Not to be that cliché editor, but I can’t lie and say I don’t derive a sincere amount of joy from keeping up with the moment. From finding rising influencers and emerging fashion brands to streaming the trendiest musicians to binge-watching the most viral shows of the moment, I am a culture fiend. And as such, I know the hold that fashion week has on the world. It can determine the biggest trends, predict what Zendaya will most likely be wearing to her next red carpet appearance, and show us which cities lead the cultural conversations. And while the S/S 22 shows in New York, London, Milan, and Paris were noteworthy, one city, in particular, is worth paying attention to: Seoul.
Seoul is the most underrated city in terms of influencing both fashion trends and cultural conversations. After all, some of the most viral entertainment (think Squid Game, Parasite, or the K-pop band BTS) is coming from South Korea. Not to mention the influence traditional Korean streetwear has had on your minimalist wardrobe. It’s this rationale that has me convinced this city is going to determine 2022’s biggest fashion trends—but you don’t have to take my word for it. Ahead, we’ve sorted through runway imagery to narrow down the top five fashion trends from Seoul’s S/S 22 fashion week. Keep reading to see which Korean fashion trends will be exported from Seoul’s runway to a rack of feed near you.
Let’s be honest: Suiting shows up on the runway season after season—it was even on Paris and London’s S/S 22 runways—but the traditional tailoring was reenvisioned in Seoul. Deconstructed tailoring reigned supreme and came in the form of blazers bursting with exposed seams, extra pockets, cutouts, exposed pins, and zippers. From pants to blouses to a suit, this trend has many unique iterations, making it prime for styling possibilities.
I’m sorry, or you’re welcome, but Seoul’s runways have decided that the cottagecore style aesthetic is here to stay. Before rolling your eyes, look to Seoul-based brands such as Gaze de Lin and Doucan for proof that this trend doesn’t have to be so frilly. Opting for minimal iterations—e.g., simple button-up sets, lace collars, or maxi dresses in cream and denim hues—is the perfect way to make this trend feel more timeless.
Pleating has begun its reemergence into our lives through classic pleated sets and accordion-pleated skirts—but Seoul’s fashion week took this trend into a whole new territory. Unlike traditional pleating, the runways were filled with perplexing iterations in the form of leather shorts at Kumann Yhj, tiered pleated skirts at Musée, and oh-so-subtle iterations at Gaze de Lin. The result is a culmination of pleats that leave you curious for more.
Sheer clothing has been dominating the runway (see NYFW’s S/S 22 collections), but in Seoul, there was a more modest take through the use of organza fabrics. Of course, there were organza gowns (seen at Cahiers’s presentation), but mostly, this fabric was reworked from its former cocktail status to the everyday material by way of organza suits, jackets, printed blouses, and the occasional button-up dress.
Possibly the most notable trend we spotted from Seoul Fashion Week S/S 22 was the repetition of punchy, futuristic, voyeuristic printed pieces. Think outer space–inspired, surreal animal prints; trippy ’70s shapes; and even modern takes on under-the-sea prints. This trend is all about letting a unique pattern on a blazer, second-skin top, or minidress take you on a trip to a whole new world. Where you end up is your call, but the final result is a fabric that gives you a glimpse into Seoul’s fashion scene (sans flight).