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Seoul Fashion Week opens early to attract foreign buyers

Jan. 30, 2024 - 16:59 By Choi Si-young
Poster for 2024 Seoul Fashion Week featuring K-pop group NewJeans (Seoul City)

The bi-annual Seoul Fashion Week will open Thursday with 21 local fashion designer brands and 68 local fashion brands showing their collections at two venues: Dongdaemun Design Plaza and SFactory.

The five-day event, which kicks off a month earlier than last year, is aimed at linking as many foreign buyers as possible to local brands seeking a global presence, according to the Seoul Metropolitan Government. A total of 101 foreign buyers from 23 countries are expected to attend.

“We’re building a platform for those who already have a global foothold or are looking for one. The goal is to expand the show to one that’s international,” a senior city official said. All shows will be livestreamed on the Seoul Fashion Week YouTube channel.

Designer Park So-young will kick off the fashion week with a presentation of her fall-winter collection for JULYCOLUMN at DDP. However, K-pop band NewJeans, the ambassadors for Seoul Fashion Week this season, will first promote the fashion event by making an entrance on Thursday.

Fifteen designers will show their collections at runways at DDP while six designers will present at SFactory in Seongsu-dong, a hip neighborhood for young fashion.

“It’s a crossover of the East and West with an eye on reducing waste,” designer Park said of her collection this season. “A reinterpretation of what we call heritage with respect for something that is timeless,” she added.

Park underscored sustainability, saying she hopes her collection will be a reflection of such value.

Designer Lee Chung-chung, who leads LIE, said of his collection for this season, “Bold colors and a silhouette that appeals.”

Twenty-one designers participating in Seoul Fashion Week include Park Choon-moo, Lee Ji-min, Im Seon-oc, Park Youn-hee, Shin Han-nah, Chang Sun-woo, Kim Se-hyung, Choi Chung-hoon, Rhee June-bok and Gwon Bong-seok.

By moving Seoul Fashion Week forward in the international fashion calendar -- Seoul will be the first city to hold a fashion week this season, ahead of New York -- the organizer hoped to attract more international buyers with more money to spend.

This time, international department stores and select shops such as Harvey Nichols, Lane Crawford, 3NY and Andrea Murkudis will have representatives present at the show, an arrangement the show organizer hopes will lead to big purchases.

“Foreign buyers are essential for us to go global and make all the local brands known. I’m positive having those names could be a boost this year,” another Seoul City official said.