Designer Handbag Rentals Available in Korea

Story by Y. Peter Kang.

A new service in South Korea allows women to flash the latest high-end handbag without forking over a lot of dough.

MBC reports that a luxury goods rental service has customers depositing their own upscale handbagwith a broker which then entitles them to pick out a handbag for a fee of about $20 to $30 per week. If the customer’s bag is rented by another customer, they get a percentage of the rental fees. If they don’t add a bag to the pool, they can still rent a bag for a higher fee of about $50.

Members are reportedly happy with the service.

“I think it’s a great thing, to be able to change up your bag for the price of a cup of coffee,” one customer told MBC. “It’s fresh and new.”

MBC reported that peer-to-peer rental services were first popularized in the United States following the Great Recession of 2008. One notable example of a P2P rental service that has taken off is Airbnb, a site in which homeowners can rent out rooms to cost-conscious travelers.

This story was originally published in iamkoream.com.

Paris Fashion Week: Chinese Designer Masha Ma

Story by Ruby Veridiano.

You can certainly tell that Masha Ma once worked for Alexander Mcqueen.

Inheriting the drama in design from her former boss, Ma succeeds in crafting showmanship. Her latest collection for the Fall/Winter 2014 closed out Paris Fashion Week with vigor, presenting her signature mode of chic and futuristic aesthetics.

Inspired by the wondrous evening bloom of the cactus plant epiphyllum, her collection featured flowery textures that honored femininity with an avant-garde lens. Both poetic and apocalyptic in nature, Ma offers a version of the feminine that casts her as a warrior. For the Fall/Winter season Ma chooses navy, white, and black as her color palette, blooming in the form of knits, woven fabrics, and embroidered flowers. Flower lace face masks add to the drama, giving the effect of mystery. Layers were also a big part of this collection, along with the color white (Part of Ma’s signature style), which manifested as identical platform shoes and over the knee boots for all models.

Masha Ma is a Chinese designer. She graduated from Central St. Martins in 2008, the same year she released her namesake label. A recognized talent, she has won numerous awards and her presentations have been bought out by prestigious stores such as Spiga 2 in Milan and Harvey Nichols in Hong Kong. She is based between Shanghai and Paris.

Masha Ma FW2014 from Masha Ma on Vimeo.

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Vanessa Leu’s Compassionate Collection Shines Bright at the “Other Paris Fashion Week”

Story by Ruby Veridiano.

In the midst of the flurry of back-to-back shows at Paris Fashion Week, a hidden gem was glistening right in the center of the city. Inside the Carousel du Louvre, the “other fashion week” was transpiring. Tranoi, a trade show in Paris boasting over 450 brands, invited buyers from all over the world to have a look at some of the brightest designers on the rise.

Among those rising stars was Vanessa Leu, a California-based Taiwanese jewelry designer whose talent has catapulted her work in the spotlight. As one of the top brands featured at Tranoi, Leu was granted the center stage in the Louvre, being placed at the very front of the exhibit’s foyer.

Rightfully so, as Leu’s stunning creations are unique, edgy, and artistic while remaining subtly chic. The “Future Ring” reflects the elegance and edge of a modern woman, using black diamonds and druzy, and set on a two-finger ring piece. The “Wish Cuff”, featuring a quartz with healing powers, is set on a bracelet of thick metal, contrasting the strength and softness of a woman’s spirit.

I believe that the reason why Leu’s jewels shine so bright is beyond the aesthetic and craftsmanship of her design. The gems she carefully chooses are made to act as beautiful talismans to “protect and inspire beauty in the wearer”, channeling the gems’ healing and transformative energies. While other jewelry makers may tend to sacrifice the ethics behind the creation of their products, Leu, a spiritual seeker, is committed to building a compassionate collection that uses conflict-free diamonds and recycled precious metals all made under fair labor practices and the highest ethical standards.

Leu’s jewels have appeared everywhere from Katy Perry’s earlobes on the cover of GQ magazine to Brooke Burke’s neckline on the American hit show “Dancing with the Stars”. Not to mention, her jewelry has lent some extra shine to countless starlets on the red carpet.

Leu’s philosophy, combined with the beauty of her work, leaves no surprise as to why she has won countless awards and is recognized by Women’s Wear Daily as “One to Watch”.

Vanessa Leu was once a writer and journalist in her native Taiwan. In her younger days, she provided aid to Taiwanese aborigines. She is based in Los Angeles, California.

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Paris Fashion Week: Chinese Designer Yang Li

Story by Ruby Veridiano.

