The High Fashion of Kpop

BTS, Blackpink, EXO, Red Velvet; these are just a few of the Korean Pop sensations taking over the world. Whether or not you have dared to venture into the rabbit hole of fanaticism called Kpop, it is without a doubt that these global acts have a mesmerizing appeal with their music, beauty, and culture. However, what got me into Kpop was the fashion.

With every musical act or starlet, of course, comes stylists, dressing clients to the nines for stages, carpets, and simply a paparazzi filled step out. Since the times of the Backstreet Boys and Spice Girls, styling has been a major part of marketing group acts. What each member wears defines them as an individual or the group holistically. Whether one member has their own distinct style or the group collectively matches, fashion is just as important as the face in displaying a picture perfect collective. While music forefronts the sensationalism of Kpop acts, something what must be noted is the unique, chic, and bold fashion that adds to the eye catching appeal.

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From music videos, to music shows, award shows, and, of course, concerts, Kpop acts are always styled to convey the specific concept of their latest release. However, a simple arrangement of matchy clothes is taken up a step when it comes to the high fashion of Versace, Gucci, Fendi, Burberry, and more. In South Korea’s music industry, there are six music shows in which acts perform their latest single and vie to be trophied song of the week. Thus, each act may perform up to six times a week for several weeks, needing distinct styling for each stage appearance. Music show performances are a major part of the bait for Kpop fans, as each stage is a must see in order to support an act, see if they win, and also, to see what outfit they sported. Somehow they even make it look like they haven’t broken a sweat from dancing in perfect synchronization in thousand dollar outfits!

In the top Kpop group BTS’s latest music video for their single “Idol“, the video’s vivacity was enhanced by the likes of luxury pieces from Gucci, Valentino, and Alanui. 384 million views and counting for “Idol”, BTS is no stranger to the spotlight and high fashion, nor are their Korean contemporaries. They continue to grow in worldwide popularity, especially in the US industry where they have attended several award shows, including the Grammy’s.

Set to jumpstart an inaugural US tour at Coachella, hit girl group Blackpink are also friends of high fashion. In their summer hit music video “Ddu-Du-Ddu-Du“, currently with 687 million views on Youtube, the four girls are seen in Alexander McQueen, Dolce & Gabbana, YSL, Balenciaga, Chanel, and yes, much more. One of the groups members, Jennie, is even an ambassador for Chanel as well. You can find the group colorfully gracing the cover of Billboard magazine this month.

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In the past year, Burberry has been amongst the trendiest of luxury brands of Kpop idols. Groups such as Winner, Pentagon, and CLC have made it apart of their promotion apparel, while others have sported Burberry at fashions shows, for photoshoots, and in South Korea’s pivotal airport photo ops. From coats, to tops, and even hats, the signature black, white, tan, and red plaid of Burberry has been hard to escape and increasingly enjoyable.

Although much of Kpop is represented through groups, the soloist hold their own as well, especially with their fashion. Atop Korean singers and rappers, Kim Hyuna– who some may recognize as the girl from Gangnam Style– is the fashionista who stole my heart on Instagram at the same time I fell in love with her music. She makes sure to flaunt her never ending supply of Balenciaga shopping spree bags to Alexander Wang and Gucci bags. Also, on stage, no outfit goes forgotten, especially when she dares to wear giant furs and giant heels in popping colors to match her hard hitting songs and choreography. She is also a Puma ambassador and muse of photoshoots for magazines such as Dazed and Cosmopolitan.

Outside of well known luxury brands, some Kpop idols have also embarked on their own fashion endeavors. Most renowned among idols pursuing design is Jessica Jung with her Blanc & Eclare line. With the name translating to mean “clean and crisp,” the former Girls’ Generation member is always just that when attending fashion shows all around the world. While Jung’s line has been active since 2014, a star from another famous group, Apink’s Kim Namjoo, has just recently embarked on a solo endeavor with her line, Sugar Please, released internationally on Valentine’s Day.

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Also, not all Kpop idols wear renowned name brand outfits 24/7 and on every stage. There is also hard work and lots of time put in by their stylists to actually design and custom make outfits for their performances. When not every brand can provide matching outfits that are just the right amount of different for each person, stylists are able to give each group member unique accents that set each outfit apart, while also maintaining cohesion.

So, in case you needed another reason to fall into the arms of Kpop or any reason to at all, look to the fashion. Clothes speak no foreign language, therefore there is nothing to fear when admiring this side of Kpop. The stars of this rapidly uprising industry are not only becoming music moguls but fashion icons as well.

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