Another channel that has helped to revolutionise menswear in Korea has been online marketing. E-commerce has emerged as one of the largest consumers for men’s fashion as of late. According to KANG Dongjun, seven out of ten brands that carry DGNAK are online retail stores. Online retail stores such as LUISAVIAROMA.com and SSENSE.com carry DGNAK as well as other emerging luxury fashion labels. After having focused on the overseas market and returning to creating menswear in Korea, KANG has been able to notice the profound impact that online shopping has had on retail markets. “The shopping patterns of men have changed indubitably. Men try on clothes in stores, and then go online to purchase them.
The limitations of retail stores with regards to the inflexibility of in-store distribution as well as production is a problem that has yet to be solved; however, the natural transition with online shopping becoming a more favourable means of buying is clearly evident.” This is not the sole opinion of just one designer. From MUSINSA.COM to MSK SHOPS’s online shop MSKSHOP.NET, online stores have been able to rake in profits from sales tens if not thousands times higher than retail stores.
Now we need to ask ourselves – which platform facilitates the ease in which we are able to access Korean men’s fashion? More traditional social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook which are more focused on social networking have been overtaken by platforms such as Instagram, which tend to be more content based. Content based social media has had a tremendous impact on fashion media due to its niche and user-friendly interface. Searching for “fashion images” has become much easier with Instagram. With photos and short text descriptions, it plays the role of a ‘mobile magazine’ that allows for the distribution of fashion related news and trends in real time. Younger menswear designers have also been all too keen to hop aboard the social media train. Images from outfit flat lays to celebrity airport fashion have been diligently posted by designers, as well as snippets of their day to day private lives. The increase of their popularity and influence also comes with greater scrutiny of the mere nuances that come with their vocabulary choice, but without a doubt, self-promotion through social media platforms has encouraged the spread of Korean men’s fashion worldwide by 2015.
With Korean men’s fashion favouring street style and becoming accessible, designers are able to reach out and promote their brands and products to potential buyers overseas. Ten years ago, what would have been considered an inconceivable notion, is now happening before our very eyes.
3. Designer Ahn Teok’s ‘Never Green House’, whose talent was quickly recognized by the Korean fashion industry for his men’s brand ‘Spectator’. This lifestyle concept store was put together by Ahn and his fellow designers to feature their brands. One can catch a glimpse of the diversity of Seoul fashion here.