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South Korea’s outdoor-fashion industry in ‘dire’ state

South Korea’s outdoor-fashion industry is in “dire” condition according to a report by Korea Bizwire, with brands and retailers once the leaders of the fashion industry “slowly fading into obscurity”.

Ashley Son writes that LF, the apparel affiliate of LG Group, plans to gradually shut down all Lafuma stores, a French outdoor brand, by next year.

And Millet Edelweiss Holdings, Millet’s Korean branch, is looking for companies interested in a potential take-over.

According to Samsung Fashion Institute, the South Korean outdoor fashion market, which was as large as 7.1 trillion won (US$6.1 billion) back in 2016, shrank to only 4.5 trillion won by 2017.

K2 Korea’s annual sales dropped from 352.1 billion won in 2016 to 308.8 billion won in 2018. Black Yak’s yearly sales also fell, from 426.7 billion won to 387 billion won over the same period.

Song says experts cite the overall economic downturn, excessive competition, and the rise of casual fashion as the cause of the demise of South Korea’s outdoor-fashion industry.

Hiking apparel, once signature products made by outdoor fashion companies, have also been taken over by golf-wear brands.

With a strong impression among South Koreans that outdoor fashion is for the older generations, younger South Koreans are also shunning outdoor brands.

“Too many companies are competing in an overheated market, which has resulted in excessive competition as well as slower technological advances,” said a source familiar with the industry.

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