Seoul Fashion Week: What Does Sheer Say About You?



Designer Jain Song calls sheer black net “like a negative space, a non-material,” which might explain why there was so much of it during the recent Seoul Fashion Week. But Song finished her show with a floor-length black sheer dress layered over white boy-shorts, under gracefully geometric vest combining fringe and curved forms. “I just wanted to focus on this and not worry about the rest,” she says. “So, I chose a material that would seem to disappear.” Fur and leather, trends in Seoul, were conspicuously absent in Song’s show. And while Song doesn’t necessarily advocate an anti-fur viewpoint (although does use a lot of animal images, like the foxy familiar on her tee-shirts) many Stella McCartney faux-leather bags could be spotted in the front row at her catwalk show.

Song is one of the young designers including Troa’s Han Song and Hong Hyejin of Studio K who have inherited fashion genes from a designer mother. And like Hyejin and Ranji Yeoung of up-and-coming label The Centaur, Song studied art first, making sculpture in Seoul before training at Parsons. Yeoung attributes the trend for sheer as a reaction against Korean culture’s discomfort with candor. “There are always layers of meaning and people are very scared of direct statements,” she suggests. “Maybe, the trend for layers of sheer fabric is a response to the cultural reality.” For Song, by contrast, sheer’s inspiration is all aesthetic. “Negative space is a strong part of Asian art,” she says. “And for me, art is always my foundation.”