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Fashion KODE gives young designers a boost

The gov’t-run event helps Korean brands meet global buyers
Mar 17,2018
Fashion KODE 2018 F/W began Thursday morning with an opening fashion show by “Uxion” at the S-Factory in Seongsu-dong, eastern Seoul. [KOCCA]
Fashion KODE offers a chance for buyers and designers to get together at each brand’s exhibition booth, right. Visitors can also take free postcards designed by the different brands, left. [YOON SO-YEON]
As the temperature rises and people begin to dig through their closets to rediscover summer clothes they had long forgotten about, the fashion industry is preparing for the season of fashion festivities, starting with this season’s Fashion KODE. Fashion KODE 2018 F/W held its opening ceremony on Thursday at the S-Factory in Seongsu-dong, eastern Seoul, offering yet another chance for designers and buyers to meet.

The event began its three-day run with a fashion show by “Uxion” on Thursday morning. Over 100 brands have set up their exhibition booths in the halls for buyers to look around, including some familiar names such as LIE by Lee Chung Chung, Greedilous, Bourie and ti:baeg, as well as some new players on the fashion scene.

Fashion KODE, organized by the Korea Creative Content Agency (Kocca), mostly focuses on getting new and young designers into the global market, with plenty of benefits and support programs for its participating designers. Kocca offers designers that take part in the event support funds and a chance to show off their collections at the 2019 Jakarta Fashion Week. Since Kocca only charges a small fee for participating brands, Fashion KODE is a chance for designers to get together with like-minded creatives, not to mention the all-important local and foreign buyers who are willing to open their wallets, and invest in fresh ideas.

“Some 400 buyers from in and outside of Korea took part in last season’s [Fashion KODE], reaching a total of 1.7 billion won ($1.6 million) in trade revenue, the highest ever,” said Jung Kyung-mi, head of the culture division at Kocca. “Fashion KODE is becoming a leader in fashion culture, by cultivating talented and young designers and helping them make their way in the foreign market. This is a big feat as K-fashion gains more popularity each day.”

Kocca also set schedules to ensure that each designer meets with at least one buyer before the event ends, ensuring that the rookie designers have a chance to get their items out into the market. A networking party was held on Friday night, allowing everyone to get to know each other over drinks and music.

“We have been getting better results with each season, and look forward to a successful result this season as well,” said Jung.

For this particular event, Fashion KODE also offers something for those outside of the fashion industry to get familiar with some new names.

At the KODE Market, 44 brands have made some of their items available for visitors to buy. Visitors are welcome to look around the venue without a ticket to the specific shows, and may just manage to get their hands on some of the newest items.

While Fashion KODE was initially for those inside the fashion world when it launched in 2013, the organizers hope that it is becoming a stepping stone for the whole Korean fashion market to grow, not just to overseas markets but also among Koreans that may not be particularly engaged with clothing culture.

“Fashion is not simply a matter of clothing anymore, but a culture that shows the personalities of an individual or a group. In that sense, designers are like creators [of culture]. K-fashion is gaining more popularity with time, and we will work to bring out the excellence of K-fashion to its best,” said Jung.

BY YOON SO-YEON [yoon.soyeon@joongang.co.kr]

To go to S-Factory, get off at Seongsu Station, line No. 2, exit 3 and walk for five minutes. The KODE Market closes at 6 p.m. For more information, visit www.fashionkode.com.