20 sep, 2023

Twice a year, the surroundings of Dongdaemun Design Plaza are filled with crowds of people, some of whom wear elaborate outfits and expensive makeup, standing out not only in style but also in height, while others are laden with cameras and lenses worth thousands of dollars. And these people are in harmony. So what's the deal?

Text and photos by: Ilya Merkulov, SFW PRESS

The deal is that Seoul is hosting its fashion week. After two and a half years of the pandemic with all its restrictions and "hybrid" formats for public events, SFW returned in full swing in 2023. This fall, it traditionally joined the ranks of similar events in the world's major cities. Participation in Fashion Week is accessible to everyone: for the elite, there are runway shows featuring leading Korean designers (unlike other similar events, Seoul Fashion Week is a fairly local event, with the majority of designers being Koreans). Fans of popular Korean groups and actors get the opportunity to see their idols on the "blue" carpet (traditionally blue here), while photographers and models have a unique opportunity to find each other, as the venue transforms into a massive photo shoot with hundreds of participants.

The Fashion Week opened with the presentation of the Cemetery Camping Club collection by the ul:kin brand, where the main event was the arrival of the girls from the sensation group NewJeans. Tens of millions of albums sold, hundreds of millions of streams on streaming platforms, leading positions in charts worldwide, from Korea to the USA and Russia. There were other stars as well: the Kiss of Life group, members of the Xdinary Heroes and Up10tion groups... If these names don't ring a bell, ask your children and acquaintances: there's a high chance that the "Korean wave," which surged by the end of the 2000s, eventually washed over them or at least splashed nearby (I'm sure everyone knows PSY and his "Gangnam Style").

The photo shoot usually gains momentum closer to the end of the week, becoming most crowded on the last day. However, even on the opening day, photographers without editorial assignments didn't have a dull moment. After glimpsing the stars, one can return to where anyone can go, namely, the street, which, during Fashion Week, fills up with people from different corners of the world with diverse experiences in photography and the modeling business.

The Fashion Week has just begun, and it shows no signs of ending soon. Show after show, people come and go, and the flashes in DDP (Dongdaemun Design Plaza) will continue to sparkle until late in the evening, even when the pavilions built for Fashion Week are already closed and disassembled. Of course, they will dim the next day, only to shine even brighter in six months.

In total, SFW 2024 S/S featured 31 collections from ULKIN, HOLY NUMBER 7, SAINT MILL, BIG PARK, LIE, sling stone, PEOPLE OF THE WORLD, VEGAN TIGER, CAHIERS, LIE SANGBONG, CARUSO, and other designers. That's all! Thank you for your attention, and see you in spring 2024 when Seoul begins its Fashion Week for the autumn-winter season.