There was something eerie in the air inside the Palais des Beaux Arts as everyone hushed to prepare for Yang Li’s Autumn/Winter 2014 debut. Perhaps it was the elongated silence followed by Bruce Springsteen’s somber voice belting “Dream Baby Dream” that created a bit of a haunting feeling. That, and the word “DREAMER” in all capital letters mysteriously kept appearing.

It felt as if everyone in the room held their breath until the first look appeared on the runway. It was a steely blue dress that stopped inches above the kneecaps, clean and crisp except for the waist, where an overflowing peplum spilled out to be caught and held by the model’s right arm. If one piece described the tone of the entire show, it would be this one– a contrast between the seriousness of Li’s tailoring and an effort to bring an air of optimism through volume. Models slowly sauntered down the runway with a detached demeanor about them, adding to the air of seriousness, mystery, and goth. And yet, by etching the word “DREAMER” in a floor length skirt and an oversized top, Li still makes an effort to infuse a ray of hope amidst the gloom, making for something beautifully strange.

With black as a dominant color, asymmetrical, long-sleeved dresses paraded down the runway with lengths long in the front and short in the back. Paired with black hats, it looked like an outfit fit for a modern day witch with a prerogative to cast her spell. Burgundy and camel also made the palette, appearing as high-buttoned jackets, long skirts, and straight-legged pants that reminded me of military uniforms.

Fur pieces and unexpected peplums disrupted some of the seriousness in Li’s designs, hinting at a bit of whimsy. After all, no matter how dark a personality, there is indeed, a dreamer inside everyone.

Yang Li is a Chinese designer born in Beijing. He moved to Australia at age 10 where he played basketball and skateboarded frequently. He studied fashion in London at the famed Central Saint Martins School. He is a protégé of Raf Simons.

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Asian Designers at the 86th Academy Awards

While we’re ecstatic for Robert Lopez, the first Filipino American to win an Oscar for composing Frozen‘s “Let it Go,” the Academy Awards was once again slim when it came to Asian nominees.

But there were plenty of Asian-designed gowns gracing the red carpet at the 86th annual Academy Awards at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles.86th Annual Academy Awards - ArrivalsEmma Watson, who joined Joseph Gordon-Levitt in presenting the award for best achievement in visual effects, dazzled in a metallic gray and black Vera Wang dress.86th Annual Academy Awards - ArrivalsA very pregnant Kerry Washington, star of the hit show Scandal, sports her baby bump in a simple lavender Jason Wu number.

oscars384 year-old June Squibb, one of the best supporting actress nominees for her role as Kate Grant in Nebraska (she lost to 12 Years a Slave actress Lupita Nyong’o) wears an emerald green, form-fitting Tadashi Shoji dress.oscars4Idina Menzel, who showed off her powerhouse vocals last night in a performance of “Let it Go” –– the hit song from Frozen that ended up winning best original song –– wears a sweeping Vera Wang dress.

The Real Reason Behind Japan’s Surgical Mask Trend

Even if we don’t understand it, we’ve all seen it before– the strange trend in some Asian countries to wear surgical masks.

So what’s the reason behind this phenomenon? In some cases, the justification is perfectly understandable. For instance, residents in China are often seen wearing masks because of the poor air quality. In some cases, this is even a requirement. During a runway show in Jiangsu province last year, models were forced to wear surgical masks because the smog was far too dangerous to inhale.

So what about Japan? According to Rocketnews24, there are 5 main reasons for the popular mask trend.

1.) For health purposes.
While China residents wear the mask to protect themselves from the unfit air quality, Japanese residents wear the mask for any sort of contagious disease. However, the mask is not used to protect themselves. Instead, it is used to protect other people. Because Japanese residents often come in close contact with one another, it is common courtesy to wear a mask if you are sick.

2.) To avoid social awkwardness.
Rocketnews24 reported that the mask is sometimes used by an individual who simply does not want interaction. A Japanese psychologist added, “When we deal with others, we have to judge whether to do things like smile or show anger. By wearing a mask, you can prevent having to do that. The trend of wearing a mask to prevent directly dealing with other may have roots in the current youth culture in which many of them are more accustomed to communicating indirectly through email and social media.”

3.) For warmth. 
Tired of wrapping a scarf around your face to keep it warm? Why not try a surgical mask?

4.) For the lazy.
Have you ever wanted to go out, but you’re too lazy to put on make up? Or maybe you have a pimple and you’re just too tired to cover it up. Maybe its just one of those days when you just want to leave the house for a quick errand and dolling yourself up seems like a hassle. Apparently, Japanese women have decided that a quick way around this is the surgical mask.

