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When New York Fashion Week returned to the runways final thirty day period, South Korean trend designers been given a slew of global protection. But, for the country’s jewellery designers, it is a distinctive tale entirely. While govt company Kocca promotes South Korean industries this sort of as trend, audio and gaming, very little similar appears to be in location for the country’s jewellers.
The consequence is a putting absence of visibility. No South Korean jewellery individuals were at the Italian intercontinental jewelry exhibition Vicenzaoro, jogging at the very same time as NYFW. Korean jewellery exhibitors have been also absent from this week’s Parisian components reasonable Premiere Classe, coinciding with Paris Vogue Week.
This kind of a absence of illustration usually means that it is difficult to uncover Korean jewelry designers, which renders them far more or less unseen in this competitive intercontinental marketplace. Purchasers say quite a few Asian nations around the world motivate them to grow to be superior acquainted with the perform of their designers — for instance, by means of visits — but not South Korea.
But overlooking South Korean jewellery designers usually means lacking out on function that can mix innovation and intricacy, modern day and conventional.
“Korean jewelry is essentially easy, modern-day and trendy,” claims Josslyn Lee, chief government and inventive director for Los Angeles-based mostly branding organization Inflaty Creation. “Compared to other nations, [it] is much more concentrated on facts that enable designers to meet up with their customers’ ‘easy to style’ expertise.”
Lee retains an eye on well-known jewellers in South Korea in order to establish chances for homegrown makes to do perfectly abroad.
Korean actors these kinds of as Han Ye-seul, Shin Se-kyung, Shin Min-a and Music Hye-Kyo assist promote homegrown makes, she notes. “These famous people are renowned as style trendsetters and their jewelry styling is seriously well-liked.”
In South Korea, in which K-Pop and K-Vogue rule, the country’s love of a further sort of accessory — foreign handbags — looks to have overshadowed homegrown solutions. There is even a committed handbag museum in Gangnam, which is household to a million-dollar collection of overseas-designed baggage.
Similarly, the Earth Jewelry Museum in Seoul capabilities types from Africa, Asia and Europe, but South Korean designers are hardly talked about.
“Korean jewellery is not properly marketed at international jewellery gatherings, fairs or demonstrates,” says Laura Barringer, a manner purchaser for higher-finish US retailer Ben Bridge Jeweler. “Most of the Asian international locations with which I work have trade organisations that call us to introduce opportunity suppliers/designers/artisans.”
The lack of an formal promotional hard work has prompted some designers to fly the flag for South Korean jewellery by themselves. Designer Myungji Ye introduced her Yemyungji brand name of gold knitted jewellery in 1998 and, following successful numerous awards, expanded by opening a shop in Beverly Hills — in addition to her principal outlet in Gangnam.
Her work has also caught the eye of Lauren Kulchinsky Levison, curator of collections at the Mayfair Rocks boutique in The Hamptons, Prolonged Island.
Meanwhile, Korean menswear designer Youngmi Woo — a Paris Fashion 7 days regular — has jewelry strategies of her very own, under her label, Wooyoungmi. “Most jewelry brand names in Korea tend to be feminine, kitsch and there are number of brand names for males,” she says. “I want to build a genderless and higher-finish silver jewelry collection with the signature design of Wooyoungmi.”
Some young Korean jewellers have created a dwelling in Britain. Designer-maker Yeena Yoon, who studied architecture and labored for firms like Zaha Hadid Architects, is based mostly at The Goldsmiths’ Centre, a British isles charity for the teaching of goldsmiths and other jewellers.
She uses silver, gold, platinum and pearl, as well as semi-valuable and treasured stones and “fuses modern day and common strategies to develop exclusive items with a minimal and sculptural aesthetic”. Her signature Covet line at initially appears to be a person piece, but its factors can be separated to have on as individual pieces of jewellery.
“I assume there is a market place for any jeweller with an appealing structure and craftsmanship,” she suggests. “Korean present-day jewellers do have both traits, and I can previously see their functions remaining observed in worldwide jewellery communities.”
But they appear to move overseas to get observed. Misun Gained, a South Korean jeweller primarily based in Scotland, says her do the job is affected by equally Korean and British cultures. “For the silver collections, I fuse [a] slim layer of 24ct gold onto the silver area, applying procedure identified as kumboo, which is an ancient Korean gilding approach,” she claims. “Another major inspiration for me is Korean patchwork, but this remarkably regular type is interpreted via fractal geometry.”