Since the late 2010s, Korean menswear brands have been pervading the menswear world, leaving an imprint that is showing no signs of fading away anytime soon. It could be argued that menswear and fashion were in transitional places in the mid-to-late 2010s, especially in terms of streetwear and urban style. Japanese purveyors like WTAPS and Neighborhood had lost their buzz in the west, Nigo had left A Bathing Ape in 2013, Supreme was acquired by a large consortium — the tastemakers that the scene had relied on for so long were becoming somewhat stale and predictable. Folks were either gravitating toward more avant-garde offerings from brands like Needles and Kapital, a blend of neo-Ivy, Normcore, and workwear styles, or entering some sort of high fashion arc. Hard tech wear had also bedded itself into the urban zeitgeist in the mid-2010s, a sartorial matter that was potently compounded by the Pandemic.
In retrospect, the South Korean wave was, and still is, the effervescent tablet that the menswear world needed. It contains brands that fit anywhere in the menswear Venn diagram. Gorp, Techwear, Heritage and Vintage style, Widecore, Ivy and prep — you name it, there’s a South Korean label doing it. And doing it well, at an accessible price point.
In this article, we’ll be looking at some of the most prominent and exciting South Korean clothing brands, the ethical context of South Korean manufacturing, and potential reasons why these brands can operate at lower price points. If you’ve noticed the rise in brands from this part of the world and wanted to know more, this is the article for you.
This article is part of our paid membership program, Heddels+ that includes:
- Up to 20% discounts at select brands and retailers
- 2+ exclusive articles per week
- 2+ product giveaways per month
- No ads on Heddels.com
- Keeping our mission at Heddels alive