Long Nguyen is the co-founder and style director of Flaunt
SEOUL–Seoul is a powerful and wealthy mega-city with a large consumer base–that means there’s a huge appetite for branded luxury goods. The city’s Cheongdam-dong, a 12-lane wide boulevard, is lined with so many luxury shops that it’s earned nickname ‘Street of Luxury Goods.’
The 10 Corso Como on Cheongdam-dong, which opened in 2008 in partnership with Samsung Cheil (the Samsung Fashion Group), is even larger than the Milan flagship. Due to high demand for avant-garde fashion, a second 10 Corso Como opened just last month at the high-end mall Lotte Avenuel, joining Prada, Givenchy, Dior, Yves Saint Laurent, Lanvin and more.
Despite the obvious appetite for luxury designs, there seems to be an absence of good risk-taking design in Seoul. Take the skyline, for example. It lacks any visible and symbolic monuments to creative architecture. Daniel Libeskind’s Tangent Facade Design for The Hyundai Development Company, a steel circle encompassing a grid of red and white lines,or Unsangdong Architects’ Kring Creative Culture Space with its rippled and layered circular windows, are Seoul’s architectural stand outs among a sea of office towers and residential high rises. Imagine finding your way home late at night when all the buildings look exactly alike save for a number on the side of each building?
A similar mindset seems to operate in fashion in Seoul as well. Most of the designers showing at Seoul fashion week seemed bent on the commercial side of fashion rather than exploring the creative.
While their clothes will surely to sell in the domestic market, many of these designers lacked sufficient design breath and original thinking to compete in the global fashion market. The emphasis here is on producing sellable clothes rather than creating interesting and innovative collections.
Of course, there were a few stand outs.