Geonbae (Cheers!): An Introduction to the Korean Fashion and Textile Industry

Last week, I had a blast connecting with fashion leaders and learning about the ever expanding South Korean textile and apparel industry.

I attended the July 22 Fashion & Textile Industry Networking Reception, sponsored by the Korea International Trade Association and the United States Fashion Industry Association, in conjunction with TexWorld USA, at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center.

korean_fashion_and_textile_event_texworld_trends_impulseNoshing on delicious hors d’oeuvre and listening to enchanting live music, I checked out the latest trends in fabrics and textile designs from leading Korean manufacturers.

Many people don’t realize that South Korea is an up-and-coming industry player. Just four years ago, prior to the US-Korea free trade agreement (FTA), the textile and apparel exports totaled $13.9 billion (US), representing 3% of South Korea’s total exports and a 19.5% increase over the previous year, according to a 2011 Textile World Asia report.

In fact, US industry professionals regard South Korean textile manufacturers highly for innovative, cutting-edge fabric, color and technological trends, resulting in steady market demand. The recent US-South Korea FTA resulted in the immediate elimination of tariff / customs duties for 61% of the textile products from Korea. This number certainly increased in 2014, resulting in additional price competitiveness and incentives to source high quality fabric for U.S. buyers and brands.

While networking with industry insiders, I came across the latest Texworld issue, Impulse, which provides a comprehensive preview into autumn and winter trends for 2015 and 2016. You can download this issue by clicking here.

Trends fascinate me in that they are rooted in present day cultural and sociological movements. This is particularly true in terms of the influence of technology.

I think that buyers and designers need to be acutely aware of these societal influences in order to thrive in this competitive market and make future predictions.

My post would not be complete without expressing my fascination with the architectural design of Jacob K. Javits Convention Center. Built almost entirely of steel and glass, the modern building is of vast size and glows with natural light. The abundance of the latter and the building’s space are breathtaking.

It is worthy of its moniker, “marketplace of the world,” since it is the site for year-round international trade shows.

Finally, I want to take this opportunity to say thank all my followers for reading my posts and supporting my journey. I’m also grateful to event organizers for inviting me to these thrilling experiences.