Recent hit K-dramas have cast the spotlight on a number of Korean fashion labels, with stars like Son Ye-jin (Crash Landing on You) and Kim Go-eun (Goblin) proudly rocking home-grown brands in their respective sensational drama series.
Garnering the attention of fans the world over, the lead actresses' enviable styles have propelled certain South Korean brands to fame.
Feminine tailored pantsuits in a rainbow-array of colours seen on Park Min-young in Her Private Life from the elegant label AvouAvou; the quirky and cute handbags from Play No More that starred in numerous dramas from Hi Bye, Mama! to Hotel del Luna; Romanchic's vibrant floral dresses famously seen on Son Ye-jin in Crash Landing on You, these are the brands to know if you want to start dressing like the gorgeous and chic leading ladies of your favourite Korean dramas.
K-dramas aside, brands such as pushBUTTON have also garnered widespread interest due to actress Gong Hyo-jin's avid and frequent support.
We've curated a list of K-brands to get familiar with right now. Scroll on down to check out the brands made famous by Korea's hottest celebrities.
1. Gentle Monster
If you see sunglasses being worn in Korean dramas, they are highly likely to be from Gentle Monster. After all, their stylish sunnies have been spotted on many K-celebs, from Son Ye-jin and Seo Ji-hye in Crash Landing On You to Lee Ji-ah in Penthouse and Hye-ri in My Roommate Is A Gumiho.
Founded in 2011 by Hankook Kim, Gentle Monster’s statement sunglasses have also been well-loved by Korean celebs outside of the small screen. They include Gianna Jun Ji-hyun, Shinee’s Key, Super Junior’s Siwon, Big Bang’s G-Dragon and Top as well as Blackpink’s Jennie. In fact, the eyewear label even did a collab with Jennie last year, inspired by her childhood memories tiled Jentle Home.
The next time you walk past one of their futuristic stores, pop in and try on a pair or two of sunglasses to live your Korean celeb fantasy.
Gentle Monster is located at #01-13 ION Orchard and #B2-103/104/105 Marina Bay Sands in Singapore.
Fans of Netflix’s reality competition Next in Fashion would recognise the label Minjukim instantly. After all, the Korean designer took home the top prize and went home with $25,000.
The eponymous label was founded in 2015, but not before Minju Kim won the H&M Design Award in 2013 and being shortlisted for the LVMH Prize for Young Fashion Designers in 2014.
Known for her unique and avant-garde creations, Minju Kim has created outfits for Red Velvet, which you can see in Rookie and One Of These Nights music videos, as well as boyband BTS’ 2018 I Need U world tour. Various Korean celebs have also worn Minjukim creations when they graced magazine covers in Korea, which they frequently post on their Instagram.
Minjukim is available online at www.minjukim.co.
3. Blanc & Eclare
Ardent fans of K-pop will instantly recognise the name of this brand to be the brainchild of former Girls’ Generation member Jessica Jung. Modern pieces interspersed with a touch of retro encapsulates the brand’s designs.
Blanc & Eclare has been seen on Kang Han-na in My Roommate Is A Gumiho as well as stars including Blackpink’s Lisa, Jeon So-min, Kang Min-ah and Kim Seo-eun who have incorporated pieces into their everyday wardrobe.
Blanc & Eclare is available online at blancgroup.com.
Founded by Seo Boram, the style of Vocavoca’s creations can be best described as feminine and wearable with a touch of boho vibe. Consequently, a long list of Korean celebs has fallen in love with that casual ease, such as Blackpink’s Jisoo, Yoona, Park Shin-hye, Lee Si-young, Red Velvet’s Seulgi, Han Sun-hwa, and Park Min-young, just to name a few.
Onscreen, Vocavoca has been seen on Seo Hyun-jin in You Are My Spring, Oh Yeon-seo in Love With Flaws and Kim Hye-yoon in Extraordinary You.
Vocavoca is available online at shop2.dreameranddancer.cafe24.com.
From the cute and whimsical to the classic and glamorous, you can expect to find all sorts of jewellery and hair accessories at KateNKelly. Their pieces have been sported on many K-celebs, including Taeyeon, Red Velvet’s Seulgi and Joy and Oh Yeon-seo. KateNKelly accessories have also made it to the small screen on celebs such as IU in Hotel del Luna, Kim So-yeon in Penthouse, Song Ji-hyo in Running Man and Kang Han-na in My Roommate Is A Gumiho.
KateNKelly is available online at www.momokorea.com/katenkelly.
If you like the sharp and sleek colourful pant suits seen on Park Min-young in Her Private Life, then you should know that the brand AvouAvou is behind many of the tailored pieces you’ve seen on the show.
Known for its feminine and structured silhouettes, AvouAvou’s pieces include elegant dresses, brightly coloured suits that run the gamut of sweet sorbet shades to hot pink and fire engine red, and coat dresses that look fit for the power woman.
Their designs are most notably laden with feminine details such as flared skirts, structured flutings, ruffles and romantic off-shoulder wrap necklines.
The brand was also featured in the drama Hotel del Luna as per the dreamy vintage-esque floral dresses seen on IU, and on Encounter, by dint of the tailored coats worn by Song Hye-kyo’s character.
Even the recent drama Find Me in Your Memory starring Moon Ga-young sees the lead actress sporting plenty of looks from the brand.
When it comes to her taste in fashion, actress Gong Hyo-jin isn’t one to shy away from bold, eclectic statement-making looks. It stands to reason then, that she is such a fervent fan of the brand pushBUTTON.
