The Border of Modern and Traditional: IISE

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It’s no secret that Korea imports numerous foreign brands, but now Korea’s flipping the tables, sending Korean brands to every corner of the globe. Is Seoul the next Tokyo? IISE thinks so.

The founders of accessories brand IISE (pronounced ee-seh), a pair of Korean-American brothers, returned to Seoul after living in China for a few years, surprised by the modernization in such a short time. While in Insadong, Seoul’s traditional culture hub, the pair witnessed a monk walking in traditional clothes and disappearing behind modern buildings with a sack. They became inspired by the twist of traditional and modernization, and in 2013, IISE was born.

IISE, meaning “second generation” in Korean, aims to combine urban taste while preserving traditional Korean influences from the first generation. The unisex pieces from their latest collection are organically dyed through a traditional Korean hand-dyeing process dating back to the 13th century. From larger bags to wallets and cardholders, the quality offsets the price tag of $100-$400. Popular amongst those from the United States, Australia, and Hong Kong, be prepared to have empty pockets every couple of months when IISE receives new product.

When not admiring their favorite monk sack or running IISE, the brothers travel and spend time outdoors to bask in positive energy. They plan to collaborate on a clothing line in the future.

Showing a different side to Korea through deep, natural colors and a traditional aesthetic, IISE is a classic everyone should own.

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