showrooms. Celebrities such as Rihanna, Hailey Beiber, and others are now wearing Korean fashion brands. Even global retailers are hosting Korean fashion online to make it more accessible for their customers.
If you’re seeking unique Korean fashion additions to your wardrobe, explore these favorites and emerging brands to watch.
Korean Fashion Brands to Follow
Inspired by a rich generational legacy, Lesugiatelier delves into the multifaceted realm of desire. With an audacious and unconventional perspective, the brand ventures beyond superficialities, embracing profound values. Lesugiatelier reimagines the concept of worth, encouraging individuals to embark on a novel exploration of their desires. Each new collection is designed around a unique narrative, like the latest one with the slogan, ‘Something Unusual Generates Ingenuity.’
At the heart of the brand’s identity lies the empowerment of individuals and their artistic endeavors. Lesugiatelier’s garments exude a mesmerizing charisma, not only illuminating those who don them but also serving as potent statements in their own right. The brand encapsulates a fresh and bold approach to fashion, championing the multifaceted essence of desire and self-expression.
SEOUU, rooted in Seoul and London, is a women’s fashion design studio. The Korean fashion brand is dedicated to crafting styles for women who exude independence and chic sophistication. They cater to individuals who relish the art of dressing up and share a passion for environmental causes and the art of living. Founded and led by Yujin-Seo, who holds a degree from the London College of Fashion, SEOUU is on a continuous quest to discover the ideal images customers aspire to embody. Yujin-Seo firmly believes that fashion resides at the intersection of commerce and art. Each of their collections bears the distinctive mark of Yujin-Seo’s creative genius, featuring unique graphic designs and patterns that set SEOUU apart in the world of fashion.
#3 Gentle Monster
Founded by CEO Hankook Kim in 2011, Gentle Monster swiftly rose to prominence as the go-to sunglass brand in Korea. Its popularity transcended borders, leading to rapid global expansion. A notable roster of celebrities, including Rihanna, Billie Eilish, Hailey Bieber, Lil Nas X, and Jennie from the K-pop sensation Blackpink, among others, have all been seen sporting Gentle Monster eyewear. The brand is celebrated for its statement eyewear, adeptly incorporating a wide spectrum of trends, from sleek cat-eye designs to translucent colored lenses. Gentle Monster is at the forefront of fashion-forward eyewear, leaving an indelible mark on the industry.
The latest release from Gentle Monster is a Mecha-inspired eyewear in collaboration with Blizzard Entertainment for an Overwatch 2 release. These goggle-like sunglasses are inspired by the MEKA headset of the game’s most iconic character, D.Va.
Andersson Bell, hailing from Seoul, represents a fusion of Korean style with the understated elegance of minimalist Scandinavian aesthetics. This collection is a testament to the meticulous craftsmanship and exquisite choice of high-quality fabrics. What sets it apart are the silhouettes that bear an unconventional twist, managing to strike a delicate balance between timelessness and modernity. Andersson Bell encapsulates the essence of fashion that transcends boundaries and resonates with those seeking a unique blend of tradition and contemporary sophistication.
KYE’s designer demonstrates an exceptional mastery of color and prints, a true testament to her skill in the fashion realm. Her creations exude a casual yet undeniably street-style coolness that has garnered significant attention. Notably, she has cultivated a dedicated celebrity following that includes prominent K-pop stars like G-Dragon and CL, as well as international icons such as Rihanna, Hailey Bieber, and Bella Hadid. This widespread recognition speaks volumes about her talent and the undeniable appeal of her designs.
#6 Minju Kim
Minju Kim, the victorious designer of Netflix’s reality competition series, Next in Fashion, seized the golden opportunity to introduce her eponymous brand to a global audience. This included the prestigious honor of having her creations featured on NET-A-PORTER. Notably, Kim’s design prowess extends to creating world tour costumes for the immensely popular boy band, BTS. She was also selected for V&A’s Fashion in Motion series where she showcased her SS22 and FW22 collections. Her distinctive touch infuses her couture designs with a remarkable sense of playfulness and boundless joy, setting her apart as a rising star in the fashion world.
WE11DONE, born from the creative minds of lifelong friends Dami Kwon and Jessica Jung, originally emerged as the in-house fashion line of Rare Market. Rare Market, located in the vibrant Gangnam neighborhood of Seoul, South Korea, had already established itself as an innovative concept store. Since its inception in 2016, WE11DONE has experienced remarkable growth and has secured a presence in major global retailers, including prestigious names like NET-A-PORTER, Saks, and SSENSE. Its growth is further accelerated by majority stake investment from the China-based investment firm, Sequoia Capital China.
Notably, WE11DONE approaches design with a genderless perspective, transcending traditional boundaries. Their fashion pieces are celebrated for their oversized yet meticulously crafted cuts, avoiding the pitfalls of appearing shapeless. The latest collection draws inspiration from art of the past but with a contemporary and forward-thinking twist.
