updated 21 Oct 2013, 14:55
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Fri, Oct 18, 2013
Korea Herald/ANN
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International buyers eye Korean style
by Bae Ji-sook

South Korea - Attending the Fashion Kode 2013 event at Coex in Seoul on Thursday, Jessica Cheung, an operations manager at bauhaus, a select shop franchise based in Hong Kong, noted the trends in Korean fashion.

"People in Hong Kong tend to dress conservatively. But here, I can feel that things are more diverse. The clothes are colorful and loose-fitting," she said.

Cheung, whose stores are located in Hong Kong, Taiwan and Germany, among other countries, said she came to the event for two purposes ― to observe Korean fashion and make a deal, and to seek market opportunity in Korea.

"I find Korean fashion brands marketable in Hong Kong. People are very much aware of Korean fashion through K-pop. There are a number of people who enjoy experimental designs among conservatively dressed people," she said. She was encouraged to visit the Seoul Fashion Week, the largest fashion showcase in Seoul that is to be held from Oct. 18-23. "I am excited about the show. It will give a clearer idea about the future trend and messages," Cheung said.

More than 300 buyers from around the world are visiting the fashion trade show featuring 148 domestic brands and 20 foreign brands that is held through Saturday.

On Thursday while designers and their representatives were busy pitching their items, ranging from a cocoon-shaped baseball jumper to walker boots, environmentally friendly T-shirts, and handbags, to skateboards and raincoats, the buyers examined each piece, touching them, pinching them and asking for prices.

To facilitate business-to-business deals, the organizer, the Korea Creative Contents Agency, arranged seminars where designers could receive advice from a Chinese fashion magazine editor, and business presentation sessions.

While a fashion show by renowned fashion designer Song Zio opened the day's events, a networking party for designers, buyers and the press closed the day. On Saturday rookie fashion designer Shin Yong-kyun of Alogon and several others will be showing off their pieces at the Stage NEXT session that will serve as the finale on Saturday.

"Considering that this is the first event, I am impressed that the booth is quite large, clean and convenient to use," said a sales person from Desigual, a Spanish brand. Desigual, whose goods are now sold at small multi-brand stores here, said it is looking into opening its retail shop in Korea.

"We came to look for a buyer. It will take time but I am positive," the sales person said.

The event went beyond apparels or accessories. Local illustrator Kwang wrapped a BMW Mini with his sports-inspired illustration.

"I think this is a great opportunity for different fields of culture to meet and understand each other," Kwang said. "When I was first offered the job I wasn't sure what I could do. But the whole process has been very much motivational for my other jobs, too."

Coffee roasted by young but seasoned baristas at the Monster Coffee: Post Barista United 80, a digital clothing center where a 3-D image of one's body is used to try on garments, as well as art toy filled the event hall.

"Though I am not in the fashion industry, I can feel that fashion design here is great," said Shin Hyo-cheol, who brought his daughter to the exhibition to browse the art toys by artist and fashion designer KUN.

Fashion Kode 2013 designers will be selling their sample pieces to the public on Saturday from 3 p.m.

"Though the fashion trade show is for B2B arrangements, we are also reaching out to ordinary fashion lovers," said Ji Kyeong-hwa, official at the KOCCA.


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