Made in Korea
LAU’s SArD invites Kim Hong Ki to speak about Korean contemporary fashion and industry.
With over 1,849,568,174 views on Psy’s “Gangnam Style” YouTube page, most people still do not know much about Korea. Traditionally famous for its top-notch electronic brands LG and Samsung, South Korea is now making a splash on the global fashion runways.
On December 9, budding designers at LAU were given a taste of Korean fashion when they attended a public talk given by fashion curator and critic Kim Hong Ki on LAU’s Beirut campus. As a first-time visitor to Lebanon, Kim made sure to tour the Beirut Souks as soon as he landed. “I am very impressed by the fashion here — the history, the traditional colors — I am especially fascinated with Middle Eastern embroidery; and of course, you must know that Koreans all adore Elie Saab” Kim declared.
“This trip is part of a global campaign where I scout the world for new fresh talent,” the fashion curator explained.
Kim, who is also a journalist and art director, shared his love of the Korean contemporary fashion industry. He has spent many years reporting on Korea’s fashion aesthetics, market and designers. In addition to numerous appearances as a television panelist, he is working as a judge for the Seoul Collection at Seoul Fashion Week. Kim has also planned various fashion-related exhibitions and performances spotlighting mixtures of fashion with modern art.
“It is important for designers to occasionally be exposed to a completely new design aesthetics,” said Jason Steel, assistant professor at the LAU Fashion Design Program in collaboration with Elie Saab, explaining the impetus for organizing the talk. “Exposure to different cultures can help inspire new fashion ideas,” he added.
Students stepped outside their comfort zones and allowed their imaginations to be ignited by beautiful images of Korean iconography and long-standing traditions that Kim presented to accompany his talk. Pointing out the latest trends on the Korean fashion scene, he explained how traditional sensibilities are being crafted into modern trends by incorporating whimsical designs, traditional colors of green, blue, white, black, and red and floral prints.
“Pine trees are a recurring tropic in Korean culture and you will find these manifestations in its fashion,” he explained pointing to its symbolic value as a source of creativity and longevity.
“Though Lebanese and Korean cultures are different, I was surprised to see that we both share a similar respect for traditional values,” said a student in the audience.