With a foundation in lingerie design and a fashion degree from the prestigious Studio Berçot in Paris, Goen Jong’s eponymous brand, GOEN.J, encapsulates a refined romanticism that beautifully marries structural elements with delicate aesthetics. Her South Korean heritage infuses her ready-to-wear creations with a captivating blend of poetic minimalism and dynamic movement. This artistic balance is reflected in signature design elements such as intricate ruffles and voluminous sleeves. Notably, Jong’s designs often feature distinctive details like scalloped fringes and delicate ruching, masterfully mimicking the fluidity and shape of water. GOEN.J is a testament to her unique creative vision and her ability to evoke both strength and delicacy in her fashion pieces.
#9 Ader Error
Ader Error, the dynamic South Korean label, has its finger firmly on the pulse of the millennial generation. This Seoul-based design collective burst onto the streetwear scene with a knack for cleverly referencing the digital age. Their creative endeavors include tongue-in-cheek campaigns centered around themes like “selfie” culture and a recurring use of graphics reminiscent of the Macintosh era.
Ader Error’s collections are a fusion of sportswear staples and tailored essentials, marked by oversized and unisex fits that resonate with contemporary fashion sensibilities. Additionally, their fashion offerings feature a retro-inspired color palette, further solidifying their position as trendsetters with a unique and engaging approach to design.
8seconds, often dubbed as Korea’s response to beloved brands like Uniqlo, specializes in providing affordable and straightforward everyday attire for both men and women. Their fashion offerings are characterized by a modern and refreshing aesthetic. Whether you’re in search of charming flower-knit cardigans or stylish graphic T-shirts, this Korean brand simplifies the art of casual weekend dressing, making it more accessible and enjoyable for fashion enthusiasts.
#11 99%IS (Bajowoo)
Bajowoo, the frontman of 99%IS-, known by his real name Park Jong-woo, is a figure defined by his extraordinary and unicorn-like eccentricity. Over the years, Bajowoo has meticulously cultivated his own punk-infused realm of style, challenging the conventions of luxury fashion through his anti-fashion design philosophy.
While contemporary hip-hop has found a place in the mainstream, Bajowoo’s foundational punk influences have garnered a dedicated following, including some of the genre’s biggest stars such as Travis Scott, Offset, and Playboy Carti. His presence in the fashion world is a testament to his rebellious and boundary-pushing approach to design. He has recently released NMD S1 ‘Bajowoo’ in collaboration with Adidas, a reflection of the punk culture native to the brand.
KUHO stands out as one of South Korea’s most renowned fashion labels, earning its place as a noteworthy brand to watch. KUHO specializes in delivering a minimalist and sophisticated approach to clothing, footwear, and accessories, all produced within Korea, utilizing their own fabric mills.
What will particularly captivate you is KUHO’s penchant for experimentation. The brand fearlessly explores the realms of proportion, draping techniques, and layering, thereby offering a novel and refreshing perspective on everyday fashion essentials. KUHO’s commitment to innovation makes it a standout choice for those seeking a unique and contemporary approach to their wardrobe.
#13 Maison Marais
Maison Marais is a notable addition to the list of Korean fashion brands to keep an eye on, primarily for its contemporary women’s wear creations that effortlessly transition from the office to other settings. The brand is recognized for its exquisite tailoring, skillful use of pleated accents, refined color palette, and an infusion of menswear-inspired elements. Maison Marais excels in crafting fashion-forward pieces that retain a sense of ease and wearability. The brand’s designs are a testament to its commitment to both style and practicality, making it a compelling choice for individuals seeking modern, versatile, and chic wardrobe options.
#14 Hyein Seo
Hyein Seo, a beloved figure in Korean streetwear, is renowned for her bold and attention-grabbing designs that have won over notable figures in the world of entertainment, including K-pop sensation G Dragon and international superstar Rihanna. Her creations frequently blend military influences with androgynous tailoring, resulting in a distinctive fusion of styles that defies convention. Hyein Seo’s designs serve as a compelling testament to her fearless approach to fashion, making her a celebrated and influential force in the industry.
#15 Rejina Pyo
Rejina Pyo, a designer hailing from Seoul and based in London, possesses a keen understanding of contemporary women’s fashion desires. Her creations revolve around effortlessly stylish classics that stand the test of time. Drawing inspiration from modern art and architecture, her collections invite wearers into a realm of subtle femininity that transcends fleeting trends. Within Rejina Pyo’s offerings, you’ll discover an array of elements that define her design aesthetic: relaxed and graceful tailoring, delicate textiles, sculptural details, and a color palette that encompasses serene neutrals and gentle pastels, all harmoniously blending to exude an aura of understated elegance.
More Korean fashion stories:
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- Korean Fashion Evolution: A Deep Dive into Korea’s Most Innovative Designers and Brands
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