Seoul Man: Berlin concept store pioneer Andreas Murkudis is a big Seoul fan. The South Korean capital “is one of the few cities where you really feel and see a passion for fashion on the streets, with the public, and by the designers,” he said.
“Everyone from Asia meets there because Seoul is much more animated and lively than anywhere else. I mean Tokyo is still my favorite city (in Asia),” he noted, “but when it comes to this passion, Seoul is uncompromising. The designers make what they want, even if it’s not commercial. They’re really radical.”
Having visited Seoul Fashion Week several times, he said the idea to present some of the fashion he’d seen there had been growing in his mind. He opted to bring the Seoul Design Foundation’s emerging designer platform, “Seoul’s 10 Soul” to Berlin for Gallery Weekend. Not only opening his store doors to this year’s top 10 Korean lineup during one of the year’s best shopped weekends by the international arts and fashion crowd, Murkudis went so far as to have an intricate and enormous cat’s cradle construction of bamboo built to display the collections, using several kilometers of bamboo in the process, he told WWD.
10Soul reflects the range of stylistic positions to be found in South Korea’s design scene, with a lineup that changes each year. “It goes from very elegant to very sportswear-oriented, theatrical or more conceptual,” Murkudis commented.
To be seen were A. Bell’s minimal sheer knits and overshirts from duo Choi Byoungdao and Park Ujii; gender-bending puffer madness from Blindness, voted number one in this year’s 10Soul lineup, and designed by Shin Kyuyong and Park Jisun; Eun-Hye Jo’s experimental but eminently wearable takes on tailoring for women under the Bourie label; D-Antidote by Park Hwansung, whose Fila cooperations and streetwear looks have won both a K-pop and international following; HCL by Hanchul Lee’s re-pieced and restructured men’s wear; the shape-conscious yet easy looks of men’s designers turned women’s wear makers J Koo by Jinwoo Choi and Yeonjoo Koo; Münn by Han Hyun-Min’s unexpectedly upgraded streetwear in denim jacquard or refined wools; Pushbutton by former K-pop star Park Seung Gun’s lacy and lacquered confections, much loved by South Korean celebs; YCH by Joon Chun Ho’s hot-colored and patterned women’s looks, and Youser’s revamped men’s core pieces, such as back-laced shirts.
What might be primarily seen as an act of fashion goodwill translated into sales, with 60 pieces sold in two days, Murkudis reported Monday. “And that from brands nobody knew.” He said Youser and Bourie performed particularly well, “but pieces were picked up from everybody,” he added.
Does this mean Korea’s young talents have a chance to enter Murkudis’ designer-studded assortment in the future? “We already have so many labels, we’re really too full as it is,” he said, noting an overall process of reevaluation was necessary. However, he said he’d be heading back to Seoul in the fall, so no decision in that direction has been made.
As for Seoul’s 10Soul, the platform has already been showcased at Selfridge’s in London, I.T in Hong Kong, L’Eclaireur in Paris and Excelsior in Milan. According to a Seoul Design spokeswoman, New York could be 10Soul’s next stop.