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Fashion platforms

S.Korea's online fashion platform eyes global expansion

Jan 21, 2021 (Gmt+09:00)

S.Korea's online fashion platform eyes global expansion 


Online fashion platform Musinsa Co., a familiar name among Gen Zers and millennials in South Korea, is ready to go global. This month, the Korean company is set to launch its Japan-based operations and venture into the European markets.

On Jan. 21, the Korean fashion platform announced a strategic partnership with iDEAL People, a multi-line brand agency with expertise in fashion shows both domestic and international, as well as wholesale distribution for overseas markets.

Musinsa will be enlisting iDEAL People's help to introduce Korean designer brands to the global market. The investment amount has not been disclosed.

"We're ready to make another jump by expanding abroad. We are committed to bridging Korean brands and overseas markets," said a Musinsa official, explaining that iDEAL People's experience will help facilitate the process.

Founded in 2008, iDEAL People has represented Korean brands for overseas markets for over a decade, including General Idea, Beyond Closet and KYE.

Musinsa app interface
Musinsa app interface


"We saw an opportunity for Korean fashion to succeed abroad when we did wholesale distribution for local brands such as Andersson Bell and thisisneverthat," said Richard Chun, the founder of iDEAL People.

"Through this partnership, we will expand our overseas channels by identifying local brands with high potential," Chun said.

STARTING ANEW, AWAY FROM HOME

Musinsa began as an online community in 2001 and two decades later it has become the country's top online fashion platform and the 10th company to reach unicorn status.

Last year, the company reported a transaction amount of 1.4 trillion won ($1.3 billion), more than seven times the 199 billion won it pulled in in 2016.

Despite tasting success at home, the company is hungry for more as it considers overseas expansion essential to move forward.

"We saw the rising demand for Korean brands from overseas markets through iDEAL People. We will champion local brands that haven't had the chance to venture abroad, as we prepare for a new beginning," said Han Moon-il, head of growth strategy at Musinsa.

The online fashion platform is not focused soley on the European market, as it will be setting up its Japan-based operation this month. The company will launch a Japanese version of the fashion platform after concluding localization tasks such as logistics, payment systems and local partnerships.

"Localization is crucial in overseas expansion. We are in discussions with several retail companies for potential partnerships," said the Musinsa official.

S.Korea's online fashion platform eyes global expansion 

Musinsa offers a rich selection of over 5,700 brands with around 7.8 million users as of the end of last year. Its private brand Musinsa Standard has also seen rapid growth, posting 110 billion won in revenue, up by 76% from the previous year. 

The company is credited with fostering local brands such as Andersson Bell, Covernat, Kirsh, and thisisneverthat. The company has offered content marketing for brands on its platform via catchy photo shoots and magazine coverage.


Write to Ji-hye Min at spop@hankyung.com

Danbee Lee edited this article.

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