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Your Korean oppas and idols and

Or why our passion for K-drama and K-pop has given the world its hottest brand ambassadors

HoYeon Jung (Squid Game) for Heron Preston for Calvin Klein Season 2 (From hoooooyeony IG)

Seulgi for Ferragamo (From hi_sseulgi IG)

IU in Gucci. Seulgi of Red Velvet for Ferragamo. Jennie of BLACKPINK and HoYeon Jung for Heron Preston for Calvin Klein. Cha Eunwoo of Astro for Burberry.

The list gets longer every day. We try to get our fill of our favorite Korean stars and K-pop idols not only in K-drama or music videos or livestream shows, but also in today’s coveted premium brands. They have become the style personas of the world’s top luxury brands., the first site in the Philippines to have gathered the biggest number of locally distributed luxury and premium lifestyle brands, couldn’t have chosen a better time and cultural environment to celebrate its first year anniversary this November 3-7.

This is the time the fans—indeed the market in general—remain engaged with and about their Korean stars and idols and diligently follow their styles on social media and other digital platforms. comes at a fortuitous and relevant time when clients are immersed in online activities, especially shopping. is the only retail site in the country that carries luxury, bridge, beauty, home, and food all in one platform.

In only a year, has gained more than 25 million page views, with more than 165 brands and approximately 70,000 products for local distribution.

The trusted brands are carried by the SSI Group, the Philippines’ largest and trusted specialty retailer.

A landmark innovation that rose to the challenge to the Philippine retail industry posed by the pandemic,  represents the resilience of the SSI Group, the Philippines’ largest specialty retailer with over 500 stores across the country.

“We envisioned as an avenue for customers to access their most trusted brands wherever they are, whatever the circumstances might be. Our launch happened in the middle of the pandemic yet even so, the market continued to thrive and even projected an optimistic future for the Philippine economy,” says Anton Huang, president of SSI Group, Inc.

Squid Game’s HoYeon Jung gives the Heron Preston for Calvin Klein’s bralette such a kickass style

The past year has also seen a thriving “conversation” between the stars and idols and the market that has grown globally. Their fanbase awaits with bated breath the IG posts and Tiktoks of the stars and idols wearing or toting the brands—or best, making personal appearances in store openings and on the red carpet. Rose of BLACKPINK slayed in a Saint Laurent black-and-white mini on the red carpet of the 2021 Met Gala in New York. Seulgi, the yellow Ferragamo Trifolio slung on her shoulder, drew hundreds of thousands of likes.

Joy of Red Velvet for Hogan (From hoganbrand IG)

Joy of Red Velvet for Tod’s (From tods IG)

When you see Joy of Red Velvet in Tod’s Tabs sneakers or in her Hogan, you realize that she remains insouciantly youthful, like the teen dreaming to debut as an idol in the popular  The Liar and His Lover, the series that showed off Joy’s singing voice.

Squid Game’s HoYeon Jung, a top model in Korea to begin with, gives the Heron Preston for Calvin Klein’s bralette such a kickass style, so like her character in the series that has become a global phenomenon and which has spawned games even kids are drooling over now.

CL for MontblancXEsquire (From montblanc_kor IG)

Singer CL wears the Montblanc belt bag with swag and nonchalance, and her IG heats up.

When Astro’s Cha Eunwoo (My ID is Gangnam Beauty and True Beauty) made a recent surprise visit in a department store in Seoul, the Burberry Olympia strung across his chest, the Arohas (the Astro fan base) across the globe, from the US to Seoul, Thailand, Manila, went on overdrive posting his photos in their fan sites and social media. That day, the world knew instantly that the 24-year-old “face genius,” as he is called in Korea and elsewhere for his handsome looks, is Burberry’s new brand ambassador. (Watch out for Cha Eunwoo in the movie Decibel to be released soon.)

Then there’s Korean heartthrob-turned-Hollywood star Park Seojun for Calvin Klein, the same PSJ who filled up the Smart Araneta Coliseum when he held a fan meet here in 2019. (Watch out for PSJ in the Marvel movie.)

All this is on top of seeing them wear the brands in the many drama series itself, the most popular recently being Hometown Cha Cha Cha where the female lead Shin Minah’s  character can’t start a new life in a far-flung coastal town without her Roger Vivier shoes and Givenchy makeup.

Each time a drama series rates high (think Crash Landing On You), its casts’ fanbases grow exponentially

Filipinos have yet to move on from the highest-rating Vincenzo, the action-packed yet style-loaded series where we feasted our eyes on female lead Jeon Yeobeen’s Alexander McQueen’s tote and Bottega Veneta nude pouch, and the villain OkTaecyeon (of 2PM)’s Montblanc back pack. (Watch out for OkTaecyeon in Secret Royal Inspector and Joy.)

Indeed the global fashion and style industries, particularly the luxury brands, have been riding high on the Korean Wave that has been sweeping the world. Each time a drama series rates high worldwide (think Crash Landing On You), it puts to the fore its casts whose fanbases grow exponentially—theirs become the faces of the world’s major brands.

