How Korean Streetwear Brands are Disrupting the Market

No matter if it's their first time or N times to Korea, overseas visitors love to shop everytime they visit Korea. It's no wonder, as the design and fashion industry here is creative and energetic. Thus, fashion trends change quickly in this East Asian country. Doesn't it seem like you never find the same clothing designs the next time you are here?

In recent years, many Korean streetwear brands have gone a step further by purchasing licenses from overseas brands. Some of these brands include MLB, Discovery Expedition, Kodak, Fila, and Guess.

Today, let's discuss about the korean streetwear brands that have obtained overseas licenses, and how they are different from the original fashion brands!

 

 Korean Fashion Brands with Overseas Licenses


1. MLB Korea obtains license from Major League Baseball

mlb logo


MLB is the short form for Major League Baseball. It represents the American professional baseball organization and is also the oldest of the major professional sports leagues in the United States and Canada. It is made up of 30 baseball teams.

 

mlb team logo styleupk
MLB team logos. Image credit: PSD Covers


Korea's FNF Company bought the MLB trademark license to feature on their MLB Korea apparel. Thus, you will find the MLB team logos imprinted on caps, clothing and their popular MLB chunky sneakers.

mlb sneakers styleupk
MLB Big Ball Chunky Monogram Chunky Sneakers. Retailing at SGD 190 at styleupk.


But the MLB Korea store operates as a totally separate entity from MLB in the USA. Their clothing designs are thus totally different.

In a short span of a few years, MLB Korea has gained a strong following from both locals and foreigners alike. Fans might not be baseball fan, but they love the simple design with the MLB team logo on the MLB apparel. Their popular line of items would definitely be the MLB ballcaps, bright colored jackets and MLB chunky sneakers.

hyuna mlb korea styleupk
HyunA in MLB T-shirt. Image credit: MLB Korea


They further grow their brand by having Korean singer HyunA as their model. HyunA brings a kind of chic modern energy to the brand, and also helps the brand to be made known to kpop fans.

Check out MLB Korea collection here at StyleupK.

2. FNF Korea bought license for Discovery Expedition too

discovery expedition

This is for those who are wondering why Discovery Expedition has a line of apparel. FNF Korea, the MLB Korea company, also acquired license for the American documentary channel in 2012.
 
A line of clothing, outerwear and shoes were made with the Discovery Expedition logo. They are known mostly for their long padded winter jackets and also their chunky sneakers Bucket Dwalker.
gongyoo discovery expedition d walker shoes styleupk
 Gong Yoo in Discovery Expedition D Walker V2 sneakers white, retailing at SGD 210 at styleupk.

 

Their sales have increased over the past few years as they gain a massive followers, especially people who love the outdoors

Also, do you know that Korean actor Gong Yoo is also the model for Discovery Expedition?
Check out Discovery Expedition collection here at StyleupK.
 

3. Fila Korea acquired the Fila brand

fila korea

Fila is a internationally known sportswear brand. Fila Brothers founded Fila in 1911 in Biella, for Italians. They originally started as an underwear company but branched out to sportswear in the 1970s. It is from then that their products start becoming popular.
fila biella tshirt styleupk
 That's the reason you see Biella word very often on Fila T-shirts. It's where they originated from! This T-shirt is retailing at SGD 65 at Styleupk.
Fila was originally held by Holding di Partecipazioni but they sold the company to US hedge fund Cerberus Capital Management in 2003. Cerberus in turn manages all Fila international subsidiaries through Sports Brand International (SBI). But Fila Korea did not fall into this category as it was a separate entity operating with a Fila license.

In 2007, all the Fila subsidiaries and global brands held by SBI were acquired by Fila Korea. That makes Fila the biggest sportwears company in South Korea. Today, it holds the global rights of the brand for footwear and clothing.
fila store
 Fila Korea store. Image credit: creatrip
fila ray shoes
Fila Ray shoes. Image credit: creatrip
Thus, overseas visitors might be awed by the wide range of Fila products in Korea. It's because they control the design and manufacturing of their own Fila products!
New Fila items are also released much faster in Korea. And some designs cannot be found in overseas Fila shop too!
 
Fila line of clothing and shoes are comfortable and trendy. Most importantly, they are within a reasonable price range. This brand is especially popular among local teenagers.
fila bts styleupk
 
BTS became the model of Fila in 2019 and further raised the branding of this internationally renowned brand to an even higher level.
Check out Fila Korea collection here at StyleupK.

4. License of Kodak Apparel Korea

kodak apparel

 
Do you still remember the camera and film brand Kodak?
 
Kodak is a brand of Eastman Kodak Company which was famous for their film cameras that were raging before the digital camera era. Nowadays, they are known as a retro brand that brings back good memories of the past.
 
Highlight Brands, which is a division of Modern Works, acquired the trademark license for Kodak. They released a line of fashionable clothing with many Kodak features. These include the brand's iconic yellow and red color, Kodak colorama picture, and washed material for the retro vintage look.
 
It brings back a sense of nostalgia since retro and newtro is the raging trend nowadays.
 kodak model jung hae in
Kodak model actor Jung hae-in wearing the iconic yellow red outerwear from Kodak Apparel.
 
The new streetwear brand has also paired up with Korean actor Jung Hae-in to capture the attention of the market.
Check out Kodak Apparel Korea collection here at StyleupK.

5. License for Guess Korea

guess denim

 Guess models in their popular denim collection. Image credit: Guess
 
If you are wondering why Guess Korea has a range of clothing that are different from Guess Global, it's because Guess Korea has acquired their license!
 
Guess?, Inc. was founded by the Marciano brothers in 1981 in a small jeans factory. They started with jeans, and then expanded the apparel line to include tops, undergarments etc.
 
Although they have now become a famous lifestyle brand, they are still most famous for bringing the sexy movement to denim jeans. The logo of guess, 'Guess?' is an iconic fashion statement these days which never gets old.
guess korea
 

Fun fact 1: How did the name Guess came about?

A: It was because the Marciano brothers came across a Mcdonald's Big Mac advertisement. It has a big "Guess" word at the top, and "what is in new Mac" at its bottom. The brand name was inspired from this incident.
 

Fun fact 2: Why does Guess have a question mark "?" in its brand?

A: The Marciano brothers were not allowed to register "Guess" brand name as it is a verb. Thus, they overcame it by putting a question mark behind!
 

Fun fact 3: Why are the numbers 1201 and 1203 in the Guess brand?

A: It represents the suite numbers to their offices at Los Angeles Broadway Building when they launched the brand.
 
In 1989, the Guess license was obtained by Ilkyung Korea which was transfered to Doosan Apparel BG in 2002. In 2006, Guess Holdings Korea was officially established.
guess korea model suzy styleupk
 Suzy Bae is the current model for Guess Korea.
Guess became immensely popular in Korea because the company designs clothing that suit the taste of the local market and also Asian fit. Thus, you will find the main colors and designs to be different for Guess Korea and Guess Global apparel.
guess blackpink
 Guess has also worked with Blackpink back in 2018!
Also, its popularity was further fueled by endorsements of A-list celebrities. Guess Korea collaborated with Blackpink in 2018, and Korean actress Suzy Bae is currently their model.
Check out Guess Korea collection here at StyleupK.


Conclusion


Korea is making waves in the streetwear industry. And this is further fueled by fashion brands obtaining licenses from overseas brands.

They put a breath of fresh air into even well known overseas brands by their designs and fit that cater to the Asian market.

We cannot wait to see what other licenses Korean fashion brands will be acquiring in the near future!

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