What happens in the East doesn't necessarily stay in the East. Thankfully so! Kimonos, Mandarin collars and sarongs have long been permeating through the American infrastructure. Now it's time to explore the culture that offers great delights like kimchee, bulgogi and daikon on one end and clever pattern-making with a great Eastern structural aesthetic on the other end. I'm talking the Korean experience.
I think many people tend to ignore the impact that Korean culture brings to the States. Prescribed ideas on masculinity and femininity in Western culture are being upended as of lately with more men becoming vain and fashionably conscious and more women finding their own strength outside of widely accepted ideas of feminine subservience and fragility. Layman's forecast? Men and women are going to continue to conquer their interpretations of good dressing and then break outside of the normal lines to explore more shapes and proportions as they relate to pattern, fabric and silhouette. A good time for Korean fashion to thrive.
The pleasure was all mine recently as the Metropolitan Pavilion hosted the 2012 Korean Textile & Fashion Trade Show. On hand were some of Korea's best textile companies offering everything from the simplest natural fibers to the most beautifully and technologically manipulated synthetics, blends and skins in the form of fabrics, finished product and accessories. Several up and coming Korean designers collaborated with textile companies for the tradeshow and created special garments made from that specific company's offerings for the season. On hand were two designers that I had the pleasure of meeting a couple months back at a Korean Fashion showcase at the Dream Hotel Downtown as highlighted in my past post 'When The East Is In The House'.
First, designer Ra puts his own unique take of the modern woman with a nod to downtown edge and uptown sophistication with his label Rabyra. Here he collaborated with Youngki Synthetic Textiles to create an ethereal second skin blouse and HN Two Inc on a textural outerwear piece that is part sculptural trench and part easy robe. Meanwhile, O Saeng Park of SLyMen Ave offered up a spicy remixed mens textured blazer and electromagnetic printed button down with fabrics from PD Textile that is a modern perspective of mens tailoring within the adhering to the familiarity of menswear shapes coupled with the designer's own subtle technical nudges he infuses into his designs.
Also showcased at the show were designers from D2, Designers of 2nd Generation, a non-profit organization that was created to link Korean-Americans for industry growth and networking. This was a perfect platform to highlight the works of up and coming designers which D2 also does through events like this as well as through exhibitions, fashion shows, contests and scholarships. See their works featured below:
L to R:Ji Hyang Yang grey skirt ensemble and orange shift dress, Jie-Euen Choi structured neck blouse
L to R: Jie-Euen Choi structured blouse detail and caged skirt, Yoonhee Joe cut out blouse
L to R:Yoonhee Joe swing coat, Soyoon Park architectural dress and lace blouse
L to R: Rena Sung Bae ensemble with netting, netting detail
The Korean connection is here. What's showcased is the worldwide talent from eastern nationalities and from Americans as well whose Korean lineage shows through their design execution and process. It's a perspective that is both attuned, insightful and a force to be reckoned with. I always knew there was something to watch from the side of the world that invited remixed BBQ and bimbimbap to my palette.
Some more designer/textile collaborations on display: