South Korean label System keen to gain traction in Europe
South Korean label System has been in business for 30 years, and yet it is still little-known outside Asia. To broaden its horizons, System staged a catwalk presentation during the Paris Fashion Week last month. It was the chance for the label, which is planning to expand internationally, to showcase its directional urban/sportswear style, featuring a fresh take on classic items, cut in fine materials and oversize volumes.
System was launched in 1990 with a women's ready-to-wear line, and introduced menswear in 2008. It is sold across Asia, and in Korea it is available at about one hundred multibrand retailers. Design is taken care of by a huge collective studio, with nearly 80 stylists for menswear and womenswear. Great attention is paid to fabrics and production, which is Korea-based.
System is owned by Handsome Corporation, a company that was bought by Korean conglomerate Hyundai Department Store Group in 2012. Handsome Corporation is a significant player on the women’s ready-to-wear retail market in South Korea. It distributes labels like Chloé and Lanvin, it runs its own Korean brands and, among other things, it owns Parisian multibrand fashion retailer Tom Greyhound, whose store in the Marais district is System’s only retail presence outside Korea.
“In a short while, System has become one of the store's best-selling brands. Its chic urban style and the quality of its products are highly appreciated. System clothes are well-cut, the finishes are impeccable and, above all, the label is great value for money, with overcoats selling between €700 and €800, while trousers, System’s main asset, are priced around €300,” said David Kang, who is in charge of Handsome Paris.
System pulled out all the stops to win over western buyers at its maiden appearance during the Paris men’s Fashion Week in January, presenting its models on a white, floodlit boxing ring at the centre of a dark room.
System’s Autumn/Winter 2019-20 collection plays with layering and medleys, as well on gender and material duality, cleverly including a selection of rather classic, basic functional items such as overcoats, jackets, trousers and knitwear within a highly contemporary wardrobe.
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