If you haven’t guessed by now, Korea is always ahead of the trends. And it’s not just with beauty. Here, we highlight the six Korean style trends that are huge right now in Seoul.
Two weeks ago, our friends Karen Ma and Lisa Tahk were soaking up all of the fashion at Seoul Fashion Week. Karen and Lisa are the owners of Closer LA, a online retailer launched a few months ago that brings Korean designer pieces straight to the hands of American customers. The idea for the company was brought to fruition after Karen went to Seoul two years ago and fell in love with the Korean fashion trends there. “I was like, Oh my god I want all of this, why can’t we get any of this in Los Angeles?,” says Karen. “So I sent Lisa an email from a coffeeshop and I was like, we should start a showroom and try to bring these brands over here because theres no reason they shouldn’t be here.”
Lisa was obviously on board and so Closer LA was born. Today the online shop curates seven Korean designers as well as products from their own line, Closer. “I think what’s so special about Korean consumers—which is similar to Korean beauty consumers—is that they’re demanding,” says Lisa. “They are very informed. So the products that comes out meets that high bar in terms of production but are also aware of whats going on globally. Korean fashion brands also take a lot of risks, and thats whats really exciting about it. There’s some really strange stuff, but they take it and they tweak it and they put it in proportion and make it wearable.”
Here are the six Korean style trends Lisa and Karen spotted when they went to Seoul Fashion Week:
Say goodbye to your oversized bag and hello to micro wallets. “We don’t see as much of the statement bag in Korea anymore,” says Karen. “These days, people want something that’s practical and easy and fits into your pocket. Also, people don’t really carry cash anymore!”
“We love the forced minimalism of the Ice Cream Wallets by Late Lee Studio,” says Lisa. “You just keep your cards in a little pocket and then you walk out the door.”
Stripes are one of the biggest Korean style trends right now. But not just any stripes—large, thick circus stripes or awning stripes are having a moment. “We kept seeing this older and bolder stripe,” says Lisa. “Honestly, people love stripes and I think that this is just an iteration of a new look for it. It looks vintage but it’s tasteful.” Both Lisa and Karen think that the Korean designer, Pushbutton, is doing magic with this kind of stripes.
Lisa says that she’s seeing almost every designer in Korea creating two-tone denim. “In Korea, you can’t just wear a plain piece of denim,” she says. “They’re working with a lot of color blocking with two different blues; it’s not the distressed denim you see in the U.S.” Case in point:
Lavender and Argyle
You may be surprised, but your grandfather’s favorite pattern, argyle, is trending hard in Seoul. “This trend has legs and we’re going to start seeing it into fall,” says Karen. The other big fabric trend? Lavender:
“When you walk into any store in Seoul, theres always multiple things in lavender; it’s just a hot color for spring,” says Lisa. “I think lavender is the next millennial pink,” says Karen.
Lisa and Karen see the same things happening with the stripes as they do with this Korean style trend: People have always loved blazers, except now they’re more exaggerated.
“Last time we were in Seoul we saw bigger jackets and bigger trenches, but this time, its definitely a more tailored blazers with shoulder pads. There’s clear tailoring to this style,” says Lisa. “Most of the jackets are double breasted but the shape is so exaggerated that you wouldn’t even know. A lot of people will belt them and that will change up the shape, too. Or they will wear them open.”
You probably know and love Korean eyewear brand Gentle Monster, but Lisa and Karen swear that two new sister brands, Stealer and Muzik, are taking over the sunglasses game.
“Their glasses are great. We wear them around town and people are always asking what they are,” says Lisa. “Everyone has aviators, but there’s something about the Stealer pair that’s just bigger and a little bit boxier and a little more interesting,” says Karen. “The details are more subtle. It’s not as in your face as Gentle Monster can be.”