06. GENTLE MONSTER
GENTLE MONSTER is a luxury sunglasses and fashion brand. They have done a great job of making sunglasses fashionable by using K-pop stars and adding innovation. Last year, GENTLE MONSTER partnered with Huawei to launch a collection of sunglasses with integrated electronics. These include a device that lets users talk on the phone without putting anything in their ears. The bigger news has been the partnership with BLACKPINK’s Jennie. Last year, Jennie uploaded a cryptic Instagram post hinting at a possible collaboration with GENTLE MONSTER. It was a part of a new campaign featuring top fashion photographer Hugo Comte.
07. W Concept
W Concept was launched by the Korean eCommerce platform WIZWID. W Concept is a digital marketplace that introduces independent brands to a wider market. W Concept does not hold all its own inventory; instead, W Concept builds partnerships with independently run brands that don’t have the resources to do retail on a large scale. Once an order is placed, the brands themselves send the items to W Concept who then send the item to the customer.
W Concept is now one of the top fashion retail sites in Korea, and has expanded to markets in China, Canada, and the U.S. They even have a concept store in New York that showcases the designs of limited collections from popular designers. Customers can not go home with the items at the pop-up store but they can scan a QR code and have the items delivered to them.
“With the amount of potential in Korean designer brands that have been in the market for a long time, I’m very happy to see their aesthetic sense and hard work shining through,” said CEO of W Concept’s Cecile Kim.
RAWROW is an accessory shop known for its practical designs. They are known for their backpacks, glasses, and luggage. They became popular in Korea through viral campaigns on Facebook. RAWROW recorded over $9 million in sales in 2018 and they currently export their products to over 13 different countries including China, Singapore, Japan, and Germany.
RAWROW signed a contract to get funding from Shinsegae International, the fashion arm of Shinsegae. They will now focus on working with Shinsegae and their expertise in global brand management.
Brich is an O2O service delivering the latest Korean fashion trends online. Their goal is to deliver a more personalized shopping experience to consumers. They focus on small Korean fashion labels and have already partnered with over 100 brick and mortar fashion boutiques in trendy areas like Gangnam and Apgujeong. Brich gives these independent fashion brands an online outlet.
Brich has raised over $6 million in funding from Korean VC firms such as Intervest.
LinkShops is an online B2B platform that connects fashion buyers and sellers. They carry over 1 million items from over 8,000 stores in Dongdaemun, the biggest offline shopping district in Seoul, and retailers can use LinkShops to shop at Dongdaemun 24 hours a day. Think of LinkShops as the largest brokerage platform for the Korean fashion industry.