It is not news that the world wants in on the Korean wave. Men’s Folio Features Editor Wei Jian’s picks feature international model Sang Woo Kim, key player at the Seoul Fashion Week, Blindness, and North Korean festival Arirang.
Sang Woo Kim (above)
British-Korean model Sang Woo Kim’s credentials include strutting the runways of Dolce & Gabbana, Vivienne Westwood, and Dries Van Noten, fronting campaigns for Diesel, DKNY, and Armani, and appearing in numerous fashion editorials, including MF’s very own cover. Besides making slit eyes sexy, the 22-year-old former fine arts student from Central Saint Martins recently made his debut with a solo exhibition in Berlin. Titled “If you see me now you don’t”, it’s a personal project that explores his experiences with cultural identity and current affairs via mixed media paintings.
The Arirang mass games is basically a synchronised socialist-realist spectacular, featuring over 100,000 participants in a 90-minute display of gymnastics, dance, acrobatics and dramatic performance, all wrapped up in a highly politicised package. The mass mobilisation and perfect coordination of an annual event at such a scale is probably only something an authoritarian regime can do, making it a not-to-be-missed surreal fantasy to culminate an already arresting tour of North Korea.
Founded in 2013 by Shin Kyu-Yong and his partner Park Ji-Sun, Blindness is one of the unanimous standouts of Seoul Fashion Week thanks to its wonderfully unisex collection heavily based on womenswear trends. Its starting point for Spring/Summer 2017 was the film The Danish Girl, but they subvert the precious androgyny prevailing trend in fashion with hard-core streetwear and fetishist undertones – from mesh hoodies to embellished harnesses to trousers slashed at the thighs.
Hailed as a rising star of the Asian art world, Gwon is most famous for his photo-collage sculptures, which often depict models in poses typically found in contemporary advertisements and magazines. His association with fashion is not limited to inspiration, however, as he regularly collaborates with various high-profile brands – his sculptures have appeared in Wooyoungmi’s ad campaign, and most recently in the window display of Hermès’s flagship in Sydney.
Jimin is the lead vocalist and dancer of the hottest rising Korean boy band, BTS (also known as “Bangtan Boys”, they’re the highest ranking Korean act on Billboard 200 and regularly smash YouTube view records with each new single). Beneath his cherubic mien is a rock-hard body that he loves to flaunt, and till today, his 2014 MAMA performance – where he famously ripped his shirt off and strutted the stage with a white fur coat and washboard abs – remains one of the most iconic moments in K-pop.