Seoul, South Korea is fast becoming a fashion hotspot. The pandemic has sparked a transition towards an ‘untact’ society; a Korean term to describe reducing contact as much as possible, wherever possible. In combination with its rapid consumerism culture, its unique ability to adapt, and an ever-evolving fashion industry; Seoul is booming.
A huge aspect in Seoul’s thriving fashion industry is to do with its evolving youth culture. South Korea’s youth are running the ever-changing fashion scene and are responsible for this culture of ‘hyper trend’; where new styles are coming in and out of fashion at a rapid speed.
Arguably, this rapid nature of changing trends is due to their ‘tech-savvy’ culture; where inspiration and innovation are plentiful. We can see this, in particular, with ‘Gen-Z’ where there is a certain sense of creativity and daring that goes alongside their clothing inspiration.
This sense of daring within fashion is one of the biggest reasons as to why Seoul is becoming so known for its street style. We can see this idea of almost playing around with gender barriers within people’s daily fashion choices. Femininity, in particular, is something that is explored via a number of clothing and beauty outlets where stereotypical ‘female’ styles and silhouettes are explored and used across genders.
We can see this blur of gender norms most prominently amongst Korea’s ‘K-pop idols’. ‘K-pop’ refers to Korean pop music, of which is sweeping the world, and uses the term ‘idol’ to refer to its celebrity figures/performers. Arguably, K-pop is one of the largest contributors to South Korea’s rising popularity and fashion scene.
These ‘idols’ are incredibly influential in their fashion choices, of which spread across to the nation’s street styles. The likes of ‘G-Dragon’, ‘V’, and ‘Jennie’ are examples of idols who are known for their unique, yet incredibly influential, spin on fashion trends.
The interesting thing about Seoul’s fashion scene is the fact that it is so varied in its approach. There is no single point of inspiration or foundation; it’s a merge of culture and creativity. We can see points of inspiration taken from both Western and Eastern cultures (of which the aforementioned culture of K-pop idols have helped to encourage).
The Hongdae street style (an area of Seoul famed for its urban fashion scene) utilises this and marries these loose, unisex items with more retro, sporty pieces. This particular spot in Seoul is thriving due to its youthful fashion scene and contributes hugely to Seoul’s fashion week. This clash of East and West allows for a truly unique and vibrant city of style and influence.