Offbeat Meets Progressive, A New Narrative: Concept Korea SS23

Concept Korea initiates its homecoming to NYFW, manifesting the stories of some of South Korea’s most intangible visionaries.

Concept Korea, a South-Korea government sponsored group of designers working to master their craft, dropped their three part designer series at this year’s NYFW. Jae Hyuk Lim and Bona Kim of BESFXXK, A-Young Kim of CAHIERS, and Seong Dong Lee of Ul:kin debuted their latest Spring Summer 2023 collections in  an imitable lineup of designs illustrating a converse range of creativity and honest displays of craftsmanship. 

Whether through an ultramodern or a juxtapose style with functionality, three designers spotlight the duality of their creative praxis. By use of upcycled, deadstock, or sourcing traditional materials, all looks exude their own blend of sweeping designs and fresh-offbeat narratives.


In full unrelenting force, BESFXXK’s core design ethos is through their signature methods of experimentation. Adhering to the brand’s name (bespoke + fucked up), the collection plays with the deconstruction and reconstruction of tailored silhouettes. Breaking down classics like the trench coat and smoking blazer, Jae Hyuk Lim and Bona Kim rebuild the pieces with modern details that juxtapose style with functionality. Ingenious combinations between forms and materials warp history and designs – a cocktail dress incorporating technical fabric, a Victorian style windbreaker, a blazer featuring unexpected materials – reinventing traditional shapes with a modern touch.


CAHIERS’ branch of the collection invites the audience to Toledo, the ancient capital of Spain – a city frozen in medieval Europe. The expansive history of the city’s representation across religions is expressed through the culture and architecture. Capturing the beauty of coexistence, the flowing lines and mixed textures are reminiscent of the architecture with an amalgamation of sublime arabesque patterns found in Islamic representations and symmetry from Romanesque gothic spires and splendid stained glass. Designed for the multi-faceted woman, each garment seamlessly unifies the inspirations.


Ul:kin designer Seong Dong Lee refurbishes his visionary approach to design, translating social issues into the language of fashion. Audacious and daring, the collection is inspired by magnet fishing – the act of using magnets as bait to fish for metal objects submerged in water. A symbol of both stimulating curiosity and the physical activity of removing garbage that corrodes and pollutes water quality, the theme reflects the adage of giving a man a fish versus teaching him to fish. Questioning what we should be teaching the next generation, Lee’s answer remains consistent through his distinctive use of up-cycling, incorporating abandoned fishing tools and gear, introducing details like mesh and multi-pockets.

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