Korean Designer Rok Hwang Collaborates With H&M

H&M’s Rokh Collaboration Will Shoot The Korean Designer Higher Into The Fashion Stratosphere

Courtesy of H&M

When Rok Hwang, creative director at Rokh, was developing his upcoming collaboration with H&M, he was at great pains to achieve the perfect shade of beige. It had to be one that was neither too “formal” nor too “school uniform”, and one that felt “just the right side of vintage” – a touch more black was needed, apparently. It’s a small glimpse into the exacting nature of Hwang’s design process – a multi-faceted flow state that is displayed to full effect in his much-anticipated collection for the high street retailer, which drops on 18 April.

Courtesy of H&M

“Rokh is at the forefront of a new wave of Korean designers whose conceptual-yet-wearable clothes are captivating fashion right now,” says Ann-Sofie Johansson, creative advisor and head of design womenswear at H&M. “We’re proud to present a curated edit of designer Rok Hwang’s adaptable wardrobe classics, and we can’t wait to see how our customers wear them.”

Born in South Korea, Hwang grew up in Austin, Texas, before moving to Nottingham as a teenager. A graduate of Central Saint Martins, under the influential eye of the late professor Louise Wilson, the designer went on to cut his teeth at Phoebe Philo’s Céline, Chloé and then Louis Vuitton, before starting his own label in 2016. LVMH’s Special Prize followed two years later.

This year’s H&M collaboration also places him at the end of a long line of influential design talent that has partnered with the high-street store – from Karl Lagerfeld to Isabel Marant, Comme des Garçons to Simone Rocha. To say he has been busy is an understatement.

Courtesy of H&M

The 58-piece collection, which stays remarkably close to Hwang’s original design DNA, is packed full of quietly subversive yet wearable staples that are sure to win the hearts of the notoriously hard-to-please fashion crowd. “People describe my design process as a form of deconstruction,” Hwang told the New York Times back in 2019. “But actually, I’m reconstructing – I like taking something that already exists and giving it new shape and meaning”.

Indeed, nothing in this collection is quite as it seems. There are unassuming trench coats that contain layers that can be revealed or concealed at will, asymmetric LBDs that transform from midis to minis at the unravelling of small hook-and-eyes fastenings that snake up the hemline, and leather jackets whose sleeves unbutton to form a cape-like silhouette.

Adornments, meanwhile, remain at a minimum, but Hwang’s double belt motif plays a significant role in the edit, cinching everything from knife-pleat trousers (a Vogue favourite from the collection) to voluminous coats. You will also find silver studs splashed across dresses and jackets alike, offering the collection a subtle, punk-inspired twist that keeps it from slipping into the ubiquitous “quiet luxury” category.

Courtesy of H&M

While some designers dream of only the most star-studded individuals wearing their items, Hwang insists that he gets the greatest thrill from seeing his pieces on people in the street, “I love to see how people adapt my designs to their own personal style – everybody brings something different to the table,” he reflects. It’s fair to say that this agenda-setting partnership will only help to shoot his name into a whole new fashion stratosphere.

H&M X Rokh will be available to shop in selected stores and at hm.com on 18 April 2024.

This article was originally published on British Vogue.

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