Brand Journalism

Brand Journalism


Collaboration of Hyosung Advanced Materials and KANGHYUK

More than any other company, Hyosung is committed to environmental preservation and strives to develop and commercialize various eco-friendly materials. Hyosung Advanced Materials produces industrial materials for various applications, making our lives more comfortable and safer with optimal advanced materials. Hyosung Advanced Materials is proud to produce tire reinforcement materials such as tirecords, steel cords, bead wire, and global-quality airbag fabrics. It also supplies aramid and carbon fiber, as well as industrial polyester, nylon, and carpet yarns to global and domestic customers, boasting high market shares. Hyosung Group, including Hyosung Advanced Materials, has always been interested in environmental fashion and fiber trends through upcycling. Through this interest, they came across the eco-friendly upcycling fashion brand 'KANGHYUK.' The collaboration between Hyosung and KANGHYUK brings about a synergistic effect in transforming Hyosung Advanced Materials' airbags into fashionable clothing.



Creating Fashion from Airbags with KANGHYUK

There is a designer who was inspired by the sight of someone picking up airbags that can no longer be used from a scrapyard, while preparing a graduation project. The designer saw the possibility of an airbag, which had once been thrown away after saving a life, being recollected and given new life as material for clothing. This is the environmentally conscious upcycling fashion brand, KANGHYUK, which creates trendy and fashionable clothes that have become synonymous with today's fashion. The brand was launched by Kanghyuk Choi, a graduate of the Royal College of Art in the UK, and is currently being operated with his fellow graduate, Sanglak Shon. KANGHYUK is known for creating clothes with airbags disassembled by hand and using the original pattern and details of the airbag's logo, barcode, holes and stitches to preserve the unique personality of each airbag. This environmentally friendly upcycling fashion brand suggests the future of sustainable fashion by utilizing the otherwise one-time use airbag fabrics.


A special encounter between Hyosung Advanced Materials and KANGHYUK through airbags

What material constitutes the core of KANGHYUK's artwork? The airbag! The primary reason Hyosung Advanced Materials can be the global leader in airbag manufacturing lies in its unparalleled technical prowess, which underpins its exceptional and reliable quality. Airbags must exhibit a paradoxical characteristic of 'external softness, internal strength,’ instantaneously inflating when filled with gas. The airbag fabric demands construction from high-strength yarn that is soft yet durable, able to withstand sudden expansion due to its high-elongation properties, resist momentary high temperatures produced by propellant ignition, and remain preserved for extended periods within a vehicle, demonstrating resistance to fluctuations in temperature and humidity. Only materials that pass such exacting standards can be utilized in airbag production.

Hyosung Advanced Materials is the first domestic and global company to develop and sell Nylon 66 yarn and polyester yarn for airbags, boasting the highest quality and meeting all the criteria above. It is also capable of vertically manufacturing both nylon and polyester airbags. In 2011, it acquired GST (Global Safety Textiles), the world's largest airbag maker, enabling the establishment of a vertical supply chain of airbag yarn, fabric and sewing through GST. As such, Hyosung Advanced Materials firmly retains its position as the world's foremost purveyor of airbag fabrics, covering the majority of the airbag production value chain from the foundational yarn to the OPW that forms the shape of the bag and also the airbag cushion created by sewing the fabric.


A special encounter between Hyosung Advanced Materials and KANGHYUK through airbags

In an interview, Kanghyuk revealed that he faced numerous trials and errors when he first attempted to create clothing using airbags. Acquiring airbag materials was comparatively more straightforward while studying in the United Kingdom; however, it proved challenging in Korea, where he began his formal fashion endeavors. Kanghyuk's brand struggled due to inconsistent airbag fabric thickness, excessively contaminated fabric, and other non-reusable airbag materials, leading him to seek assistance from Hyosung. Chairman Cho Hyun-Joon of the Hyosung Group first recognized KANGHYUK's potential and decided to extend substantial support beyond merely providing sample materials.

Chairman Cho has always been deeply interested in eco-friendly fashion and textile trends. Hyosung Group, known for its eco-friendly initiatives, decided to provide a large quantity of airbag fabric to the fashion brand KANGHYUK, which they had been keeping a close eye on. Hyosung Advanced Materials produces Hyosung's airbag fabric. This vertically integrated company leads the airbag manufacturing industry and is solely responsible for the entire airbag value chain, including yarn, fabric, coating, and cushion. This enabled the company to supply airbag fabrics to the fashion brand KANGHYUK.

Hyosung Advanced Materials provided enough airbag fabrics—made from products that did not meet dimension specifications or were otherwise unsellable—to produce approximately 700 jackets. In May 2021, KANGHYUK debuted its eco-friendly apparel, including ski-inspired jackets and pants crafted from Hyosung Advanced Materials' airbags. This extraordinary, environmentally conscious clothing line also aligns with Hyosung Advanced Materials' aim of developing new materials to enhance safety and comfort in people's lives. The collaboration between the brand KANGHYUK and Hyosung Advanced Materials, resulting in the transformation of airbag fabrics into a unique and delightful fashion, means the beginning of the infinite potential of various materials developed by Hyosung Advanced Materials to provide safety, comfort and a more convenient lifestyle for people.



A Remarkable Union of Hyosung Advanced Materials and KANGHYUK through Airbags

The connection between Hyosung Advanced Materials and KANGHYUK extends beyond fashion apparel; the artist has also showcased sculptural art pieces using eco-friendly seatbelt materials and carbon fiber frames provided by Hyosung Advanced Materials. Incorporating the distinctive characteristics of the industrial materials into his artworks, KANGHYUK artistically reinterpreted them, earning acclaim for presenting a fresh and eco-conscious perspective. Through collaboration with fashion brands, Hyosung Advanced Materials has laid the foundation for innovation within the fashion industry and created opportunities for adding new value to used industrial materials.

Airbags and seatbelt fabrics, designed by Hyosung Advanced Materials to protect passengers, are continuing to be reborn as innovative art pieces. Utilizing lightweight yet high-strength carbon fiber, the artist overcame physical challenges to create visually captivating sculptural works, showcasing the potential for added value in Hyosung-produced materials.

When the intricate details of an airbag - from the placement of holes and stitches to the logo and barcode - are transformed into clothing, designer KANGHYUK claims the fabric itself seems to come alive, conveying a sense of protection. The metamorphosis of life-saving airbags into fashionable jackets exemplifies the boundless possibilities of upcycling. It is time to look beyond the simple recycling of paper cups and plastic bottles and view upcycling with a fresh perspective, as it contributes to building a more diverse and sustainable society.

Hyosung eagerly anticipates further collaborations, similar to the successful partnership wherein eco-friendly airbag materials designed to save lives and protect the environment were given new life in the world of fashion. Hyosung is committed to actively exploring and supporting opportunities that create a virtuous cycle, enabling its sustainable and eco-friendly materials to be reborn in fashion, shape new consumer lifestyles, and protect the planet for future generations.