Fashion Updates

TIME by Hyundai Department Store Group set for global luxury brand status

Published: July 22, 2023
Author: Fashion Value Chain

As Handsome Corp., a fashion company under the Hyundai Department Store Group in South Korea, commemorates its 30th anniversary this year, it has set its sights on transforming its women’s clothing brand, TIME, into a global luxury brand.

Chairman Chung Ji-sun of the Hyundai Department Store Group expressed his ambition to not only establish TIME as a prominent player in the Korean fashion scene but also as a representative of a global luxury brand. The group’s acquisition of Handsome in 2012 laid the foundation for this vision.

Chung’s ambitious endeavours have garnered significant interest, both domestically and internationally, in light of the surging popularity of K-culture and the elevated position of K-fashion. Experts eagerly anticipate the impact of these bold moves.

As per the Hyundai Department Store Group, Handsome is set to introduce a fresh collection named THE TIME, with a focus on the global market, to commemorate TIME magazine’s 30th anniversary. A noteworthy occurrence took place at the Seoul Wave Art Centre where Handsome, which was founded in 1987, hosted its debut independent fashion show, making it uncommon for a corporate fashion brand, rather than a designer brand, to take on such an initiative.

In preparation for the show, Handsome meticulously crafted over 100 products for the fall/winter season, reinterpreting TIME’s signature items like tailored jackets. Approximately 50 of these products were showcased during the event.

Commencing next year, Handsome aims to join the prestigious Paris Fashion Week in pursuit of increasing TIME’s current revenue of 370 billion won ($284 million) to reach the 500 billion won threshold within the upcoming five years.

Chung’s core management philosophy centres around “discovery of optimal value through reframing.” In his New Year’s address, he stressed the importance of restructuring business practices with a renewed outlook and strategy, breaking free from traditional paradigms to align with ever-changing business landscapes. Chung believes that a competitive advantage in the fashion industry lies in human resources, prompting efforts to expand Handsome’s talent pool. Since acquiring the company in 2012, the number of Handsome employees has tripled from 540 to 1,509 as of March this year. The TIME brand now boasts a dedicated research and development (R&D) team comprising over 100 members, making it the largest of its kind in Korea for a single brand.

Rather than opening numerous new stores, the company focused on transforming existing stores into luxurious spaces befitting a premium brand. These efforts have paid off, as Handsome achieved its best performance to date despite the downturn in the fashion industry caused by the pandemic. In comparison to the previous year, sales increased by 11.2% to reach 1.54 trillion won ($1.18 billion), while operating profit grew by 10.6% to 168.3 billion won. TIME alone also achieved record-breaking sales last year.

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