Game changers gather for Sustainable Fashion Summit Seoul
Published : Oct 17, 2019 - 17:00
Updated : Oct 17, 2019 - 17:13
With the 2020 Spring-Summer Seoul Fashion Week currently underway, the organizers hosted a forum to discuss sustainable fashion on Wednesday and Thursday

The Seoul Design Foundation hosted Sustainable Fashion Summit Seoul at the Dongdaemun Design Plaza in central Seoul invited fashion designers who are currently participating in sustainable fashion projects from here and abroad.

The event was divided into four sessions: fashion and community development; harmony of human and technology; sustainable fashion new wave; innovation and reinvention, along with exhibitions, roundtable talks and debates. 
Lee Sung-dong, creative director of Ul:kin speaks during at the Sustainable Fashion Summit Seoul held Thursday at the Dongdaemun Design Plaza, Jung-gu, central Seoul. (Im Eun-byel / The Korea Herald)

“I first began with a draft painting that my artist friend had thrown away. I made bags with it, and the response was unexpected. The bags were immediately sold out with buyers asking for more,” said Ul:kin creative director Lee Sung-dong.

The company makes bags and clothes out of artists’ discarded works, and is committed to upcycle not just products but also artistic talents.

“Leading my brand, I have rethought the value of upcycling. I hope more people can share their thoughts about upcycling through my brand,” he said.

Morethan CEO Ian Choi who launched label Continew creates accessories and bags by upcycling nonrecyclable waste products (leather seats, air bags and seatbelts) from scrapped cars.

“It is hard to define Morethan’s identity. It is a fashion company based on the manufacturing industry. Though we upcycle waste products, that does not necessarily make us an environmentally-friendly company. That is why we opened a new factory that generates electricity by production of goods. We are now selling electricity,” Choi said, explaining that the factory is in Incheon, a city west of Seoul, and is open to visitors.

Apart from the heads of upcycling fashion brands, those involved in international fashion trade were also present. One of the attendees was Park Joo-young, the design team manager of Fair Trade Korea. Her firm works on importing hand-crafted clothing and accessories from impoverished nations at a fair price.

“Now that I think about it, we are more like activists for fair trade rather than designers,” she said.

“Handmade textiles were common before agriculture. Loom weaving products are beautiful artworks,” she said. To add value to the handmade products, her firm redesigns them into more useable, appealing products for modern consumers.

Along with the forum, zero-waste fashion brand Parts-Parts’ designer Im Seo-noc curated an exhibition, introducing eco-friendly fashion brands under the theme “Design Life, Design Future, Design Sustainability.”

Meanwhile, the latest edition of Seoul Fashion Week is showcasing collections by leading as well as up-and-coming Korean designers. The biannual fashion event will wrap up on Saturday.

By Im Eun-byel (

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