5.) In the name of fashion.
We certainly expected this one. As the popularity of the mask grows, more and more people are finding ways to incorporate it into their outfit. Black masks and printed masks were created for that very purpose.

 

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Asians in Fashion: Park Shin Hye Pays Tribute to Audrey Hepburn

The March issue of Marie Claire Korea is certainly one to look forward to. What are we most excited to see? Park Shin Hye’s gorgeous looks as she pays homage to Audrey Hepburn– the film and fashion icon during Hollywood’s Golden Age.

Clearly, Hepburn’s legacy is one that has endured long after her death in 1993. In fact, the American Film Institute named Hepburn third among the Greatest Female Stars of All Time.

Although it is impossible to recreate a legend, we are awfully impressed with Park Shin Hye’s stunning tribute spread titled “My Fair Lady.” For the spread, the South Korean actresses reenacts iconic Audrey Hepburn styles from Roman HolidayFunny Face, and Breakfast at Tiffany’s.

Park Shin Hye not only shows her versatility as a model, she points out that she is a force to be reckoned with. The 24-year-old artist has been quickly rising to fame and is most known for korean dramas You’re BeautifulFlower Boys Next Door and Heirs. In fact, her role in You’re Beautiful shot the actress into worldwide popularity.

Check out the beautiful tribute below.

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What Happens When Asian Kids Swap Outfits With Their Grandparents

The Singaporean artist simply known as “Qozop,” proves that age is just a number in many ways.

For instance, the artist appears to be rather new to the scene. Qozop’s facebook emerged late last month and the official blog has only two posts thus far. In fact the artist is such a mystery that the about me is kept plain and simple. It reads, “There is nothing special about me. I am just an artist who has caught a picture-making sickness.”

Despite Qozop’s “young” talent, the artist has already picked up quite a bit of attention. Qozop has been featured in Design TAXI, Demilked and Huffington Post.

The art that has sparked attention is Qozop’s series titled “Spring — Autumn.” He photographed pairs of relatives, such as parents and kids or grandparents and grandchildren, then had them exchange outfits.

“Fashion (other than wrinkles) is one of the best tell-tales of how old a person is, or what generation they hail from,” Qozop writes. “Skinny jeans just aren’t a thing for old people. But! Imagine a world where people of a certain age need not necessarily dress a certain way.”

Many viewers have interpreted the series as an exploration of identity and age, especially within Asian Americans.

Take a look at the entire series of Asian youth trading outfits with their parents and grandparents.

 

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Korean Couples Take Matching Outfits to the Next Level

Story by James S. Kim. 

If you’re looking for something other than chocolates and flowers to give to your significant other this Valentine’s Day, take a note from what many young couples are doing in South Korea on a daily basis.

The “couple look,” or publicly advertising a relationship by wearing matching outfits, is quite easy to spot on the streets, beaches and cafes of South Korea. While it can be as simple as a matching T-shirt or shoes, there are couples taking it to the next level, curating entire looks that match from head-to-toe, from jackets and pants to socks and underwear.

The “couple look” culture has understandably spawned a sizable market for specialized retailers, according to AFP. Many online retailers sell couple attire for snowboarding, swimming and running, as well as pajamas and lingerie for the more intimate moments.

There is no substantial data to show how well these businesses are doing, but many young Koreans say donning the couple look is a sweet way of showing affection for one another and even showing off their relationship in public. Married couples have also been getting in on it as a way of reaffirming their love.

Needless to say, things can get complicated if a relationship goes south. Articles of clothing are a bit more permanent than chocolate or flowers, but at least it’s not his-and-hers tattoos.

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This story was originally published in iamkoream.com 

Alexander Wang Uses Heat Technology to Wow Audiences at New York Fashion Week 2014

New York Fashion Week kicked off last week as designers and big brand names held runway shows for their fall/winter 2014 collections. While New York City’s Lincoln Center is considered the central location for designer shows, this year Alexander Wang opted for an off-site location at the Brooklyn Navy Yard.

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On Saturday night, the 30 year-old Taiwanese-American fashion designer dragged his fashion crowd from the inner city out to an abandoned greenhouse on the water in Brooklyn. Fans, editors, photographers and celebrities braved hours in traffic to get to the remote site.

Wang debuted his collection with models sporting slick, parted do’s and utilitarian looks. Show-goers took to their blogs and Twitters, noting the show’s most exciting moment when a group of models stood in all-black clothing onstage, only to have the clothing magically turn into bright and vivid colors as a result of heat technology.

Sculpted dresses and coats, baggy trousers and backless boots added to the futuristic line.

Watch a first look of the show here:

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