What would the cool kids look like a few generations after the apocalypse had ravaged civilization, and a merry band of badass survivors had managed to begin repopulating and rebuilding society? Now that you’ve got that scenario in your head, the answer is they’d look pretty dope, and dressed in MooHong. While I didn’t have the greatest seat at MooHong’s show during Seoul Fashion Week, I could see the ultra cool stroll down the runway. Frankly, I think it’s that sense of ultra cool that has to become the anchor of Seoul’s emerging fashion scene, but that’s the topic for another post.
MooHong had an ultra cool confidence that is irrefutably modern, focused on asymmetric construction, and uncommon cuts. Undoubtedly one of my favorite collections, MooHong kept a rather mild color palette, and managed to never be boring.
We saw blazers that were longer than average, and anything but normal. One blazer I was particularly fond of had lapels on the back, revealing red writing, that I can assume, spelled out the brand’s name. It was just interesting enough to catch my eye, and yet, easily sellable for the client who is still a bit shy about how daring to be when enhancing their style. There was plenty, however, for the fashionable man and woman who’s confidence and bravado already matched their style.
As if that weren’t enough, there was a pleasant androgyny, that didn’t looked forced at all. Instead, it looked sophisticated, and well thought out. It wasn’t a man in a dress, it was a man in a really cool long top with an asymmetrical hem, opting to wear no pants, and layering on a dope blazer. It was genuine, believable, and better yet, sellable. Whether it was menswear or womenswear mattered minimally at best, the traditionally masculine elements complemented the traditionally feminine. The traditionally feminine carried elements of the traditionally masculine. It just worked.Here are some of my favorite looks, from one of the best collections presented at Seoul Fashion Week!
An ode to my OOTDs, as captured by some of the photographers at Seoul Fashion Week. I went to watch shows, and observe street style, but I, in turn, was being observed. While I have not found nearly all of the photos, here are a few, be sure to click the link to check out their Instagram accounts and websites for more Seoul Street Fashion! Also, don’t forget to follow my Insta!
What was spectacular about pushBUTTON’s Spring/Summer 2017 show? I’ll admit, there was a subtle shock to see every man stroll down the runway in a pair of heels. There’s just something I can appreciate about the democratization of pain. Clever. But, really, that wasn’t the most spectacular thing. The brilliance in the collection was held really in the distance of the collection. And just what do I mean by that, after all, this girl was sitting pretty on the front row? Well, just that as a stylist, it’s easy for me to focus on pieces. I start wardrobing in my head the minute I see a piece I like. Which client would that work for, what would pair well in his closet, what could I style that with on a shoot? Immediately, my mind wonders. In fact, with several shows I saw at Seoul Fashion Week, I would get excited about some great pieces. At pushBUTTON, however, the brilliance was in the distance, I found myself getting excited about just about every look that strolled down the runway. Funky, colorful, and cohesive while maintaining an air of uniqueness. Were I a fashion buyer, I’d be in trouble. That’s what I loved about pushBUTTON. As if my word weren’t proof enough, pushBUTTON’s collection was named one of the best of the season, further establishing their global presence!
Candied stripes and colors filled the venue, with boxy cuts, and willowy drapes. The whole thing felt like a perfect summer day. The day where you hold hands with someone you love, and cruise in a drop top with the sun kissing your shoulders. Where you were headed exactly, God only knows; a music festival, a beach, a club that has you waitlisted for a month before you can even get in, or dinner at that lovely little restaurant on the coast you’ve always wanted to try, perhaps. Either way, the cozy, cool pieces from pushBUTTON would easily take you to the next level.
Gold pants? Check. Baby blue, updated, pussy-bow blouse. Check. Green jumper with just the right amount of side boob action for the ultra daring? Check. Sheer lavender midi dress you didn’t know you needed, but totally do? Check. The crimson ultra wide-leg pant that will have you sashaying down the street? Check. I could go on, but you get the idea.
The retro references, modern cuts and lovely color palette created the perfect distance. The type of woman who will wear this collection may be your very best friend, and your closest confidant, however, the minute she puts on pushBUTTON, she’s so cool that she’s practically untouchable, and miles above the rest.
