SEOUL–Designer fashion today is about selling luxury products to different groups of consumers. That means fashionable clothes and all the accompanying ancillary products–like handbags, beauty, shoes, perfumes et al–which often end up eclipsing the sale of actual garments. But last week at the end of the four days of women’s shows at Seoul Fashion Week, accessories played little or no role in how these designers sell the clothes they presented on the runway. No one even showed any handbags. Even the biggest designer, Lie Sang Bong, who has been working since 1985, does not have a perfume to market. That’s hard to imagine in today’s fashion industry. With little fanfare or outrageous staging, the designer shows in Seoul felt much more commercially oriented than in other capitals, understandably so because the clothes are the base of their businesses.
For the designers who showed here, the business of fashion is the business of selling clothes. While specific designers cater to their own customers, the shows are organized around how long a business has been in existence–to show a collection, a company has to have been in business at least 5 to 10 years. Designers who are just starting out showed at the Next Generation forum at the Samsung D’Light center, or at a smaller space, Take Off, at the main SETEC convention center.
Click through to see some of the looks from this unique fashion week and learn about some of the Korean designers. (We’ll show you looks along the way, but a more comprehensive photo gallery can be found on the last slide.)