- Last Updated on Thursday, 12 July 2012 12:21
A New Space around the Body, featuring the work of eight Korean fashion designers, received the British Council and British Fashion Council's International Fashion Showcase Emerging Talent Awards 2012 for the best project, writes Sajid Rizvi. The Award was presented during the London Fashion Week (17-22 February 2012).
The exhibition, curated by JiHye Hong, curator at the Korean Cultural Centre, was praised by the British Council as "an inspiring showcase which highlights the diverse range of emerging talent from Korea set in a culturally immersive exhibition space." The British Council's Alison Moloney said, "The Korean Cultural Centre has set a high standard for the inaugural International Fashion Showcase."
The award is a well-deserved recognition of Korean design, still a few steps away from the high street in Europe, though certainly visible in fashioinable parts of North America and more so in Asia. While Japanese and other Asian designers have made a mark on the high-end consumer market in the West, Korean designers still have to pass a few hurdles, although there's evidence of a resurgence on a global scale.
Korean Cultural Centre Director Yonggi Won said, "We are so very honoured to see the exhibition and the Korean designers take this prestigious award as Korean fashion is an important part of the Korean Wave that is spreading across the globe. We are fortunate to have such a strong pool of talent to draw on as we have many talented young designers coming out of Korea now."
The award was judged by a panel of experts from the business and cultural sectors of the fashion industry including: Sarah Mower MBE (BFC Ambassador for Emerging Talent, Vogue US), Alison Moloney (The British Council), Anna Orsini (The British Fashion Council), Claire Catterall (Somerset House), Donna Loveday (Design Museum), Jess Cartner-Morley (The Guardian), Maria Lemos (Rainbowwave), Oriole Cullen (Victoria and Albert Museum), Penny Martin (Gentle Woman), Susanne Tide Frater (Brand Consultant) and Wendy Dagworthy (Royal College of Art). A New Space Around the Body has proved popular with the judges, guests and fellow designers.
When discussing the exhibition, Penny Martin commented that "Korea's exhibition for the International Fashion Showcase shows a selection of fantastically strong, eloquent work, which had been presented beautifully and intelligently. It is a very optimistic, creative and exciting show."
The International Fashion Showcase is the first project that the British Council and the British Fashion Council have collaborated on. This new showcase is part of London Fashion Week and the Fashion 2012 Cultural Programme which has been developed to celebrate the year of the Olympics and Paralympics, honouring their values of international respect, excellence, equality and friendship. In total 19 embassies and cultural institutes across London present the work of over 80 international emerging designers who most represent the future of fashion in their region.
The exhibition explores the new generation of Korean designers, whose works are characterised by humour, hypothetic worlds and highly sculptural creations, almost appearing as a frame for the body. With an explosion of colour, modern techniques, craft and unexpected fabric combinations, their work can be seen as a reconstruction of the constituted ideal of beauty and non-beauty, both on a visual, intellectual and philosophical level.
All the participating designers are from the prestigious fashion departments at Royal Academy of Fine Art in Antwerp, Central Saint Martins and London College of Fashion.
In a short space of time these designers have already had high profile collaborations with the likes of Lady Gaga and featured in major fashion magazines.
Letting the contemporary garments resonate with the past, natural materials are used to form the backdrop of this exhibition with installations that are visually
reminiscent of the aesthetics of traditional Korean doors, white cotton, Hanji paper and the totem pole.
"Through this award, we very much hope to see Korea's talented fashion designers breaking through on to the world stage," says a KCCUK blurb. "In Asia, Korean fashion has been leading the creative charge for some time now and the KCCUK looks forward to assisting young Korean fashion designers in the future as they aim to make a name for themselves across the globe."
The winning exhibition, which can be seen at the KCCUK galleries, Grand Buildings, 1-3 Strand, London WC2N 5BW, till 28 February 2012, features the winning designs by Minky Jaemin Ha, Juhee Han, Ara Jo, Minju Kim, Yeashin Kim. Yoolhee Ko, Kathleen Kye, and Unbounded Awe by Laykuni. Accompanying photography is by Serge Martynov or JiHye Hong. Exhibition catalogue: www.sergemartynov.com/new_space_catalogue.pdf