>> I wanted to begin to offload at least a few kilos of that excess baggage which came home with me by carrying on raving about Seoul. A few days of roaming around the city led me to beieve that pretty much every sweatshirt and t-shirt came emblazoned with American football lettering, a slogan or a logo or were at least inflected with some sort of sportswear reference. The Acne Beta Double Logo sweatshirt was rife both in real and counterfeit form. All the aforementioned boutiques which I talked up in my previous post were rampant with numbers, letters and slogans. I recently wrote a piece for Because Magazine that was published on BOF entitled the Logo Strikes Back and Seoul confirmed my suspicions that branding your chest with typographic detailing shows no sign of dying down anytime soon. Beyond a logo, it's up and coming designers taking on the language of sportswear and streetwear to get their message across.
Juun.J is probably one of the most internationally well-known Korean designers at the moment and Jeong-Wook Jun's eponymous brand's ownership under Samsung's Fashion division has only accelerated the growth in Asia in beyond. I went to see Juun.J's S/S 14 collection, which was presented in Paris menswear back in June but in Seoul, you got an idea of how a Juun.J shop-in-shop will look like as they prepare for their own domestic retail spots. That's what backing from a humongous conglomerate company gets you. The number 30 transparent nylon knit jersey which I bought back with me from Seoul was the centrepiece of the finale of Juun.J's S/S 14 collection. Jun investigated the idea of a uniform by streamlining recognisable sportswear codes with classic tailoring. Throw in a collaboration with Russian artist Oleg Dou on some surreal padded out sweatshirts and you have yourself the kind of visual anecdotal collection filled with distilled sportswear/street, that gets people's eyes excited and cash registers ringing. If it's any sort of a positive indication, Rihanna has already performed in the marbled ensemble below.
Another Korean brand getting in on the wordplay action is relative newbie Nohant. Their recent runaway hit has been their Lonely/Lovely sweatshirt and t-shirt now reiterated in multiple colourways. The Seoul style set have been giving this local cult item support and with reliable well-priced wardrobe staples to back up this no-frills label, there's every chance people outside of Korea might want to get a piece of the Lovely/Lonely.
One of my favourite street/sports/word (sorry there's no handy catch-all word to describe what has been such a persistent trend) finds from Seoul, also happens to be pocket friendly. That seems to be one of the strengths of Korean fashion - the ability to source local production and therefore offer maximal design at minimal prices. Pennant is a collective that creates everyday items. Their JIMI line of customisable footwear is named after Jimi Hendrix as the sole of these changeable sandals with seven peg units on its side and back looks like a guitar head. The uppers can be changed with the pegs and go from being a multi-strapped sandal to a pool slider to a canvas chelsea boot. The backs of the shoes can also be changed and if you wished, you could probably create your very own Love Life Celine S/S 14 shoe nod with the removable canvas/bandana rag ties. Pennant's own site sells some of the styles but if you can figure out Korean shipping, this site 29cm has far more options. I got mine at Daily Projects in Seoul, where Pennant is one of their top selling brands. Easy to see why when you put those slightly confusing KWon prices into a currency converter.
Nothing to do with the word play theme of the post but another nifty bargain I picked up were these plastic easy-to-transport plastic netting bags by local fave Paul & Alice. I'm always in need of solutions of carrying cameras so I can whip them out at any instance, without wading through a handbag or swinging them about on a strap and these shoppers are more than capable.