Each season seems to bring about a new fashion darling from the Korean pop world. Not too long ago it was G-Dragon and fellow Big Bang bandmate, Taeyang. After that it was CL and still thereafter, the industry was enchanted by CL’s 2NE1 bandmate, Sandara Park. With the Autumn/Winter 2017 men’s show just barely underway in London, Woo Ji-ho – the Korean rapper and leader of boy group, Block B, best known by his stage name, Zico – is a clear front runner for the position of this season’s “it” boy.
Turning up at one of London’s most anticipated shows of the week, J.W. Anderson, with a small entourage, Zico is not exactly a fashion industry newbie. The K-pop idol – who, after joining Block B in 2011, has gone on to achieve massive mainstream credibility thanks to his demanding stage presence, celebrated songwriting skills and dynamic personality – has also garnered quite a bit of attention for his personal style. A mix of high fashion and bonafide streetwear labels, he is often spotted in designs from Raf Simons, Givenchy, Comme Des Garçons, ACNE, Astrid Andersen (whose show he also attended today), KTZ, Alessandro Michelle’s Gucci creations, Hedi Slimane’s designs for Saint Laurent, Yeezy footwear, and even New York-based indie designer, Wil Fry’s graphic wares.
His personal style and penchant for fashion has led to an array of Korean fashion editorials and most recently, a collaboration with buzzy Polish street label, MISBHV, for its Spring/Summer 2017 collection during last year’s London Fashion Week Men’s. Before that, Zico walked the runway for Korean brand, Dominic Way’s Spring/Summer 2014 show during Seoul Fashion Walk and collaborated with designer Go Tae Yong – who helms the Beyond Closet School Gang brand – for his Spring/Summer 2015 collection, which debuted during New York Fashion Week.
And from the sounds of things, Zico has more collaborations in the works. In addition to a new album planned for 2017 and a tour in Europe and America, he says: “I want to come back to London especially to work on more collaborations and also London is where most of my favorite [music] artists are, like Jake Garratt and Little Simz.”
As we have told you in the past, it is a smart move on the part of MISBHV and the other brands to tap into the ever-growing appeal of K-pop and its most visible stars. With their truly expansive followings among native Koreans – online and at their concerts – and the budding interest of the Chinese in Korea (Chinese luxury consumers will spend $29 billion at South Korea luxury retailers by 2020), these mega-stars prove a sure-fire inroad into this hotbed of growth in the Far East, particularly for Western brands.