Opening Ceremony is dedicating a section of its New York store to 10 new South Korean designers over the next month.
Carol Lim and Humberto Leon, the founders of the brand, have partnered with 10Soul, a group that was established by the Seoul Design Foundation, an organization that helps bring Korean fashion design to global audiences. Lim, who is South Korean, and Leon, who is Peruvian and Chinese, have attended Seoul Fashion Week since 2011, but this is the first time they’ve teamed with the 10Soul on a retail activation.
“Going to Seoul Fashion Week is something that we are always excited to do every season because there is so much that we discover as we go,” Lim said. “We’ve always been a platform for discovery. It’s how we started the company. Collaborations are now a part of everyone’s vocabulary, but we’ve always viewed it as a way to tell stories and talk about cool things.”
Starting today, Opening Ceremony will feature and sell pieces from A.Bell, Blindness, Bourie, D-Antidote, HCL, J Koo, Münn, PushButton, YCH and Youser. For a few of these brands, it’s their first time selling outside of South Korea.
Over the past couple years, South Korean designers have made bigger plays in North America. Concept Korea, an organization that has featured South Korean designers at New York Fashion Week for the past 10 years, recently opened a New York showroom for participating brands and designers, and earlier this Puma collaborated with popular Korean streetwear brand Ader Error.
“Things have opened up more,” Lim said. “Seoul is a capital that is very much about embracing the arts and I think the fact that Seoul Fashion Week is developed and attended globally, there is a lot more support.”
Much like other retailers, Opening Ceremony, which opened in 16 years ago, has been forced to adapt. The company laid off nearly two dozen workers in May and earlier in the year the company, which took investment four years ago from Berkshire Partners, was testing the market for a new investor after receiving some interest. Lim said for 2019 the company will be focused on getting into new categories.
“We’ve always been about embracing change,” Lim said. “How you approach business needs to change over time and we aren’t afraid of that and sometimes there are tough decisions, but that’s how we continue to grow.”