Korean fashion and beauty have landed in SoHo.
A group of 10 emerging Korean designers, known as The Selects, has set up shop in SoHo. The designers — Beyond Closet, SWBD, The Centaur, Wnderkammer, Nohant, Heohwan Simulation, Lie, Bmuette, Kye and Hidden Forest Market — made their initial debut at New York Fashion Week in September. Now, they are selling their collections at a pop-up, located at 62 Greene Street, in conjunction with K-beauty brands.
“Our space is a hub for Korean culture so naturally we wanted to collaborate with K-beauty brands,” said Chris Park, senior manager of sales and marketing for The Selects. “K-beauty is already renowned in the U.S. as some of the best — if not the best — makeup and skin care in the world.”
The Korean beauty market has gained momentum in the U.S. over the past few years. According to NPD, K-beauty brands sold in prestige grew by 41 percent so far in 2018.
K-beauty has become known for its innovative technology and, according to Ashley Hasegawa, director of education for Strong Brand Labs, which collaborated with The Selects on the K-beauty offerings, it is evolving to include cleaner formulas that have less fragrance and more nourishing and repairing properties.
The Selects’ K-beauty section includes brands that have already established a U.S. presence — Jinsoon, Whal Myung, SkinRx Lab, Too Cool for School, Ipkn, Aromatica, Huxley — as well as indies such as Agerin, Knours, Meg, Moart and Vika. The pop-up opened on Oct. 26 and will run until Nov. 14. A second installment is slated for 2019 and will include collaborations with K-pop stars.
Below, three emerging K-beauty trends to look for at the pop-up.
“The original form of K-Beauty is changing from what it was first introduced as — kitschy or cute or relying on packaging,” said Hasegawa. “Right now, there’s a heavier focus on formulations and ingredient quality levels. A lot of these products are catering to the current market trends even in the Western market, so a lot more clean beauty, a lot more innovative delivery systems. It’s like Korean Beauty 2.0.”
DIY Gel Nails
Vika offers DIY nail kits: a pack of gel nail strips that take roughly 10 minutes to apply. Like regular gel manicures, the nail strips are meant to last about two to three weeks, but unlike gel manicures — which typically cost around $45 in a salon — the nail packs retail for $12. Vika’s founder is graphic designer and nail artist Naon, who collaborated with celebrity nail artist SooJung Kim on the nail designs. The brand is sold primarily on Etsy.
Knours, a clean beauty brand addressing skin changes associated with a woman’s hormonal cycle, is one example of how K-beauty brands are integrating their offerings with applications. Called U-Kno, the Knours app allows users to record personal data to help them track and better understand the correlation between their skin conditions and PMS. Upon downloading the app, users are asked to take a skin-care survey and in turn, U-Kno comes up with a customized skin-care regimen based on the user’s cycle.
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