In Seoul, both the Metropolitan and the state government invest heavily to ensure the success of these designers. Seoul City sponsored the bi-annual shows by providing the show space location to all designers and, in collaboration with the Ministry of Culture, sent designers abroad as a group like Concept Korea.
But fashion isn’t tourism and applying principles of vacation and sight seeing promotions to fashion isn’t feasible. There has to be a long-term view: That of helping the designers to establish outposts abroad. To export the designers have to be competitive on quality and creativity. More importantly, it is critical for them to participate in the global dialogue of fashion.
Perhaps the government should view their help to Korean fashion as a small-scale foreign aid program but one without any stringent conditions attached. Promising designers should get help to go abroad–whether it’s Paris or New York. Time should be spent with key buyers and influential press to foster a familiarity with their brand.
“European fashion has a reputation as the finest in the world, so it is very important for young designers in Seoul to go study abroad,” said Lie Sang Bong. “Many Korean young designers want to gain global prominence as they know the importance of the collections in Europe. Good thing Lie Sang Bong is the head of the newly created Union of Korean fashion designers.