fashion . Interview

Secrets To Dressing Like The Stylish South Koreans

Master the art of K-style

South Korean fashion has taken the world by storm with its elements that both capture maximalism and minimalism. From oversized, pastel sweaters to bold, futuristic sunnies, we can't help but see the artistic inspirations behind the styles. 

This is why we didn't pass up on the opportunity to chat with Korean fashion designer and artist Daeun Lee to ask her about the secrets of nailing K-style. The creator of fashion brand Vleeda, which you can take a hold of at SocietyA, shares how her art translates to her clothing line and extends to wearable art meeting ultra-feminine style. 

Read on to know what she has to say about perfecting the art of dressing as a stylish Korean. 

What is one challenge of establishing a fashion label in South Korea?

"Finding a master for pattern-making or finding factories is really hard and difficult [especially] for students [of fashion]. Luckily, when I was a student, I met a master from a field trip and crossed that [challenge] out of my list easily. Still, finding factories and personnel [for manufacturing] are really hard."

What's one print or pattern that will never go out of style in South Korea?

"Of course, stripes and checks because they are classics — not just in Korea but worldwide. It’s important for me to see various changes in patterns [as a designer] and I really think [these two] will never go out of style." 

What's one unique style trend made famous by the South Koreans?

"I don’t think it’s a trend [per se], but many like wearing slip-ons or slip dresses with t-shirts inside. I don’t like it personally, but many Korean — and Asian — girls like wearing it this way. Beyond fashion, hairstyling is also very popular in Korea. The wispy bangs trend [like the ones made popular by K-pop] is also very trendy."

Where is one popular destination in Seoul where the style seekers are at?

"In the past, Gangnam and Hongdae were famous. But nowadays, Mangwon is getting popular, too. It’s just next to Hongdae and is a very small town with a local market inside. They now have more shops than just the local market, which looks weird at first [since it's a small town], but now it’s getting hotter [to tourists] if you want to look stylish."

What's one must-have fashion accessory for a stylish South Korean?

"Statement earrings! Because not everyone likes styling their clothes with prints and patterns, so they do the [minimalist] styling and add on big or bold earrings to make [the look] more stylish."

Can you name 'it' South Korean celebrities that almost every designer wants to dress?

"Gong Hyo Jin, Suzy (Bae Su-ji), and [of course] Song Hye Kyo. If we get the ‘sponsoring’ email from Song Hye Kyo’s stylist, we cancel all the others and focus on her!"

What's a fashion 'no-no' in South Korea?

"There's a recent trend where there’s a button down with very long sleeves. I, personally, don’t like designs with 'no reasons' because they are not functional. Many street brands in Korea adapted this kind of style but I think they just followed that [trend]. I don’t like it and I think it became a no-no [after a while]."

Give an example of an outfit combination that all South Koreans would wear.

"As I mentioned earlier, the slip-on or slip dress plus t-shirt combo is very popular. But I read somewhere that guys don’t like that style [on women they date]. Either way, many love this combo and it’s really become a famous look, maybe because it fits most body shapes."

What's one styling tip that we can learn from the South Koreans?

"Koreans are not afraid of voluminous styles, like puff sleeves or anything that’s heightened, raised, or flaring. They are not afraid of voluminous contrast styling and you shouldn't be, too."

Last but not the least, what's one Vleeda piece that is flattering for all occasions?

"I’m actually wearing it now! This Vleeda wrap dress [from the SS18 collection] is really easy to wear. I usually prepare two colours of this in my luggage [when I travel] and just hang it once I’m at the hotel and it doesn’t wrinkle at all. It’s also great for parties because it’s also fabulous with its print and fabric so I really recommend this."

(Cover photo from: @vleeda)

Check out Vleeda’s Spring/Summer 2018 Collection at Society-A