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K-Style Lab puts local brands on bigger stage

Feb 15,2018
Co-founders Kim Eun-jung, right, and Hong Sung-joon of K-Style Lab pose for a photo at the multi-brand shop in Hong Kong. [K-STYLE LAB]
Korean fashion is often seen as following renowned international fashion houses with no depth or originality of its own, but Kim Eun-jung, former editor of the fashion magazine Madame Figaro, is keen to change that perception.

The K-Style Lab project is part of an effort to introduce Korean designer clothes to international clients in Hong Kong. Kim and her husband, Hong Sung-joon, who formerly worked as a retail specialist with Apple Hong Kong and Walmart China, launched the third K-Style Lab store in Hong Kong’s K11 art concept mall.

“Honestly,” Kim said, “the image of Korean fashion is not that good, even though it’s been introduced abroad through the popularity of K-pop.”

She added, “Seven out of 10 people whom I met in Hong Kong thought the Dongdaemun fashion market represents Korean style. I feel distressed to see that Korean fashion seems to be synonymous with trendy but cheap wholesale clothes, even though we have many quality designer brands.”

The 53-year-old Kim convinced her husband to join the project to create a multi-brand select shop, which they named K-Style Lab. She then set about meeting with seasoned and emerging fashion designers.

“I want to let others know that we also have premium designer brands,” she said, “and I want to promote unique designs, unexpected details and the seemingly fancy but simple beauty that is all ingrained in those brands.”

The first K-Style Lab was set up in Times Square, Causeway Bay, a location that bespeaks her intention to feature high-end Korean fashion.

“The fourth store is where luxury labels are,” Kim said, “so that’s where I wanted to place the works of Korea’s best fashion designers, from Jinteok and Park Yoon-soo to Im Seon-ok and Han Sang-hyuk.”

The second shop is on Hollywood Road, a street famous for art and antiques.

There, the K-Style Lab introduced a wide range of lifestyle products, including flower vases, diffusers and soups. Since the newest ship is located in an art concept mall, Kim brought in 16 emerging brands.

“K11 is the first experimental art mall that combines art and commerce,” she said, “we displayed the new brands, which were never introduced in Hong Kong.”

The labels include IANNMORE, Athluna and jewelry brand Reindeer.

“K-Style Lab will consistently change the composition of each boutique in accordance with its locations,” Kim said. “We aim to become a competitive solution company in Hong Kong, a bridgehead for China and other Asian markets.”

BY SEO JUNG-MIN [park.eunjee@joongang.co.kr]



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