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What’s up with Korea’s Passion for Fashion?
HERALD  |  Herald@cauon.net
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승인 2008.02.20  23:32:53
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Look around you. What do you see? An energetic city full of modernity and metropolis zest at it’s best. This love for modernity not only shows in the “pali pali” lifestyle of Korean’s everyday lives, but in their fashion sense as well. Just like Seoul’s sleek architecture and well planned city structure, their clothing style compliments and completes the whole city vibe.

So you’re getting ready for school, and discover you don’t have any more clean socks! What are you to do? Luckily you live in Korea, and can find socks, stockings, and leggings at almost every street corner! I never thought I could literally walk a couple of yards outside my apartment and find a wide variety of socks and other clothing essentials.

With small street shops, subway shops, department stores, and markets everywhere, it’s evident that fashion and appearance play a huge role on Korean society and culture. You can find clothing, shoes, make-up, and accessories just about anywhere, there are mirrors everywhere as well?just to make sure you always look your best. Some people may view this as vanity, but Korean’s obsession with shopping, style, and appearance is a symbol of class and self-dignity. Almost everyone I see is dressed with poise and confidence, whether they’re wearing just jeans and a t-shirt, or a fancy business suit.

Without a doubt, Korea’s fashion can be described as conservative, clean, modern, classic, trendy, and uniform. You can definitely get a sense of someone’s personality and lifestyle by their dress, but overall, everyone’s fashion is up-to-date with current fashions being sold in stores, what’s seen in movies, television, billboards, and what everyone else is wearing.

What are the latest fashion trends?  It’s all about wearing lots of layers and having lots of accessories that compliment your clothing?maybe a bag, scarf, necklace, bracelet, earrings, hat, or all of the above. I’ve found that people like to wear clothes with English text, American brand names, and photos of Western celebrities, but usually the words are just words, and only serve as the "design" and the literal meaning doesn’t really have any personal meaning. Guys can be found wearing jeans?in every wash, color, and style possible; and women love to dress in cute dresses, mini-skirts, leggings, jeans, are adorned with accessories, and anything that compliments their femininity. I especially find it amazing that women walk everywhere in high-heels, and still manage to maintain their fresh and dazzling appearance despite climbing up-and-down stairs and passing through large crowds all day. Generally, no one really goes beyond the fashion trends into the artistic side of fashion. Although, while strolling around Hongdae, you’re bound to find the creative dressers?wearing the latest hip-hop gear or punk rock fads.

I’ve asked various people what’s the best of-the-best when it comes to shopping for certain items in particular situations, and here’s what I’ve discovered:

Situation Where do I go?
I just got done with class, and I need a cute outfit to wear tonight. I have one hour! Subway and street shopping, it’s everywhere, fast, and cheap, but still fashionable and trendy. Best subway shopping: Express Bus Terminal.
It’s 3a.m. and I feel like shopping!  Dongdaemun, the best and cheapest place to buy absolutely everything, all day and night! Also, there’s always great entertainment going on outside the malls!
I’m looking for top-of-the-line, luxury, high-fashion.  Department stores, but for the finest luxury items and experience check-out Apujeong-dong and Cheongdam-dong.
I can’t find any shoes and clothes that fit me, anywhere! I need to shop where they have big sizes. Itaewon, an area catered to foreigners; and a great place to find big sizes, great knock-offs, and foreign products.
I feel like splurging on a Chanel bag, but I also want to buy some great imitation accessories, and mid-priced clothing.  Myeong-dong, where you can find mid-class shops, street shops, shopping malls, and department stores?all preferences in one convenient area!

So, what’s up with Korea’s passion for fashion? As, the famous French designer, Coco Chanel once said, “Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only. Fashion is in the sky, in the street, fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening.”
That’s exactly how I’d describe Korea’s passion for fashion.

Emmerine Reynon/ emmpassion@aol.com

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