Slits, slants, and structured beauty. That’s the collection that presented itself for Nohke’s Spring/Summer 2017 year, and it was positively riveting. I sat, barely contained in my seat, watching the models stroll by, easily carrying the cleverly designed pieces that elegantly draped their forms. Bold, and riveting, and undoubtedly one of the best. As if I weren’t already expert enough, Nohke’s designer, MiSun Jung, won an award for being one of the top 10 collections presenting at Seoul Fashion Week. Her inspiration was walking at night, a notion easily found in both the utter romance, and the fluid movement in her collection.
Nohke’s collection from Seoul’s most recent Fashion Week, was by far, one of my absolute favorites, especially for womenswear. The menswear collections at Seoul Fashion Week have by far dominated, in terms of innovation, silhouettes, and general fanciful colors and patterns. As such, to see such innovation in womenswear was a breath of fresh air. From the mature color palette, utilizing primary and secondary colors paired with dove neutrals helped the ready-to-wear collection feel all the more accessible to the fashion types making their presence known at Dongdaemun Design Plaza(Seoul Fashion Week’s residence).
Granted, where does one wear such a collection?
My answer? Anywhere. While we got to see sharp tailoring, boxy silhouettes, and the occasional brazen color, each piece was intimately wearable. Bold. Stylish. Unique. Really, that’s what I felt this collection was about. With the slits, we got to experience bits of femininity exposed. I thought it was wildly romantic, to flirt with what you care to show of yourself, and that which you care not to expose and share that with an ever-captive audience. After all, isn’t the world always watching? I suppose that’s a story for another day. Suffice it to say, Sphinx was impressed. And can we talk about that fabulous, boxy, modern answer to the ever classic motorcycle jacket, if I ever saw one?!!! J’adore!
With the colors, pulling from the pure strength of primary colors, as other collections this season seemed fond of doing, primary red, yellow, and blue found themselves anchoring Nohke’s collection. From a foundation of pure and unadulterated color, designer MiSun Jung was able to offer stability and subtlety in using ice white, dove gray, silver, and black, while maintaining interest by introducing shades of olive green, sun-bleached khaki.
Consistently, the Nohke collection dared to challenge traditionally feminine silhouettes with the notion of exposure. I thoroughly enjoyed watching this collection walk the runway, and can’t wait to continue watching how Nohke’s designer, MiSun Jung, develops her collections on the runway, and on the increasing international eyes watching in restless anticipation.
Tailored art. That’s the collection Songzio(송지오) that presented itself at Seoul Fashion Week, while I watched intrigued from the front row. The collection was among some of my favorites, showing primarily menswear that ventured from relaxed to tailored, and bold to subdued.
Despite the clear juxtapositions, the collection was beautifully made, complementing each outfit to stroll down the runway. Fashion designer, Zio Song, while not making particularly wild or crazy silhouettes, did manage to play with proportions, interesting details that nipped at the male waist ever-so-slightly, colors, and patterns in a way that made the show memorable, and the clothes wearable even for the less daring man or woman wanting a contemporary suit.
We saw the black, white and navy colors, ever-present and ever-resilient in menswear. Zio Song did break up the predictable palette for contemporary suiting by also incorporating lively colors such as aqua, primary blue, emerald green, and the occasional yellow. The patterns were not only striking in contemporary menswear, but also refreshingly bold for contemporary women’s suiting as well. Paint strokes, jagged lines, and a green dominated print with such brilliant strokes that it abstracted itself into spring foliage by a quick glance of the eye were a few of the several prints presented. Add to that some easy-breezy knits, the brightly splattered outwear being an answer for that transitional spring weather, and the collection has rounded itself out quite nicely.
As for silhouettes, the long mandarin collar button ups, and long flowing tunics paired nicely with the wide leg pants that found themselves strolling down the runway. I quite enjoyed how the pants were not merely cut wide, but also had such pleating details reminiscent of a school uniform skirt, the effect was different, however, given the soft and pliable nature of the summer-weight fabrics used. Also, as to further emphasize this push in the menswear in particular, the slightly sheer fabrics in some of the looks leaned towards a unisexuality almost. Fabrics and even details normally reserved for womenswear took a stand at the Songzio show, and a great one at that.
