Daughters run the show in S Korea's fashion groups

Daughters run the show in S Korea's fashion groups

SEOUL - South Korean conglomerates have long been dominated by men - usually sons and grandsons of the founders.

Although a few, such as Lee Myung Hee, chairman of Shinsegae, have made their mark, the role of women has primarily been to support their husbands or sons.

This trend is changing.

The daughters of the founders of some of the clothing companies in South Korea are out to show that they too have the brains and stamina to lead.

The fashion arm of Samsung C&T is headed by Lee Seo Hyun, one of Samsung Group chairman Lee Kun Hee's daughters.

One of her direct rivals is her cousin, Chung Yoo Kyung, sister of Shinsegae vice-chairman Chung Yong Jin.

Ms Lee has said one of her main responsibilities is to "globalise K-fashion".

She has already started selling six Samsung brands at Tmall Global, a shopping mall run by China's largest e-commerce giant Alibaba Group.

Shinsegae International launched independent clothing brand G-cut in China via Grand Gateway 66, the largest shopping mall in Shanghai.

Elsewhere, Hyungji clothes are best known for reliability and mass appeal. Launched in 1996, it operates 20 clothing brands across South Korea.

One of its most formidable rivals is Sejung Group which is one of the leading second-tier clothing firms in the country.

Both companies have the founders' daughters at the helm. Hyungji founder Choi Byung Ho appointed Hae Won as head of Hyungji I&C on June 16.

Sejung Group chairman Park Soon Ho's daughter I Ra has headed the group's apparel distributor Sejung & Future since 2006.

Another female executive in the spotlight is Youngone Group chairman Sung Ki Hak's daughter Rae Eun.

She was named head of Youngone Holdings in March.

Youngone, one of South Korea's top OEM firms, also operates outdoor clothing brands such as The North Face.

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