However, this style phenomenon didn’t happen overnight. As early as the late ‘90s and early 2000s, Korean stars began to be known worldwide. Then the Hallyu Wave happened, and the likes of Gong Yoo, Lee Min Ho grew their fan bases across continents, including Latin America. (Argentinian fans flew all the way to Seoul to set up vigil on the day their oppa Lee Min Ho was to be discharged from the military so they could catch sight of him.)  Jun Ji Hyun (Legend of the Blue Sea, My Love from the Stars, Kingdom) became one of the first Korean actresses, if not the first, to become the face of an international beauty brand more than a decade ago. (Watch her in Jirisan now.) Of course, K-drama followers know that Gong Yoo and his “bromance” co-star in Goblin, Lee Dong Wook caused their trench coat style to trend in Korea and abroad (thanks to that famous scene in the tunnel) and became brand ambassadors.

‘Korean stars have this amazing ability to connect to fans…. The definition of luxury is becoming more personal’

This early generation of Korean brand ambassadors would be followed by many batches of stars and idols, including Ji Changwook (Cartier) whose huge fan base in the Philippines cuts across class and age demographics.

Why did these Korean celebrities eclipse or supplant—arguably— the Hollywood stars?

Marco Protacio, a former hotelier and now a corporate executive and beauty industry entrepreneur who’s pursuing post-graduate marketing studies, gives a relevant observation: “Korean stars have this power and amazing ability to connect to and create a stronger and meaningful relationship with fans. I believe this is what the luxury brands buy into. They buy into a very valuable, very loyal and very commercially viable relationship between stars and fans that can only add value and prestige to their brand.”

A loyal K-Drama and K-Pop follower himself, he added, “Call it delusional, but I personally feel that my connection with these Korean stars is personal, and sometimes very emotional.”

He pointed out the edge of these Korean stars over western celebrities—their almost 24/7 social media or digital presence. “We all know that ‘celebrity sells.’ However, online image, reputation and conversation are now essential factors that need to be considered in crafting today’s marketing campaigns. These luxury brands who use Korean stars not only recognize the star power of the celebrity but also acknowledge the digital power of the celebrity’s followers. Whether or not the fans can afford luxury is no longer an issue. The definition of luxury is evolving and becoming more personal.

“In today’s world, luxury now involves a brand’s ability to convey an authentic and relevant message that can establish a meaningful connection with the customer. Luxury has become more experiential, more media-savvy, more emotional and more pop-cultural.”

In great part, such is the connection the digital platform has forged with its growing customer base. After its launch on Nov. 6, 2020, brought a seamless online shopping experience to discerning customers who valued quality brands and premium service relevant to the new normal lifestyle.

Over the year, the multi-brand e-commerce site became known for its unique concepts, which bring together many of the SSI Group’s brands across four categories: Trunc for the world’s most desirable lifestyle brands; Trunc Show for the most sought after luxury brands; PowderRoom for the most exclusive beauty collections; and Trunc at Home for the finest furnishings, accessories, wine, and food.

Apart from the authenticity of a trusted platform, has the brands that have become covetable

Apart from the authenticity of a trusted platform, has the brands that have become covetable and top of mind because they are seen on today’s style arbiters. Among these are Salvatore Ferragamo, Gucci, Bottega Veneta, Loewe, Yves Saint Laurent, Montblanc, Tod’s, Alexander McQueen, Givenchy, as well as Michael Kors, Kenneth Cole, Longchamp, Polo Ralph Lauren, Tommy Hilfiger, among others. has the collections of new brand collaborations like Marc Jacobs x Peanuts and BOSS x Russell Athletic. BLACKPINK’s Jennie is highlighted in the collection with Heron Preston for Calvin Klein Season 2.’s newest brand additions include DKNY and Longchamp.

Customers who are diligent in their beauty and skincare regimen can finally get their hands on Fenty Beauty, Hourglass, Biotherm, Philosophy, SKII, and Nest at PowderRoom. Following these are more soon-to-come favorites including Juice Beauty, Huda Beauty, Kerastase, and Payot.

Trunc at Home, the site’s most recently-launched concept, has the world’s top home and living brands, as well as consumable items from M&S Food and TWG Tea.’s birthday celebration this November is a two-way street as the multi-brand platform treats new and loyal customers to exclusive discounts and promos from the world’s most coveted brands.

As the digital platform continues to promise fast and convenient deliveries to happy customers, offers free shipping on its birth date: November 6! The limited-time offer can be used multiple times and on top of other promos. (Brand exclusions apply.)

From November 3 to 7, all shoppers will receive a Php 500 voucher, which can be redeemed from December 1 to 31 with a minimum spend of Php 1,500. The voucher is applicable on regular, sale, and even markdown items. (Brand exclusions apply.)

Read more:

How Trunc, in only a year, became game changer in online retail

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