Question: What do you do when the shoes you want don’t exist in your size? Answer: Start a label that seeks to remedy that, boldly at that. Emerging shoe designer, NiK Kacy, just worked their way into the scene with a stunning line of shoes that scream sexy, cool, and confident, and speaks across the sexes and gender norms, presenting at Rainbow Fashion Week, and took a moment to speak with me!
S: So, NiK, I’m seeing gorgeous shoes that you’ve designed, so far only flats? Is that your niche?
N: The first collection is masculine centered and inspired. Basically, I started with what I’ve always wanted. What I’ve always wanted were more masculine shoes that fit my feet. But, spending all of my life going to stores and being told they don’t have my size, because I’m always one size too small for the male shoe, just made me realize how under represented we were, as a community, as a people, and how we identify.
S: Who is someone you draw inspiration from?
N: There are many people I draw inspiration from on a daily basis, and general basis. In life, love and all I do, I draw from my family who raised me – mainly my grandmother, mom and (step)father. They instilled in me the belief in working hard, never cutting corners and to always
strive for excellence in everything I do. They also taught me to treat others with love, kindness and generosity.
I also draw a lot of my personal and professional inspiration from the wonderful friends in my life. Friends like dapperQ’s 2016 top 100 Most Dapper fashionista Mindy Dawn Friedman and androgynous model Mack Dihle who are so genuine in their approach to their respective crafts while using their influence to help increase visibility for our community. Of course, being a queer designer and passionately active in my community, I am surrounded by many peers who inspire me each day who work in all sorts of fields that make up our beautiful community. I feel very blessed to be part of the movement we are in right now. We’ve come a long way and we have much more to go but I believe in us and together we will make a positive impact and create positive change.
S: So, how did you get started?
N: I went to Europe, I set out to learn how to get into the shoe industry.
S: That’s incredible! You, just went after it.
N: Yeah, I went to shoe factories, and tanneries, and all different manufacturers of all the different places that make shoes. Then I found myself an agent, and I started designing.
N: So, when I sat down to first design, I designed every shoe I’ve ever wanted.
S: I feel like that’s what we do as designers, we design from what we’ve always wanted, the voids we’ve seen.
S: So, that’s beautiful. I totally identify. It’s hard to find a good pair of flats that are more masculine, or dressy in way that’s not overtly “feminine.” Or, even a nice pair of oxfords, because God knows, I’ve looked.
N: The whole concept is about making something for everybody. Not just masculine presenting, but everyone. All of my sizing is for everyone. It doesn’t matter what gender you are, or how you identify, you should be able to fit in my shoes. I started with a size US 3 1/2 Women’s, all the way to a US Men’s 14. That’s the range I’m going with. As I can develop more, I’ll do a wider range, but for now, that’s a very big range already. No other shoe company, I believe, does that range.
S: Had you done any [fashion] design work before you decided to start designing shoes?
N: No. My background is in art, fine arts. I was a painter and sculptor, and I did graphic design. So, I’ve definitely always been a creative. But, I knew nothing about fashion design. I knew what I liked, so I just drew whatever I liked. And now, I’m actually working on my next collection, which is feminine centered. It will be high heels, also flats. The masculine styles that I will be making will have more height in the heel with more of a feminine touch…
S: Will it be similar to creepers, that have added height to menswear shoes the past few seasons?
N: It will be more about the heel. Like flamenco dancers. Very sexy and sensual, but androgynous. They will be very gender equal, very gender neutral, and very androgynous. And the high heels are going to be inspired by this concept of combining the gender identities and making something that you should be able to wear no matter who you are.
S: I noticed your show employed models of varying sexualities, races, and genders. It was very refreshing to see such diversity on a runway, and lack of diversity and underrepresentation in the Fashion Industry is something I stress on my blog. As a Person of Color, did you cast your models with the intention of representing so many spectrums of people?
