K-Styled: Distinguishing Korean Fashion and Korea’s 2014 Trends

K-Styled: Distinguishing Korean Fashion and Korea’s 2014 Trends

The Korean wave has long penetrated the hearts of many Filipinos. With countless K-Pop songs hitting the radio waves and Korean dramas shown on TV stations, the love for anything Korean has progressed to eating Hansik, learning Hangul, and following Korean fashion.

It is easy to identify Korean programs, music, language, and food, but what defines Korean fashion?

More than a month ago, the Korean Cultural Center in the Philippines held an event for those wanting to learn more about it: a free-admissions talk by one of Korea’s fashion wonders, Sarah Kate Watson-Baik.

With Sarah’s talk, it can be noted that some of the good things to do in Manila include extending the fashion world by sharing the knowledge about it and catching Philippine Fashion Week.

K-Styled: Distinguishing Korean Fashion and Korea’s 2014 Trends

Knowing Sarah

K-Styled: Distinguishing Korean Fashion and Korea's 2014 Trends

Sarah introducing herself and her work


Clad in a colourful see-through dress with hues of blue, green and red; Sarah stood before many fashion enthusiasts last May 29 at the Korean Cultural Center.

Sarah is a Filipino-American based in Korea. A product of two diverse cultures, educated in a famed arts and design school in London, and married to an influential Korean architect, Sarah truly knows a lot about fashion and culture.

For someone well-rounded as she is, she cannot be summed up with one title alone. Sarah is a stylist, host, fashion designer, fashion teacher, interior designer, photographer, and so much more with a perky character rolled into one.

Despite common misconceptions of people about fashionistas, Sarah shared that she is not the type to splurge on clothes. “I don’t spend much on clothes. I’m a hunter. I collect vintage.”

According to her, it is helpful to “learn to do things yourself.” Apart from having good eyes for details, it is smart to learn DIY.

Going to the heart of the talk, Sarah said, “culture in Korea makes it a bit different for crazy fashion.”

K Style: Curate, Volume It Up

With Korea’s fashion industry flourishing, she attested that, “there are lots of exciting things happening there. It’s not just K-pop, not just technology.” Although there are some who still hold back, many people in Korea are fashion-forward.

“Korea’s all about trends,” stressed Sarah. What sets Korean Fashion apart from other styles is how they “curate (fashion ideas) and volume it up.”

For a more vivid explanation, Sarah mentioned Korean girl groups 2NE1 and Orange Caramel for having bold fashion as they wear things that defy styles of commonly worn clothes, hairstyles, and makeup.

K-Styled: Distinguishing Korean Fashion and Korea's 2014 Trends

2NE1 donning vividly printed clothing, large accessories and statement hairstyles. Image lifted from Officiallykmusic.

K-Styled: Distinguishing Korean Fashion and Korea's 2014 Trends

Orange Caramel wearing large hairpieces and bright orange tops for their Catallena promotions. Image lifted from Soompie.


Talking about this year’s trends, street style is in, as well as snapbacks, mix-match, sporty, see-through, black and white, lettering, and flower patterns. These are also evident as many personalities are seen wearing clothes following these trends.

Sarah also named leading designers in Korea and pointed out their unique styles. She named a few like Lie Sang Bong, Kye, Steve J & Yoni P, and Ko Taeyoung.

Lie Sang Bong, one of the designers Sarah adores, works by integrating various elements, particularly Korean elements. This is what makes Lie Sang Bong unforgettable; he knows his brand well. He never forgets his roots and utilizes them. His collections can be identified easily as he puts Hangul, Hanok, Dancheong, and Mugunghwa on them.

Lie Sang Bong Collection for Seoul Fashion Week 2014


With these concepts highlighted in his designs, a new brand is given to traditional concepts that represent Korea. This is the power of fashion and branding—making things go in style despite the years that passed.

“Find What Works for You”

As a stylist, Sarah is open to various ideas. She gets inspiration from fashion styles all over the world. This is also why she wanted to watch Philippine Fashion Week.

In coming up with designs, Sarah thinks of things not usually seen in Korea. She picks them and combines them.  She gets the elements together and identifies: “What’s too much? What’s not enough?” and plays with them.

However, the design process does not start and end at thinking creatively. “Research,” advised Sarah, as she is a firm believer of it. Above her backgrounds and ideas, Sarah does research a lot before jumping into designing.

“Know your branding. Be obsessed with what you are doing,” she continued.

Sarah pointed out the importance of knowing your roots and starting with who you are when it comes to designing. It is good to “know your family, your historical background, and blend them. Find elements that match to make something fresh but globally applicable.”

K-Styled: Distinguishing Korean Fashion and Korea's 2014 Trends

Sarah answering questions by select members of the audience


When asked for other more fashion and career advice by the audience, Sarah answered, “Find what works for you.”

The phrase sums up what people need in finding the right style for them in terms of fashion and even in the career paths that they want to take.

She said, “whatever you love, whatever you like, do it. Do what you love first and show it.” She also encouraged the audience to connect with people since widening one’s network is helpful in pursuing careers.

K-Styled: Distinguishing Korean Fashion and Korea's 2014 Trends

Sarah interacting with the audience after her talk


After the talk, Sarah interacted with the attendees some more. Being the sweetheart that she is; she posed for pictures, wrote messages, and gave hugs.

With of the success of the event, Sarah was appointed Honorary Fashion Ambassador of the Korean Cultural Center in the Philippines’ director, Director Oh Choong-suk.

And good news for Korean culture enthusiasts: Director Oh is thinking of having fashion classes at KCC. Watch out for that!

Sarah Kate Watson-Baik


Website: https://urbanwit.com

Twitter/Instagram: @urbanwit

K-Styled: Distinguishing Korean Fashion and Korea’s 2014 Trends


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