The 10 designers pose for a promotional photo of 2012 Seoul's 10 Soul, a global fashion brand project. From left are Lee Seung-hee, Kang Dong-jun, Hong Hye-jin, Choi Bum-suk, Ko Tae-yong, Lee Suk-tae, Im Seon-oc, Steve J & Yoni P, Choi Chul-yong and Sheen Je-hee. / Courtesy ofBridge Company
By Rachel Lee
A global fashion brand project, 2012 Seoul’s 10 Soul, organized by the Seoul Metropolitan Government, has shortlisted 10 Korean fashion designers with long-term support programs.
Now in its third year, the project aims to provide long-term exposure in international markets and help the further development of selected designers. This year they are Ko Tae-yong, Choi Chul-yong, Kang Dong-jun, Choi Bum-suk, Sheen Je-hee, Lee Suk-tae, Lee Seung-hee, Im Seon-oc, Steve J & Yoni P and Hong Hye-jin.
The government runs integrated showrooms called Acrex in Paris and Milan to further promote the brands.
“I am enormously impressed by the capability of Korean artists,” said Alfredo Ferreira, sales director of the showroom. “I expect a lot from the project as the eyes of Paris fashion are currently upon it.”
In Paris, the showroom will open from June 29 to July 3 for menswear and Sept. 27 to Oct. 5 for womenswear. Milan’s showroom will present the men’s ranges through Sept. 25 and from Aug. 27 to Oct. 15 for the women’s styles.
In addition, the 10 designers will showcase their work at an exhibition scheduled around Paris Fashion Week this October to which the press and buyers will be invited.
Previously, the project was more about such one-time events as hosting an exhibition of the designers and an after-party in Paris.
“This fashion project has helped me to jump into the pickiest European market,” said Lee Suk-tae, chosen for the project for three consecutive years, along with Choi Bum-suk, Sheen and Lee Seung-hee. “However, the government needs to support us with a long-term project, rather than promoting single events. Consistency is the key,” he added. Lee is now a sought-after designer by established public relations firms and showroom organizers in France.
The long-term support programs envisioned this year include consultations on brand positioning and marketing strategies; a one-to-one matching service between the designers and agencies specializing in public relations and sales; and continuous brand management and analysis of the outcome.
“We aim to develop our domestic brands to the level of global giants Louis Vuitton and Chanel by 2020,” said Baek Woon-seok, director of cultural industry at the Seoul Metropolitan Government. “We also plan to expand this current Paris-based project to other big cities and keep up our support programs to gain recognition in the global fashion industry.”