My first impression of fashion in Korea came from a few pictures I saw on one of the most prominent style blogs in the world: The Sartorialist. Photographer and blogger Scott Schuman spent a few days in Korea in January of this year and shot a few off-the-cuff pictures of subjects on the street in Sinsa, Gangnam.
Now that I live here (and spend most of my time in a university district), my impression of Korean fashion is different from what the above images allowed me to perceive. Although I think that most youthful, fashion conscious Koreans are exceedingly well-dressed and I still enjoy scouring the streets for interesting ensembles when I’m wandering around the city, I’ve started to notice that everything’s same-same now. It’s as if most young Koreans, although incredibly stylish, wear a trendy uniform which separates them from the different ages in this Confucian society, but not from one another. Spray-on jeans, tight fitting t-shirts and boots or trendy trainers for the guys. A slight variation for the girls, but you still see the same items everywhere; long flowing or super short skirts; tight-fitting, shoulder covering tops; high high heels or cute flat lace-up pumps.
I can’t decide whether this is a case of the supply driving the demand or demand driving the supply. While shopping in most independent boutiques in Korea it seems that, naturally, the more affordable clothing is the most duplicated clothing. It also feels that there is one supplier for fashionable clothing in all of Korea and that every single shop uses that supplier solely to fill their shelves.
What do you think? Do they shops stock the clothes that the consumers want or is style in Korea driven by fast and cheap fashion, bought in bulk, limiting the consumer in their sartorial choices?
Also, how amazing are this guy’s leopard print slippers?
Images: The Sartorialist