Seoul has long served as a major Asian fashion capital. Its fashion-forward styles range from youth-oriented streetwear to sophisticated looks. Two examples here, by Lie Sang Bong and Big Park, show the city’s varied styles.
The South Korean government is dedicated to promoting Seoul as an international fashion city by investing heavily in the industry. During the 1960s, such efforts centered on manufacturing. The focus later shifted to fashion education and industry resources, such as the Seoul Fashion Centre.
Since 2000, Seoul has consolidated its fashion week presentations into the Seoul Fashion Collection. The event continues to grow, attracting more international journalists and buyers every year. Initiatives such as the Concept Korea show at New York Fashion Week provide even more visibility to Seoul’s talented designers, reinforcing Seoul as a fast-emerging fashion hub.
China has many fashion cities, including Beijing, Guangzhou, Hong Kong, Shenzhen, and Chengdu. The leader, however, is Shanghai. It is home to China’s top design schools as well as many established designer brands. Shanghai’s style is varied, internationally appealing, and sophisticated.
During the early 20th century, Shanghai’s thriving clothing industry produced innovative fashions that blended Chinese and European elements. The focus shifted to manufacturing at mid-century. When China embraced international culture during the late 1970s, fashion design re-emerged, and Shanghai began to foster a new generation of designers.
Shanghai Fashion Week began in 2003. A designer showing in fall 2015 remarked, “Ten years ago, Shanghai Fashion Week wasn’t that important, but now we cannot ignore its power.” Its polished collections attract press and buyers from the enormous Chinese market as well as increasing international attention.