Organized by the Korea Creative Content Agency, the government’s creative industry promoters, the seasonal event hosted over 80 different local and international fashion brands and exhibitors. It ran Oct. 18 to 20, at J-Gran House in Namsan, Seoul.
Fashion Kode was established to help promote Korean brands outside of Korea, said Ji Kyeong-hwa, representative and team director. “We are a B2B trade show where local brands are matched with international buyers,” he said.
The event drew buyers from all around the world, including Singapore, Japan, France and Indonesia. Given the current popularity of K-dramas, K-pop and Hallyu (Korean Hollywood) movies in China, the bulk of visitors were mainland Chinese buyers hoping to tap into and bring back an array of the latest Korean fashion trends.
“We find that buyers from China will often want what they have seen on celebrities and K-pop stars,” said Woo Hee-won, from 101 Global, a Seoul-based online showroom.
Woo also noted that Chinese buyers look for two main types of Korean fashion: high street items or “high-quality designers” with a unique point of view.
“You could say that Chinese buyers have become more and more selective about the brands they choose to import,” Woo said. “Trends that were popular among our buyers this season included brightly colored clothing with sewn-on patches decorated with smiley faces, ice cream cones and cupcakes,” said Woo.
He added that among the 20 or so select brands from his showroom exhibiting at the trade fair, the most popular ones included Lovlov, a wearable lingerie and loungewear brand; Reike Nen, contemporary shoe label, and We Made Something Good, a youthful and colorful handbag brand.
Aside from local brands, a handful of international exhibitors took advantage of the relatively low registration fee of $200 to bring their brands to Korea.
Monique Soeriaatmadja, creative director of Soe, a Jakarta-based brand featuring traditional Indonesian hand-woven clothing in minimal modern styles, hoped her collection would something new to Korean consumers.
“Most buyers are surprised to learn that we are an Indonesian brand from Jakarta… The main goal [for us] is to have the design, the aesthetics of it and the silhouette, to be appealing to customers. And then after that, we hope they will be even more interested after they learn about the [traditional way] in which they are made.
Besides the exhibitions, the trade fair also held several fashion shows for local and international designers. The most high-profile how was the unveiling of a collaborative line between Lie by established local designer Lee Chung-chung, and Paris-based designer Lucie Brochard.
Up-and-coming concept brand, Greedilous, also showcased its signature graphic prints on a series of blazers and blouses on the runway. Designed by Park Youn-hee, Greedilous was the only brand to show at both Fashion Kode and Seoul Fashion Week.