Hundreds of Chinese fans were in a frenzy at the opening of Seoul Fashion Week last Friday, when K-pop boy group EXO took the catwalk presenting the latest works by young Korean designers.
Launched in 2000 the event has emerged as one of Asia's most prestigious showcases thanks to gorgeous collections, dazzling stage design and the high popularity of Korean TV dramas and music overseas.
"K-pop and Korean dramas play an important role in attracting attention to Korean fashion," said Griffin Chan, senior buyer of Harvey Nichols in Hong Kong.
"He is among 125 foreign buyers including 82 from mainland China and Hong Kong.His colleague Tony Lee praised Korean design for its creativity and attention to detail. Especially among aficionados of hallyu, or Korean Wave, what celebrities wear on TV dramas boosts interest in Korean fashion," he said.
"Fans go wild about what Korean star actors and actresses wear on TV dramas. It's a large factor attracting attention to Korean fashion," Lee, merchandizing manager of the company, said.
Seoul Fashion Week is considered the second-most influential show in Asia after Tokyo Fashion Week. Some designer brands that present regular collections at the event have entered high-profile multi-fashion shops in Asia and beyond.
Menswear brands Cy Choi, Juun.J and Songzio are featured in the MC2 showroom in Paris. S Style Group in Kuwait imports Korean designers' brands such as Lie Sang Bong, Doii, Big Park and Kumann Yoo Hye-jin. Harvey Nichols in Hong Kong showcases Steve J and Yoni P, pushButton, ARCHE and Kosoyoung.
Seoul Design Foundation, one of its organizers, has pledged to help designers enter Asian fashion markets.