Fashion, Identity
& Korea



Fashion is a big part of identity, whether it is used to express yourself in outlandish ways, maybe dressed head to toe in outfit made from your grandma’s old curtains. Or you use it to blend in, wearing a black t-shirt with black jeans and are constantly mistaken for the barista at your local café. No matter how much people say they do not care about the way they dress, they still have to make a choice every morning and that choice will in some way represent who they are.

Two years ago, I spent three months in Korea, most of which was spent in Seoul, it was the longest period of time I had spent in a foreign city. During this time, I spent many hours of my day roaming the streets of different areas of Seoul, taking in the different landscapes and cultural differences, but mostly looking at the people. I had always admired Korean style, an almost uniform look that is favoured by K-Pop and K-Drama stars. Beginning my time in Korea I was surprised at how many people dressed like this, thinking that Koreans as a whole are very stylish. But I soon found that as individuals this wasn't so true, everyone was a copy of everyone. This wasn't congruent to just the young, it would seem that if you fit into a specific socio category then you dressed appropriately. I realised that in Korea, fashion wasn’t so much about showing how different to everyone you are, but how similar you are, which highlights the collectivism ideals found in Korea.

A lot of Korean trends can be traced back to interpretations of styles that first appeared in western societies, particularly the US. Yet with the current rise of Korean media, we are seeing a shift, with Korean influence seeping into the foreground of western societies.