The first Seoul 365 Fashion Show was held at Seoul Plaza on May 7.
Having begun as a folk costume fashion show that featured ambassadors to Korea and their families, the Seoul 365 Fashion Show is expected to be held over 100 times by November this year. The show will use the parks, plazas, pedestrian sidewalks, and famous attractions of Seoul, such as Cheonggyecheon Stream, as its runways, transforming the entire city into an “everyday fashion capital.”
The first Seoul 365 Fashion Show featured ambassadors to Korea from approximately 30 countries and their families, who introduced their traditional attire in a fashion show format. The professional, runway-model-style walking of the ambassadors and their families was a delight for Seoul residents to see.
|Folk costume fashion show (Zambia)||Folk costume fashion show|
On June 2, a unique fashion show was held at the new crosswalk located between the new government complex and the Seoul City Council building, causing many citizens to literally stop in their tracks. Held as one of the programs of the Seoul 365 Fashion Show, this event was a kind of pop-up crosswalk runway!
Using a crosswalk in Seoul as their runway, 30 ordinary citizens who aspire to be professional models wore the creations of Seoul Fashion Week designers, including Chang Kwang Hyo, Myoung Yoo Suk, Hong Hye Jin, and Kwon Munsoo.
Although the runway existed only as long as the green pedestrian signal (40 seconds), the crosswalk runway provided Seoul residents and tourists with some much-needed, light-hearted entertainment while highlighting the rising popularity of Korean fashion worldwide.
|Seoul 365 Fashion Show||Aspiring models participating in the Seoul 365 Fashion Show|
In Seoul, any place where residents can gather is a potential runway.
In May 2016, Jungnangcheon Rose Tunnel, where tens of thousands of roses were in full bloom, became the fashion show runway for the 2016 Seoul Rose Festival. The festival was held based on a hanbok dress code, and featured a hanbok fashion show and palace attire experience that allowed visitors to both see and feel the beauty of the traditional Korean hanbok against a backdrop of roses.
|Rose Fashion Show||Citizens watching the Rose Fashion Show|
The Seoul 365 Fashion Show is not only about hosting uniquely themed fashion shows for people to see and enjoy—it also offers opportunities for participation by companies that aim to create jobs for young people. The fashion show gives aspiring models who are majoring in fashion modeling or have graduated from a modeling school, but have not yet had a chance to debut as professional models, an opportunity to debut at an actual fashion show. In conjunction with Seoul’s New Deal job program, selected models receive approximately four months of model training and the opportunity to walk down 50 different runways.
As participating models receive a special certification from Seoul Metropolitan Government (SMG), the Seoul 365 Fashion Show is a great way for them to begin their professional careers.
|Recruiting ad for fashion models to serve as representatives of SMG||Backstage at the Seoul 365 Fashion Show|
The models that participated in last year’s festival included a father of two in his 30s, a law school graduate, a hip-hop dancer with eight years of experience, and a student model for Seoul National University—all of whom rose to the challenge of realizing their dream to become fashion models.
“I was so nervous and excited about finally achieving my dream to become a model, which I had forgotten about for over 10 years. After putting my kids to bed, I practiced walking each night in the living room.”
-Park Jung-hoon, dad model for Seoul 365 Fashion Show
The Seoul 365 Fashion Show features its own brands but also gives special opportunities to up-and-coming designers who are unable to host their own fashion shows due to financial constraints.
Selected through an application-screening process, the designers are provided an outdoor catwalk as well as the necessary equipment, models, and hair and makeup staff, thereby substantial reducing the cost of holding a fashion show. In addition, videos and photos of the fashion show are given to each designer for promotional use in the future, and their creations featured at the fashion shows are displayed and sold to Seoul residents at an open bazaar, giving the designers an invaluable chance to become financially self-sufficient.
|Both established and up-and-coming designers participate in the Mentor-Mentee Fashion Show.||Designers participating in the Seoul 365 Fashion Show|
Numerous individuals from the fashion world volunteer their services to ensure the success of the fashion shows, including rising designers, designers who have won awards at fashion contests (e.g. JFDA Fashion Design Contest), and star designers such as Kwak Hyun Joo, Kang Dong-Jun, Ko Taeyong, Chang Kwang Hyo, and Hong Hye Jin.
The established designers each have the same reason for participating in the Seoul 365 Fashion Show—to help university students who aspire to be fashion designers. By acting as mentors throughout the fashion show planning process, they show their young protégés that being a designer is not a “midsummer night’s dream” but a way to become a “main character” on the runway.
The Seoul 365 Fashion Show is held in various local business districts throughout the city, such as G Valley, Gwangjang Market’s hanbok section, Sinchon and Ewha fashion and beauty districts, Seongsu-dong handmade shoe district, and special, prospective social economy zones that are experiencing financial difficulties. By hosting fashion shows, fashion bazaars, and cultural performances all in the same space, the events helps revitalize the local economies of these commercial districts.
|Cultural performance at the Seoul 365 Fashion Show||The Seoul 365 Fashion Show is helping revive local economies.|
For example, fashion shows are hosted based on the themes of national holidays (e.g. Hangeul Day and Hanbok Day), and various programs are offered that aim to establish dialogues with Seoul residents on issues related to fashion (e.g. ethical fashion, socially revolutionary design, eco-friendly fashion shows, upcycling, and reformed/altered clothing fashion show). In addition, plans are currently being drawn up to hold uniquely themed guerilla fashion shows, which are becoming incredibly popular these days, in public places frequented regularly by large numbers of Seoul residents (e.g. subway stations, new crosswalks, etc.).
With such runways being created by and for residents, Seoul is making a name for itself as a leading “street fashion city” in Asia and around the world.
The Seoul 365 Fashion Show not only supports the fashion industry by cultivating aspiring designers and models and revitalizing fashion districts, but also offers Seoul’s residents and tourists new kinds of culture and tourism content to enjoy. Furthermore, the Seoul 365 Fashion Show is expected to promote Seoul as an Asian fashion hub by pioneering the globalization of K-fashion.