Street wear and off the rack pieces do not fully express the full extent of Korean men’s fashion. In fact, numbers show that ‘national brands’ in department stores allows for a larger distribution network of styles, which transcends the Seoul market to garner interest from men from all over the nation.
When the menswear brand CUSTOMELLOW first debuted, it was perceived as having a fresh take on men’s fashion, probably due to far too familiar scene created by decades of what has been considered men’s apparel for national brands: the notion-less mass produced, basic, trend-chasing clothes devoid of the maker’s creativity, that are hung up in Spartan stores. Creative director of CUSTOMELLOW since its genesis, Son Hyoung-O, has been continuously leading the brand forward in the ruthless market of menswear whilst still staying true to their original aesthetic. Creating several cultural campaigns as well as seasonal concepts for ready to wear clothes for the mass public, Son has been preparing for his first runway collection. On a professional and personal level, I am very much looking forward to it.
Unlike other mass-production fashion brands, CUSTOMELLOW participated in Seoul Fashion Week. For their first runway collection, they presented a line representing an ‘understanding trends, but not conforming’ fashion standard of Korean men. For their 2017 Spring/Summer runway, their collection was inspired by Stanley Kubrick’s 1968 Sci-Fi film ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’. Using the AI computing system Hal 9000 as an inspiration, the designer used “Hal” as a keyword as a stimulus to thematically shape his collection. Drawing influence from time and expertise used in the film, as well as the delicate balance between human and artificial intelligence, Kubrick’s film has been masterfully reinterpreted in various visual elements across the whole collection.
1 & 2. CUSTOMELLOW Spring Summer 2017 Collection
3. At the backstage of CUSTOMELLOW Spring Summer 2017 Collection
The structured fabric of the jumpsuits, slate grey suede leather rider jackets featuring strategically placed bold zippers and dangling straps are an underlying aesthetical theme throughout the collection. A see-through flight jacket, and trousers adorned with several zippers were eye catching; however, the more day-to-day wearable items such as the pink shirt and shorts reminiscent of pyjamas and the mustard coloured leather jacket are what brought good balance to the overall collection. “One of the goals for our label CUSTOMELLOW BLACK is to gradually extend ourselves to the purview of the general public”
“Nowadays our menswear market is developing and becoming more diverse with so many designers and brands fiercely competing against one another”. Designer KANG Dong-Jun has been looking back on men’s fashion over the past decade and has been surprised at the disparity between when he first started designing men’s apparel, and now, in terms of style. Incomparable is the number of menswear designers with individuality nowadays. SEWING BOUNDARIES’ designer Ha Dong-Ho; Kwon Mun-Soo who presented a collection for Asian menswear at the ‘International WOOLMARK® Prize Asia Regional’ in early 2016 as a representative, and Go Tae-Yong of BYEOND CLOSET – which has the following akin to any celebrity – are the primaries for contemporary modern day designers. Their experience in street fashion and high-end luxury and ability to quickly respond to market demands have created a unique and never-seen-before apparels that are not usually seen in a big department store oriented distribution channels.