ADER Error first popped on our radar a little over two years ago, when the Seoul-based brand caught our eye for its oversized shapes, colorful seasonal offerings, and cozy knitwear. Established in 2014, in four years it’s become a truly global brand, stocked in boutiques like Andreas Murkudis and The Store in Berlin, Tom Greyhound in Paris, and e-commerce shops like SSENSE.
What’s more, they’ve recently dropped a collaborative capsule collection with Puma, including several sneakers that practically flew off the shelves after they released. We visited their Seoul showroom during Seoul Fashion Week and spoke with Kevin Lee, one of the label’s unofficial faces (ADER Error is adamant that customers remain free to define the brand on its own terms, so most of its team prefers to remain behind-the-scenes). We talk about the changing perceptions around Korean fashion, and how it’s benefitting from a global embrace of K-culture as a whole.
How much has ADER Error grown in the past few years?
Our crew is almost 40 people–including our flex store staff and showroom staff. At our headquarters there are around 20 people. There are teams such as design, merchandising, marketing, customer care, art, visual and display team.
What inspired you to start this brand, and has that changed as you’ve grown?
We started this brand because we wanted to do something crazy and totally new, creative things—some of our crew studied food, some graphics, some illustration, and other trades. We have all different backgrounds. Almost one year after, it turned to a real business, so we have to think about a real business model.
Now we’re thinking we are not just fashion brand, but a culture brand based in fashion. We would like to do everything based in fashion, because the fashion expression makes everything look cool. For now, we are doing the main collections—Spring/Summer and Fall/Winter—two times a year, and there are some collaborations too.
Last year we launched our lifestyle brand DAD—Day After Day. That brand carries only soap for now, but there will be some more lifestyle lines, such as perfume and diffusers. As you can see, we are very interested in playing with other forms of expression. Now we are getting a lot of proposals for interior work. As a brand, that’ll be very interesting for us.
Why branch out into different fields?
I think we are expecting that we’ll be more in different industries, not just fashion. We want to a lot of different collaborations with non-fashion brands, and we’d like to be the communicators between artists, fashion designers, and customers.
A lot of people think art and fashion are very difficult to access. We want to make them more close, and so we’d like to make our customers and those who like our brand to feel more connected to fashion and the arts through our content. That’s really, that’s one of our goals—to make that connection.
How would you say that social media has help grow your business?
Before we launched this brand, we studied all social channels, including the web, mobile, and all platforms. At the time, we thought mainly Instagram would be the most powerful platform. From the launch, we haven’t had any runway shows or presentations—neither in Korea nor outside of it. We just focused on our social channels, and I think almost more than 90% of people who know our brand find it through Instagram, Tumblr, Facebook, or Pinterest.
Where would you place ADER Error’s space in Korea’s fashion and art scene?
These days lot of people around the world are interested in K-fashion, K-music, K-drama, K-entertainment—all K culture—especially K-fashion. There are a lot of amazing designers and fashion brands, and due to a trend embracing K-culture, they’re getting a lot of interest.
What global impact would you say the brand has on shifting the world’s perception on how the world views fashion and art in Korea?
There is a lot of prejudice in Asian fashion—in Korean fashion, especially. A lot of people compare it to Japanese fashion brands, and the fact is that lot of people didn’t think Korean fashion brands were cool. As a brand based in Seoul, we wanted to do something totally new.
When we launched this brand, we wanted to the attention of not only in Korea, but the world. If we got the right kind of attention, we could support a lot of Korean culture, Korean art, and fashion. These days, a lot of people say that thanks to our brand, a lot of Korean fashion is getting attention. If we can help support Korean brands or Korea’s fashion scene, we are so happy about that. I think now is the time to catch that opportunity, to go more worldwide, express our identity, and communicate more widely.
For more ADER Error, check out their latest Puma collaboration.