We hear of many western brands taking advantage of globalisation and the growing wealth of the Eastern continent – but what brands are expanding from the east into the UK? I decided to investigate to see what brands were out there.
Let me introduce to you WOOYOUNGMI; a menswear brand originating from Seoul, South Korea. For a brand that is not widely known, it has achieved a lot in such a short amount of time. WOOYOUNGMI was founded by two sisters, Woo Janghee and Woo Youngmi, in 2002, after the latter set up another brand SOLID HOMME – a small boutique in Seoul, which made her the first female menswear designer in Korea.
In 2002 they began showing at Paris Menswear Fashion Week, and in 2006 a stand-alone store opened in Paris. Since then, WOOYOUNGMI have set up a studio in Paris in order to work alongside the Seoul design studio, have launched the brand in Japan, and set-up ‘My Coat My Gift’ – a special project, launched in 2010, celebrating the popular WOOYOUNGMI coat No.51. The list of achievements for this brand goes on, with a capsule collection of uniforms designed for Harvey Nichols Hong Kong in 2011. In the same year WOOYOUNGMI became a member of the prestigious French Fashion Association ‘La Chambre Syndicale’, proving that these women are a force to be reckoned with.
The two women bring unique design to menswear. When the opposite sex designs for the other, a unique perspective of fashion and how to dress is inevitable. Women, in particular, can open up the menswear landscape by using reference points to how womenswear has evolved and grown previously. Women designers can also often apply more experimental and objective views onto the clothing, because the designers are not designing for themselves.
Everything about the brand WOOYOUNGMI is considered; from the design process to the communication with their audience through advertising concepts. Their SS12 advertising campaign is a testament to their creativity, and marks the beginning of the brand’s collaborations with artists who are selected so they can interpret the current collection. The first artist is Lee Song, a Korean artist who is fast developing a reputation for his work.
Want to experience more from WOOYOUNGMI? Head down to Selfridges London, where a pop-up event will be held from the 10th October 2012, running for four weeks. WOOYOUNGMI have joined forces with 5 young and creative Londoners who will present their re-imagined WOOYOUNGMI classic No.51 coat. 10% of the sales will go to the charity ‘Art Against Knives’ – a charity that utilises the capital’s creativity to tackle the city’s knife crime.
The WOOYOUNGMI label is available from Selfridges Oxford Street.