MCM and Sungjoo Group Chief Sung-Joo Kim led the forum on the success of K-Culture
It was left to Founder, Chairperson and Chief Visionary Officer of the Sungjoo Group and Chairperson of MCM, Sung-Joo Kim — affectionately known as Mrs Kim — to remind us of the relevance of this year's Condé Nast International Luxury Conference being based in Seoul.
A stalwart of the luxury community here, and throughout Asia, she knows better than anyone the secret to Korea's success, and brought three of its greatest advocates as endorsement: the Korean hip-hop artist and founder of the AOMG record label, Jay Park; Managing Director of the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art Seoul, Jiyoon Lee; and Professor at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, Sangmin Bae - each of whom commented on how K-Culture has permeated their respective fields.
"When I was younger, everyone automatically assumed I was Chinese, and when I told them I was Korean they didn't know where it was. People are very interested in Korea - it's hot right now. I just had a tour and 85 per cent of the crowd weren't Korean, but they knew every single word of my songs, all of which were sung in Korean. Last year I wore a T-shirt on TV and after it aired, it sold out straightaway. Clothes I wear - and other artists - can start trends in fashion or music."
"The Koreans have very strong passion — they love to share something good with their friends and that feeds into K-Pop. Korean designers are becoming more fashionable and we are creating our own way. Old-school luxury was built on exclusiveness and it's not exclusive anymore because everyone has a luxury brand, so it's becoming a last alternative. We now try to make the customers feel number one and we want to let the customer define the brand."
"The city of Seoul itself is a really inspirational place. The Mayor of Seoul is trying to make it a better city, full of all the creative talents of people here. It's about multidisciplinary creativity. It's happening in Seoul and the rest of Korea and is a regeneration of creative energy and ideas. I think that the Millennial generation is defining Korea in a different way. They are really living in the market, and have crazy creativeness."
By Scarlett Conlon, reporting live from the second Condé Nast International Conference in Seoul
From left: Jiyoon Lee, Sung-Joo Kim, Sangmin Bae, Jay Park and Suzy