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Korean designers make a splash in Italy

Young Korean designers caught the eyes of fashion hunters at a prestigious Italian menswear trade show, receiving large orders and an offer of store space.

Three menswear clothing brands ― Bastong, Westage and Instantology ― and eyewear brand grafik plastic showcased their designs to international buyers and press during Pitti Uomo, the world’s largest menswear trade show, from June 18-21 in Florence, Italy.

The total amount of orders is expected to be $270,000, according to the Korea Creative Content Agency, which provided financial and logistics support for the Korean designers at the tradeshow. The amount, not fixed yet, is based on tentative paper deals signed during the four-day fashion event. Buyers decide which items to buy at the end of a fashion season after rounds of fashion weeks in Milan, Paris and New York. 
Ji Il-geun, head designer of menswear brand Instantology, makes a fit adjustment for celebrated buyer Nick Wooster. (Korea Creative Content Agency)
Ji Il-geun, head designer of menswear brand Instantology, makes a fit adjustment for celebrated buyer Nick Wooster. (Korea Creative Content Agency)

The menswear brand Instantology was offered space at multi-label showroom Livia Gregoretti in Milan. The show room, which functions as a wholesale store for buyers, is displaying selected items of the brand during the Milan Fashion Week this week. Milan menswear collections kicked off on June 23.

“It’s big achievement for Korean designers because it’s usually hard to sign a deal with buyers on their first showcase at a tradeshow. It usually takes three seasons to sell their products,” said Kang So-hyun, in charge of the program that supports emerging designers at global trade shows at Korea Creative Content Agency.

Ji Il-geun, head designer of Instantology, said the fashion tradeshow was a great opportunity for young designers to test their brands and styles. While his brand has been participating in international fashion trade shows for three years, it was only last year that he began to receive orders.

He thinks he needs three to four more years to position his brand in the international market.

“I think I am getting closer to the global market, but I still need some more time to understand what the market we are targeting truly wants and what it takes to meet their demands,” Ji said on the phone Tuesday.

By Lee Woo-young  (wylee@heraldcorp.com)
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