Festivities in South Korea’s fashion capital drew to a close on April 27 after organisers put on their second fully digital season.
For the schedule’s finale, viewers tuned in to a pre-recorded session by Berlin-based Korean DJ and Louis Vuitton favourite Peggy Gou at the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (MMCA). But this season saw all designers stray beyond Seoul Fashion Week’s usual headquarters at Dongdaemun Design Plaza to cultural institutions across the city.
Top production teams were invited by the organisation to collaborate with designers and provide a more seamless transition to virtual shows. The MMCA housed shows by PartsParts and Beyond Closet, which sent models walking down the runway in graduate caps and a jacket patched with college flags; the National Museum of Korea hosted the likes of Hanacha Studio and menswear brand Sling Stone; and BydBy showcased its tailored approach to streetwear at the Oil Tank Culture Park. The organisation estimates that digital shows and presentations attracted a total of 2.5 million views.
A total of 43 brands put on shows last week, including 26 established labels and 17 up-and-coming designers. But some brands opted out of showing this season and focused instead on working directly with buyers through Seoul Fashion Week’s B2B platform, Tradeshow, which runs until March 30.
Though South Korea’s economy hasn’t been as hard hit by the pandemic as other global markets, continued caution around physical gatherings and a lack of tourists is still putting pressure on smaller brands. “Even after we supported designers’ digital runway production, their business downturn is an undeniable reality,” director Jeon Mi-kyung wrote in an email. “Some brands, such as Pushbutton, are doing pretty well in the Chinese market, but most designers face difficulties, and some still need time to be familiar with this new platform.”