If South Korea is dominated by KakaoTalk, the smartphone messenger application with over 40 million Monthly Active Users, other East Asian countries, especially Japan and Hong Kong, is obsessed with LINE, which is an application operated by Line Corporation, the Japanese arm of Korea’s Naver Corporation.
Unlike other messengers, both KakaoTalk and Line actively engage the use of character emojis, which can simplify the chat and amplify the emotional expression. Line Friends, which are featured characters that are shown in such character emojis, are made into merchandised products like plush dolls and tech accessories as well, being popularly used by the application’s users.
This spring, Line is trying something new, inviting its characters to apparels. In collaboration with Pushbutton, which is a fashion brand launched by designer Park Seung-gun, Line is to launch a collaborative fashion brand PLF, Pushbutton X Line Friends.
On the runway of Seoul Fashion Week on March 27, PLF’s very first apparels were unveiled. From the clothing items like jeans and shirts to fashion accessories like snap backs and bags to beachwear, PLF’s apparel comprises gears from head to toe – with your beloved Line Friends engraved somewhere in your garment. Some are hidden as a pattern of your dress and some are boldly displayed as one large printing on your shirt.
“Since Line already has launched basic garments with Line Friends character printings, I wanted to differentiate PLF from designs which just use Line Friends characters as an object of printing,” said designer Park Seung-gun. “Since it’s an official launching, I put much effort on the establishment of PLF’s own identity.”
PLF’s items will become available online on April 14, as well as from internationally located stores in May.
By Heewon Kim