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Korean streetwear brand Acmé de la vie continues international expansion

Korean streetwear brand Acmé de la vie (ADLV) is continuing its international expansion, with the opening of its third store in Australia this week.

Located at Westfield Chastwood on Sydney’s North Shore, it will be followed by another in November this year, this time at Sydney Central Plaza in the CBD. By 2025, the brand plans to have 12 stores in the country. 

But the well-loved Korean brand isn’t stopping there.

“We are going to open ADLV stores in Vietnam this year, and we have signed the exclusive contract with a Vietnam distributor, the location of the stores have been checked and everything is going well,” co-founders and twin brothers Jae-Mo Gu and Jin-Mo Gu told Inside Retail.

“We are discussing entering the Thai market, and we will try to enter the European and American markets that we have not yet explored.” 

Less than five years after opening their first store in Seoul’s Gangnam district in 2017, the twins now have a network of more than 20 ADLV stores in Korea and 32 stores in China. ADLV also sells on Tmall, Qoo10, Shoppee, Lazada and its own global e-commerce sites.

Interestingly, Jae-Mo and Jin-Mo revealed that since opening in Australia, they have found that the majority of local consumers are more willing to spend compared to the rest of the world. 

“This might be due to the stronger Australian currency compared to most of the Asian countries. The average store revenue in Australia is the highest across all our international stores,” they said.

Indeed, hallyu is well and truly on its way around the world. A Chinese term that literally translates to ‘Korean wave’, it refers to the global popularity of Korean pop culture, entertainment, music, TV and movies, and according to the Korean Foundation for International Cultural Exchange, it was worth US$12.3 billion in 2019.

According to Jae-Mo and Jin-Mo, Korean fashion has an “easy accessibility” about it and at ADLV, it’s all about unisex comfort and cosiness. It’s perhaps best known for its ‘baby face’ prints on its oversized unisex t-shirts, hoodies and fun collaborations with brands such as Care Bears and The Simpsons. Earlier this year, the brand also released a collection with Lisa from K-pop girl brand Blackpink. 

However, translating this particular aesthetic across several markets and regions has been a challenge for the brand.

“Although global trends are roughly the same, it is not easy to gain popularity from several countries at the same time,” the brothers revealed. 

“Since the styles and patterns that customers prefer in each country are different, it is very important to grasp key [trends] before developing overseas markets. And it is very difficult to reflect all needs of customers in our designs, but it is still necessary to meet [them] to a certain extent.”

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