Posted : 2007-11-07 17:39
Updated : 2007-11-07 17:39

Korean Brands Seek Inroads in US

Left, A model wears a sweater by Korean brand Over Rolls, targeted for young women.
Middle, A model wears a modernized hanbok designed by An Yoon-jung for her spring 2008 collection during Fashion Market Day in New York City.
Right, A black dress by An Yoon-jung

By Cathy Rose A. Garcia
Staff Reporter

Korean designers and manufacturing brands recently showcased their 2008 collection in New York City last month, with the hope of breaking into the fashion market in the United States.

American buyers had a chance to preview the latest styles from seven Korean ready-to-wear brands: An Yoon Jung ANS, British Knights Korea, Brand, Color Field, Mee You International, Over Rolls, and Irreh Leather. The brands previewed their collections at the ``Fashion Market Day" in Manhattan's exclusive 3 West Club Penthouse.

Milena Kovachevich, a New York fashion consultant, said the event was a chance for the Korean designers to address the market's demand for ``high style at affordable prices."
``Many of the top international fashion labels these days outsource their manufacturing, often sacrificing quality. … The Fashion Market Day's high-end designers have the unique distinction of creating their products in Korea, which is known for high-quality manufacturing as well as competitive pricing. These brands offer the ideal combination of cutting-edge fashion trends and consumer-friendly pricing that American retailers desire,'' Kovachevich said.

The one-day event was a project of Korean Women Entrepreneurs Association (KWEA) and MZI Global Marketing to promote the seven Korean designer brands, which are all owned by women.

``American buyers expect quality apparel at low prices, but what's been missing is style. American buyers need designers who can deliver all three elements: style, price and quality…These Korean designers are known for their excellence in all three areas, but in order to bring their products to the U.S., they need support from American market experts,'' Mira Zivkovich, president and CEO of MZI Global Marketing, said.

``Fashion Market Day'' allowed designers and manufacturers to introduce their men's and women's wear collections, offered in various price ranges. It was a unique event that allowed buyers to view the eclectic merchandise mix, from day to evening wear, as well as professional styles for men and women.

An Yoon Jung ANS is a Korean luxury brand designed by An Yoon-jung, who is the president of the KWEA. Her 2008 collection makes use of denim, combined with applique detailing and patterned fabrics, to create tailored suits and formal evening wear for the baby boomer market.

``We incorporate Korean influenced aesthetics into our designs, mixing it with denim or knitwear materials, creating innovative pieces that are both pleasant to the eyes and to the body," Ahn said.

Mee You International features ``St. John-inspired luxury knitwear suits decorated with Swarovski crystals.'' Over Rolls is described as a ``high fashion line for young adult women, while Brand has a romantic, vintage style targeted for young Americans.

British Knights Korea is a premium priced casual wear line that offers ``trendy, cool and youth oriented fashion'' geared for the young American market. Irreh Leather has already supplied customized leather goods to well known brands in the U.S., and so decided to introduce its own line of casual leather outerwear.
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