South Korea was fully represented for the upcoming 2023 spring/summer season at New York Fashion Week this year. Not only did the Concept Korea SS23 show spotlight three emerging Korean designers UL:KIN, BESFXXK and CAHIERS, but it highlighted additional areas of K-culture throughout the evening showing.
For the Tuesday evening (Sept. 13) show, Min, the singer-actress and former member of chart-topping girl group miss A, was in attendance at the show alongside cast mates Abraham Lim and Patrick Park all in the midst of rehearsal for KPOP, the forthcoming Broadway musical about the music scene.
Meanwhile, Stylists and representatives who work behind the scenes with top K-pop and K-drama talent were seated among NYFW guests. The show had an additional star power boost in the model lineup, with DK of iKON making his runway debut during UL:KIN’s presentation.
The K-pop boy band member (full name Kim Donghyuk) delivered two looks through the show, which showcased eco-friendly UL:KIN’s spotlight on material used in “magnet fishing,” which sifts garbage and debris out of waters, in their creations. For his first look, DK rocked a fisherman-inspired sport coat accentuating his sculpted physique and UL:KIN’s focus on upcycling before he stomped down the catwalk in a leather overcoat with fishnet overlay and pants that resembled a magnet fishing line.
Minutes after making his final turn during UL:KIN’s finale, Billboard caught up with an elated DK backstage at Spring Studios in Tribeca. Visibly ecstatic after his first walk, and as he got touch-ups at his hotel before heading to The Daily’s rooftop afterparty at RT60 at the Hard Rock Hotel, DK opened up about seeing a “dream” come true at the show and previewed new music.
As the likes of TikTok star Dylan Mulvaney and fashion model Coco Rocha celebrated Concept Korea at the afterparty, the singer-songwriter-producer closed his first fashion experience from a reserved table, making sure to shout out his fans — iKON’s iKONICs — even taking time to snap a pic with one who spotted him getting into his private car home after his long, eventful day. Read more with DK below.
Billboard: You just made your runway debut at New York Fashion Week. How are you feeling?
DK: It’s an amazing experience and I’m really honored to be here. I really want to say thank you to UL:KIN, to you and everyone for coming out. I’m so happy; this is my first time doing any kind of walking or runway. This is my dream to come do New York Fashion Week. I really just wanted to come to just take in all things fashion, but now I’ve debuted on the runway. I met a lot of people here and I learned a lot about fashion in general. I’m never going to forget this moment in my life.
What did you learn?
I learned more about the fashion world overall, but mostly how all people really have all different styles, they have their own color, they have different ways of thinking. When I go back to Korea, I want to study and take in more fashion knowledge so I can gain more and more of it.
Are modeling and fashion significant interests of yours?
Absolutely. I love fashion. I have a lot of model friends, they’re awesome, they’re really cool. I’m very happy to know more about their world and their real experience. I asked them for advice and how to just, you know, walk like others models. One of them said, “You’re not a model,” he said. “You’re a singer! Just walk in your own style confidently and show everyone who DK is.”
What other preparations went into this?
Well, I’m on a diet. [Laughs] And I watched a lot of videos of past runway shows and tried to imagine myself in them. I spent two days practicing walking in my house.
As someone from Korea working with a Korean brand, does it feel special to be that representation at an event like this?
Even though there are many great celebrities and models from Korea, I would like to thank UL:KIN for inviting me to the show and I want to share what I experienced today and throughout the whole project with the people of Korea. I’m looking forward to being invited to more and more shows in New York. [Laughs] I’ll be there for you for all seasons.
Were your iKON band members excited?
Oh yeah, I told my members and they’re like, “Oh you’re going to do well, let’s go DK!” These days I really talk a lot with Jay, he’s like an older brother, but he said, “You’re too small to be a model.” And I was like, “C’mon, bro!” [Laughing] He was just joking. He always talks with me and gives me uplifting messages. When I got down to New York, he checked in like, “You OK? How do you feel? Everything’s good? You’re going to do great.” Really supportive.
Do you think any of the other members would make good models?
We have June and Chan; they’re both really tall. Especially Chan, his physicality is perfect for a model. I only just debuted, so I can’t have any real thoughts or tips yet!
Who are some of your favorite brands?
I have a lot of favorite brands, especially UL:KIN. I love streetwear. But these days I’m really looking at Saint Laurent, Christian Dior, Chanel—those are my favorites.
iKON last performed in New York in 2019 after your SXSW performance. How is it coming back?
I was really so excited to come here. This time, I walked a lot. We walked around Wall Street, Battery Park, we walked down Fifth Avenue, and passed by Rockefeller Center. I really felt like, “Wow, I really love this city.” New York and Seoul are similar, but New York is really big—I just love the buildings, the people walking, the whole feeling and vibe. All our members want to come to New York. Jay even replied on my Instagram saying, “I envy you.”
What else is coming with iKON?
These days, the members are focusing on their own schedules. Some of the members are preparing their solo albums, some of the guys are preparing to film in [TV] dramas or a movie. Everybody’s doing their own thing so I think our fans will love it. I hope they like it.
Are you working on music?
I’m still working on my solo album and my members’ solo albums. It’s not collaborations or features I’m producing them—well, I’m trying to, but I’m not sure [if the songs will be chosen].
What’s the sound of your solo music?
Well, there are a lot of great, really talented artists, but I’m trying to cover all genres. When you hear my music, you’re going feel very comforted. These days in Korea, there are a lot of people in the R&B world that I really love like DEAN and Crush. And I’m still a big fan of Chris Brown and Tory Lanez. Now, I’m doing production, writing songs, and trying to jump into the fashion thing. So, please, everybody, look out for me. I’ll always do my best.
Anything else you want to add?
Please make sure this is included: I love our fans, our iKONICs, I really miss them. And I hope to see them soon.