N: Absolutely! As a triple-threat minority (as I like to call it), being Asian-female born-trans/queer person, I have always felt it was important to represent all different types of people. my footwear line is the epitome of this belief as I created a gender-equal line for all identities. On the runway, I wanted my shoes to be worn by human beings from all across the spectrum – whether it be age, color, gender, body shape and size, sexuality – it’s all about body positivity and how we need to remember to celebrate all that makes us beautiful in our own unique way. Our tagline – walk your way – means exactly that… we want everyone to be able to walk their own way in our shoes. Together, I believe we can all walk together and make a positive change in our world.
S: With your stress on beautiful and inclusion-centered design, do you find yourself evolving or restructuring ideas of masculinity, femininity and gender-fluidity as you interact with and get responses from clients about their needs as well?
N: as I build my business, I’ve had the pleasure of meeting so many people who, like me, have also lived their lives feeling under-represented by the fashion industry. Because of these relationships I’ve built along the way, I have also evolved in the way I want to create my brand and products. In truth, I’ve actually also experienced a shift in my own identity, and what makes me most authentic. A lot of it has to do with my own transition and growth into my authentic body. In the beginning there was a lot of pressure to choose a pronoun. I felt a bit forced to have to take on a specific gender or have to leave behind a former one. However, having been exposed to so many different shades of queers, I learned that its ok to allow myself to push back from the peer and societal pressures and be comfortable being all the various parts that make up who I am. I will never leave behind my lesbian community because that is a huge part of my herstory and make up the person that I am today. I love how the Queer community has grown into so many colors of the spectrum, although sometimes I feel it can be confusing and stressful for folks to understand. And though I am a strong proponent of diminishing the segregation that exists in the LGBTQ community, I also respect all the various groups within the community. I believe that ultimately the greatest part of who we are is that we are all humans. Making my shoes and accessories allows people of all identities to not only choose how they can best express themselves authentically but also to feel that they matter.
Seriously, my loves, I am drooling over these shoes and the courage that came from the designer that created them. Brands that go beyond design, and seek to represent the underrepresented. I love it, and can’t wait to see this designer grow. NiK Kacy is definitely a designer to watch. You can buy their shoes at NikKacy.com, and follow the shoe journey on Insta: @NiKKacyFootwear
There’s the slightest chill in the air in New York, and after Summer’s brutal Hail Mary in her last days, Fall is finally here. And why, exactly, does that matter? Well, aside from the obvious Pumpkin Spice Fanatics trolling around The City, it also means NYFW has come, and gone. Now that endless fashion parties have jumped continents, and the countless sponsors have followed, there’s finally time to really dwell on the shows of the season. And while there is a sea of opinion amongst mag editors, newspaper journalists and bloggers still raving about their favs from NYFW, I’d rather discuss the underdogs. Actually, the underdogs of the typical underdogs. Instead of the new kids on the block, I’d rather discuss the ones who came to the block with a little help from their friends, and generous tuition payments.
Academy of Art University celebrated it’s 10th year anniversary for their appearance at New York Fashion Week, showcasing the latest talent the college has to offer. While there were some great pieces in every capsule collection presented, I fell for the clean details, and immaculate presentation of Merzhad Hemati’s graduate collection.
I’ve worked in fashion long enough to get bored all too easily. Hyper-commercialization has dampened the span of creativity in many an artist. However, that’s a rant for another day. Suffice it to say, that this monochrome collection offers mature structure and order, to a season typically marked by youthful frivolity. Hemati’s eye for design is evident, as captures all 3 dimensions and hangs them harmoniously on the female form. In a collection marked by lines that pull the eye away from said female form, Hemati manages to still imply femininity and movement by expertly draping and manipulating the form. Echoes of menswear bounce throughout the collection, and still, Hemati’s use of menswear elements seems to imply that, though inspired, women still do it better. The clothing is easily wearable, broken down into parts for that Wall Street Darling looking for a bit of structured badass in her wardrobe, or worn together for a woman who seeks to unapologetically draw the eye. Either way, I’m sold.