A streetwear label that has been gaining prominence over the past couple of years both locally in South Korea and internationally (it even hosted its first runway show during London Fashion Week ), pushBUTTON was founded by former K-pop idol Seung Gun Park.
The brand is known to be a long-time favourite of the veteran actress, who has been spotted rocking many of its fashion-forward pieces – think reversible colourblocking overcoats and asymmetrical blazers split down the middle with contrasting prints – on more than a couple occasions.
For those of you who aren’t afraid of pushing the envelope with more daring styles, pushBUTTON is an exciting brand to keep on your radar.
It frequently gives a tongue-in-cheek twist to classic silhouettes, is not afraid of playing with colours, and punctuates its pieces with plenty of unique details.
Though our favourite leading actresses may tend to err on the luxury, designer side of things when it comes to their style on-screen (like the designer bags carried by Son Ye-jin or Seo Ji-hye), that doesn’t mean that affordable fashion can’t be thrown into the mix as well.
In fact, a Korean brand that is known for its chic and wearable – yet unbelievably affordable – threads has recently been making a number of appearances on several hit dramas. That brand happens to be Nain.
Kwon Na-ra from Itaewon Class and Moon Ga-young from Find Me in Your Memory wore the brand’s belted puffer jacket, while other celebs from Kim Tae-hee (Hi Bye, Mama!) and Kim Bo-ra (Touch) donned the brand’s adorable printed knit sweaters and cardigans.
For the contemporary minimalist who isn’t afraid of seasoning their outfits with an avant garde flavour, there is the brand YCH.
Owing its moniker to the initials of founder Yoon Chun-ho, YCH is the cool brand behind many of Korean girl group Blackpink’s recent on-stage costumes.
From oversized white shirts trimmed with ruffles and worn with a corset on Jennie to skinny sequinned trousers with cutouts on Lisa, the brand’s playful designs are perfect for those who are slightly more experimental with their styles.
Jennie’s black lace bodysuit with a white lace bib in the music video Kill This Love is also from the brand.
On&On’s oversized coats have been enjoying some serious airtime of late, having made appearances via a blush pink wool coat on Jin Se-yeon in the drama Born Again and a fleece vest on Park Min-young in When The Weather is Fine.
It was more famously seen in the recent hit Netflix series Hi Bye, Mama!, as lead actress Kim Tae-hee’s character wore a coral pink cashmere coat from the brand repeatedly across multiple episodes while playing a “ghost” who remained on earth to watch over her daughter.
The brand, which carries sweet and dainty pieces such as floral frocks in pastel sorbet hues, was also featured on Ki Eun-se and Moon Ga-young’s personal Instagram feeds.
It wouldn’t be inaccurate to think of Kuho as South Korea’s rejoinder to brands such as Sandro and Tibi.
Featuring a similar minimalist aesthetic and designs revolving around the idea of functional practicality, Kuho’s clothing can be described as casual chic with an upscale refinement.
Kuho’s muse, actress Jung Eun-chae, has continued to star in many photoshoots and campaigns for the brand.
Kim Go-eun, who starred in the hit drama series Goblin, also rocked the brand’s chic threads during the series.
Playing a character who is known to dress in laidback and cool styles, the actress wore a long cashmere coat in black and a grey pullover with deliberately ripped hems from Kuho in the show.
Couronne’s minimalist and ladylike handbags boast of modern architectural shapes and a very en vogue colour palette.
The brand’s bags have been spotted in many popular Korean dramas.
In Her Private Life, Park Min-young's character hauled a navy blue day tote with a faux pearl shoulder strap from the brand.
Suzy Bae toted Couronne’s brown Melia tote bag while starring in the 2019 romance drama Vagabond, and Lee Sung-kyung carried the brand’s black Marianne shoulder bag in Dr. Romantic 2.
The brand’s most recent campaign girl, Shin Min-a, also drew in more buzz for the brand.
Korean streetwear label Kye focuses on a cool street luxe aesthetic with a hint of rebellious energy that is demonstrated by the brand’s use of neon brights and punk-inspired details.
The brand was recently seen on girl group APINK’s 9th mini album teaser photo.
Member Eun-ji wore a blue corset top attached to a black tee from the brand.
The brand’s scarf-printed corset belt was seen on Blackpink’s Jennie when she performed on stage at both the concert at Los Angeles with the rest of her group and at the Newark concert with Dua Lipa.
Korean bag brand PlayNoMore is most famous for its line of 'Shygirl' bags: a classy top handle tote bag sporting a similar silhouette to the Hermes Kelly, with giant cartoon eyes made from sequins cheekily looking up.
A favourite amongst stars like Girl’s Generation’s Hyoyeon and Suzy Bae, the PlayNoMore ‘Shygirl’ is one of the biggest It-bags to dominate the Korean celebrity scene.
Its other bag style, the ‘Micro Candy’, was spotted on IU in Hotel del Luna – a full white version of the micro-sized bag that comes finished with a gold chain and an adorable lock.
The brand’s ‘Micro Baguette’ bag, a cassette-shaped micro purse, was also seen on actress Han So-hee in the recent drama, The World of the Married.
Just as its name suggests, Romanchic’s pieces imbue a feminine, sweet girlish innocence.
It markedly garnered plenty of attention during the run of the 2019 melodrama Graceful Family. Lead actress Im Soo-hyang regularly wore the brand’s romantic numbers on the show.
From tweed crop tops with matching midi skirts to tailored suit jackets with matching shorts that are trimmed with statement lace crochet, the series shone the spotlight on Romanchic’s captivating designs.
The more recent Crash Landing on You also saw Son Ye-jin don a brightly coloured floral printed dress with Dalmation-like polka dots from the label.
This article was first published in Her World Online.