The Selects: K-design on the rise – New York Fashion Week

In the world of design, references to certain countries or regions can be a sort of lazy descriptor. ‘German design’ indicates rigor and efficiency; ‘Japanese design’ signals intricate minimalism; and ‘Scandinavian design’ suggests unfussy, nature-derived practicality. The fact that a German designer is no less capable of minimalism than a Japanese designer is of efficiency is beside the point: over time, and no doubt through the lens of cultural stereotype, certain groups come to occupy specific spaces in the popular aesthetic imagination.

This well-curated presentation of 10 emerging labels makes a compelling case that ‘Korean design’ is – or soon will be – shorthand for comfortable, accessible clothing tailored to make anyone look good in any setting.


Unisex labels SWBD and NOHANT push the frontiers of inclusive design beyond neutered casuals or menswear for women. Both SWBD’s wide-legged trousers and NOHANT’s piped rompers are tailored to quiet perfection, with subtle gathering and pleating to suit a range of body types. Womenswear label WNDERKAMMER’s eco-friendly design extends not only to the natural fibers used, but also to the generous proportions that let the body breathe and move. HEOHWAN SIMULATION offers deceptively simple silhouettes in mostly monochromatic hues and luxe fabrics. LIE’s playful cuts and flirty patterns are the right kind of carnivalesque – joyful, but more acrobat than clown.

With the global dominance of K-beauty and K-pop showing no signs of slowing down, here’s hoping that ‘K-design’, led by rising stars such as these, will soon take its place among the geographic signifiers.

Photos: The Selects – New York Fashion Week Spring 2020
all photos by Andie Davis / Meniscus Magazine


Full list of designers shown:

Beyond Closet (Tae Yong Ko)
BMUET(TE) (Byungmun Seo and Jina Um)
Hidden Forest Market (Ji Hyun Hwang and Sung Jun Cho)
KYE (Kathleen Kye)
LEYII (Seunghee Lee)
LIE (Chung Chung Lee)
NOHANT (Noah Nam)
SWBD (Sewing Boundaries) (Dong Ho Ha)
WNDERKAMMER (Hye Young Shin)