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Korea Aims to Become a Global Fashion Leader Updated: 2011-05-12 00:00:00 KST

Thanks for staying with us.
Let's talk about fashion.
Being called a fashionista or a fashion leader is probably one of those compliments we all want to get.
And, for the latest in the pret-a-porter, most of us look to Paris, or Milan or New York.
But, soon Busan may become another keyword in fashion.
Korea's fashion industry grows nearly five percent annually and its consumer demand in garment market remains at its steady hike, thanks to its fast-paced economic recovery from the global recession.
The nation aims to become one of the leading fashion cities in the world by hosting a various big fashion expo such as Busan's Pret-a-Porter, displaying the fall and winter collections of designers from home and abroad.
And Arirang News correspondent Yang Ji-woo joins us in the studio to tells us more about Korea's booming fashion industry.


Hi Ji-woo, so you were at the Busan Pret-a-Porter 2011 collections[Reporter : ] Hi, guys. Yes, that's right.
Busan is an absolutely fantasic city. If you haven't visited the area before, it is a must-go place.
Traditionally, Korea's southern Gyeongsang province has been well known for its robust textile business, which was hit hard during the global recession. But now its fashion and garment businesses are thriving bolstering the nation's trade and economy.
Let's take a close look.

With an estimated 28 billion US dollar apparel market in 2011, Korea has recently experienced a roughly four to five percent annual growth in its fashion segment.
Korea's continuing growth in its fashion industry is seen as evidence of the country's role as an international fashion hub and the main driver of booming fashion and cultural trade in the Asia-Pacific region.


[Interview : Lee Jae-yeon, CEO
Modelline] " Now we are in an era where fashion is not only limited to the garment business, but can be linked to the visual arts industry. And Korea does not have any natural resources, does it[Interview : Aguri Sagimori, Japanese designer] "Using the theme "Peeling Garment," I tried to portray the impression of the clothing being pulled off by imaginary hands from the back of a person, depicted through ornaments placed on top of shoulders.

An Australian artist duo currently based in Shenzhen, China says, the event meets global standards in both preparation and business opportunity.


[Interview : Kain Picken, Australian Designer
FFIXXED] "It is a younger event, and I think it seems like it is going to grow into a proper international circuit kind of event. And actually we never intended to do fashion labels. We decided working together making some objects, and those ideas developed into a fashion line and the themes of the collections very much follow our life-style and different projects that we are working on."

The married couple also said that Asia's evolving fashion industry is very rapid and exciting while many global labels, including more high-end productions, are keeping their eyes near the big market.
The ready-to-wear collections have also enticed those on and off the runway to indulge in fashion.
Busan is more commonly known as a resort city, yet it is using its charm to woo models and fashion bigwigs, as well as a local audience.


[Interview : Kim Young-ran, Venue visitor] "I have been hearing often that Busan really is an international city and by coming to the venue and see how it operates I could feel that it lives up to its name."


[Interview : Ma ju-ri, Model] "Every year is very different. When Busan hosts these shows, seats are always filled with an audience. They are very responsive here."

Once there was a pervasive ailment in the global fashion industry that all things related to Korea were equivalent to being "rural" or "lagging behind" the fashion powerhouses of Paris, New York and Tokyo."
And indeed, it seems it is still difficult for local designers and runway collection organizers to encourage the global fashion industry to recognize domestic labels and designs in just one night.
Yet, a sign of positive momentum has begun both at home and abroad.


[Interview : ] "Foreign perspectives of Korean fashion have changed so much recently. Foreign press and buyers recognize Korea as very dynamic, and have great expectations for us. So, if local designers can express their own distinctive characters, I definitely believe that this can lead into truly a value-added industry in terms of trade and business.


[Interview : ] "Korea itself has a very unique and interesting take on fashion, for example, cuts and fabrics they use and the color patterns, these are just a few interesting and unique elements that Korean fashion brings to the fashion industry and I definitely think it has an influence on not only Asia but a global fashion scene."

With rave reviews from all facets of the global fashion arena, Korea is expected to become a fashion leader as well as a global fashion hub in the near future.


[Reporter :
ed:mark] "The pret-a-porter phenomenon is rather different to traditional classical fashion, but experts say that this value-added fashion industry or "the democratization of fashion" is the right move for Korea's fast-paced culture and economy.



So, not only is there more international flavor in Korean fashion industry but I hear through these shows and more more Korean designers get to showcase their designs to the rest of the world.

[Reporter : ] Absolutely, some of those local designers are thriving in this segment, depicting their unique and chic designs in runways.

Alright, Ji-woo. Thanks so much for that report.
[Reporter : ] Thanks for having me.
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