South Korea Lands at LFW

As London Fashion Week opens, ORDRE looks at four Korean-born designers to know now: Eudon Choi, J.JS Lee, Rejina Pyo and Gayeon Lee.

London has long been considered a creative breeding ground and fashion mecca for international talent — a place to experiment and incubate — designers come from across the globe to establish their brands in London. As London Fashion Week opens, alongside designers from across the globe, South Korean labels stood out with a strong presence on the official schedule. ORDRE takes a look at four of the country's stand out labels to pay attention to this SS'19 season.

Gayeon Lee

Gayeon Lee studied at Central Saint Martins (CSM), gaining international press when pieces from her graduate collection were worn by Lady Gaga while promoting an album in 2013. She went on to cut her teeth with various luxury brands in London and New York, including Marc Jacobs. The designer’s concept-driven label, which she launched in 2014, is heavily inspired by fine art.

Having won critical acclaim for its simplicity and artisanal craftsmanship, the designer secured international stockists in the middle east and Asia. Speaking to South China Morning Post in 2016, Lee said she chose to base her atelier in Seoul because the city’s rich art scene provides her with an abundance of inspiration.

Lee is set to present her collection on Friday, September 14th, day 1 of LFW.

J.JS Lee

J.JS Lee, by Seoul-born designer Jackie JS Lee, began her fashion career as a pattern cutter, after studying in Korea. Moving to London to complete her education at CSM, she launched her brand in 2010, following her graduation. Her final collection won the Harrods Award, and was subsequently featured in the iconic retailer’s windows.

For her first collection, Lee received NEWGEN sponsorship from the BFC. Inspired by historical events and ideology, Lee’s aesthetic is defined by “sleek androgynous shapes offset by feminine details that utilise intricate and traditional tailoring techniques.” In the UK, J.JS Lee is stocked by Dover Street Market, Isetan Mitsukoshi in Japan, La Garconne in the US and 10th Shop in Hong Kong.

J.JS Lee’s runway show will take place on Friday, September 14, also day 1 of LFW.

Eudon Choi

The most mature brand in this list, Eudon Choi was founded in 2009, after the designer graduated from London’s Royal Academy of Art MA programme. Having originally trained as a menswear designer in Seoul, Choi’s work is infused with a masculine approach to tailoring and detail. Inspired by architecture, art and history, Choi has twice won the support of the British Fashion Council (BFC) and the Fashion Trust since the label launched.

Eudon Choi is stocked by a variety of retailers internationally, including Curve LA, D-Mop in Hong Kong, N.30 Milano, and My Boon in Seoul. In 2017, it launched a collaboration with British high street retailer John Lewis — a partnership which helped cement the label’s place in the British fashion landscape.

Eudon Choi will host his runway show on the Saturday, September 15, day 2 of LFW.

Rejina Pyo

Perhaps the most recognisable name in this list, the Seoul-born designer has been based in London since decamping from Korea to study under the late Louise Wilson at CSM in 2008. Following her graduation, Pyo worked as Roksanda Ilincic’s first assistant for three years, before launching her namesake brand in 2013.

Elegant and striking, Pyo’s runway presentations have become a fixture on the London Fashion Week calendar. She maintains strong links to her native Seoul, producing largely in Korea, where she maintains a small team. Working with over 100 stockists worldwide, including industry leaders like Net-a-Porter, Mytheresa, Harrods, Neiman Marcus and Galeries Lafayette, the designer hinted to WWD earlier this year of an expansion into other categories like homewares and potentially menswear.

Rejina Pyo will hold her runway show on Monday, September 17th, day 4 of LFW.