That Drum Machine Ain’t Got No Soul, and Seoul Ain’t Got No Style; Thoughts on Seoul’s Fashion Scene

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Fashion terrorists, the lot of them. They were all fashion terrorists…I was overwhelmingly told, often from people with little-to-no style, that I would be so bored in South Korea. Even at Seoul Fashion Week, I was assured I would be unbelievably and unforgivably bored.

Why?

Because, they’ve simply got no style.

I wasn’t sure how to take it, why was everyone so focused on reassuring me of my imminent boredom? Perhaps it’s because I can’t hide from my fashion persona. No matter who I met in South Korea, be they native, foreign or just passing through, made vocal assumptions about my having a fashion career. Clearly, I was one of those Fashion People. Clearly, I needed to be warned. Even some of the Korean locals I met asked me, in my professional opinion, if I thought all Koreans just tried to look the same? SeoulFashionWeekSS2017-Fashion-Needs-Jesus.gif

Even by the time Seoul Fashion Week rolled around, some of the international press (that stayed on the ground for approximately 1-2 days) made bold assumptions about how they lacked style and they have no subcultures, often comparing it to the nearby island nation which has made waves in the fashion industry (Japan, if you hadn’t caught my drift).

What was this all about? Here’s my response to the whole “They All Look Alike” Camp:

Plenty of foreigners come from countries and communities where “they all look alike too”, the difference being less noticeable because of physical differences in racial spectrum, not because the lot of them are actually dressing vastly differently. It’s that tribalism that we lean to as humans, in hyper-diverse cities, however, this tribalism may simply have more striking visual differences, but take out the varying racial features, plenty of people still look very much the same. People stick to their uniforms, whatever those uniforms may be. The Wall Streeters have their own uniform, sure one may have faded hair, one may have blonde straight hair, one may have brown wavy hair, but rest assured, there’s still a uniform that is relatively easy to spot. In other words, these self-appointed fashion critics are missing a lot of the bigger point, simply because they are looking at a more homogenous major city. Funny enough, many of these foreigners who were so quick to dismiss Seoul’s fashion, dressed eerily similar themselves, they just looked a tad bit more diverse.  *DRAMATIC EYEROLL* See?

“You are not special. You’re not a beautiful and unique snowflake. You’re the same decaying organic matter as everything else.”

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Le sigh.

Now that I’ve managed to insert an alarmingly accurate quote from one of my favorite books/films of all time, let’s look at some street fashion from the emerging Seoul scene, shall we? :

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@Apehouse

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seoul-fashion-week-streetstyle-fashion-needs-jesus-6seoul-fashion-week-streetstyle-fashion-needs-jesus-9seoul-fashion-week-streetstyle-fashion-needs-jesus-8seoul-fashion-week-streetstyle-fashion-needs-jesus-16seoul-fashion-week-streetstyle-fashion-needs-jesus-11seoul-fashion-week-streetstyle-fashion-needs-jesus-15

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@TheSeoulChild

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So, there you have it, ending with visions from the front row. The moral of the story, Seoul is still emerging and developing a sense of who it is in fashion, but it doesn’t mean fashion doesn’t exist there, there’s a lot more to it than meets the eye. See even more by following the story on Instagram: @FashionNeedsJesus

XoXo,

S.

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