When it comes to cool, cultishly-adored Korean imports, beauty products tend to steal the spotlight (as do Kpop stars). But starting today, a range of very cool Korean fashion labels are cropping up in a number of Nordstrom locations, as part of the department store's ongoing Pop-In series. This installment, which is dubbed KFashion, includes an array of eight Korean designers: Kye, Hyein Seo, J Koo, SJYP, Yune Ho, Kuho, Suecomma Bonnie, and Neul.
"There is so much to talk about with Korean style, whether it's apparel, accessories or beauty, and it felt like the right opportunity to tell a broader story for our customers," Olivia Kim, Nordstrom's vice president of creative projects, told Refinery29. The idea came about in fall 2016, and Kim and her team began considering collections when they were perusing the market in October; prior to that, Kim says her team has been following the talents showcased at Seoul Fashion Week for some time now. First, the department store worked on a partnership Korean sunglasses brand Gentle Monster that hit select stores in January (along with a wide range of Korean beauty products), which was the impetus for a larger, multi-brand Korean fashion range.
"We wanted to have a range of collections," Kim explained of the curated selection. "Some are edgier, some are super feminine, and some are really pushing trend boundaries; each had its own voice and spread the spectrum of what our customers are looking for." The Pop-In also marks the U.S. debut of two of the brands featured, Kuho and Neul. "People crave new and there is a constant hunger for what’s next: Part of what we try to do with Pop-In is take forward ideas like Korean fashion, and propagate it back to our customers in a more digestible way that encourages them to come explore, have fun, engage with it," Kim said.
For Kim, a particularly notable brand discovery was J Koo, which she ran across while in Seoul for the runway shows: "Jinwoo, half of J Koo's design duo, presented and walked us through the collection, and he had the most adorable dog who followed us all around the showroom," Kim said. "I was in love! I’m really obsessed with a couple Korean dog Instagrams right now, so this was a highlight for me."
Besides discovering new designers in Seoul, Kim was floored by the local street style. "It’s incredible how they are able to take a trend and embrace it, absorb it and run with it until they move on to something else," she said. To wit: Kim noticed a lot of corset detailing donned by Seoul street style stars, and among the Kye offerings in the KFashion Pop-In, there are "amazing sweatshirts and tank tops that have corsets in them." As for other Seoul street style trends, Kim noted that "transparent or sheer materials, whether it’s lace or mesh, was also big," and you'll see that reflected in the Pop-In.
Prices range from $45 to $640 for KFashion's offerings, which are currently available online at the following Nordstrom stores until May 7th: Seattle; Bellevue, Wash.; Dallas; Los Angeles; Chicago; Vancouver; and Toronto. In addition to a range of cool-girl Korean fashion labels, the Pop-In has edible and skin-centric items in store, such as DIY kimchi kits, vegetable-themed plush toys, chic upgrades to your BYO-lunch Tupperware situation, and beauty loot like egg cream masks and pig collagen foil masks. Check out some of the looks showcased in KFashion, ahead.