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Fashion trends

Korean men in pink, disrupting traditional fashion

Oct 09, 2020 (Gmt+09:00)

Kim Jayeon
Global K-pop sensation BTS made headlines when they all dressed in pink for their "Boy with Luv" music video. The color pink, a so-called feminine color, has captivated the attention of many male celebrities in South Korea. Popular actors and singers such as Lee Jun-ki, SooHo and Park Bo-gum have followed the lead of BTS, adding touches of pink to their outfits, which in turn, has helped break th stereotype of pink being a "girly’ color." 

While fashion trends displayed by celebrities such as BTS played a significant role in shifting the public's perspective on pink, Korean society’s increasing awareness of gender neutrality is the biggest factor prompting the transition.

Gender-less style has dissolved the fashion distinction between men and women, emerging as a prominent trend in recent years within the Korean fashion industry. As people increasingly reject traditional gender roles and prefer to express their own personalities, pink, formerly distinguished as a color reserved for girls, has ironically become a symbol of gender neutrality.
BTS, all dressed in pink

Flexibility in gender roles within the fashion and beauty industry alongside the genderless fashion trend have changed the way we see consumers. It is notable that marketing now aims to appeal to the many facets of an individual, or their "multiple personas." Psychiatrist and psychoanalyst Carl Gustav Jung, who fintroduced the concept of "persona" to the general public, famously said “Humans have 1,000 different personas and use the right one for each given situation.”

A similar trend is seen in the emergence of "evening consumers" who emphasize work life balance to develop their full identity and preferences, instead of defining themselves only through their professional titles or careers. With these changes, a wider range of styles has become necessary to express consumers' various personas.

People wish to express themselves flexibly based on the situation rather than having a fixed style based on their professional identities. In this sense, multi-functioning products have become popular, since they cater to consumers who need a wide range of styles to express their different personas.

Moreover, brand collaborations between art-fashion brands and other industries are gaining wider regognition as they appeal to the new type of consumers. We live in an age where anyone can become an influencer or celebrity using social media platforms.

The genderless fashion trend in Korea coupled with the multi-persona craze will manifest itself in more diverse forms. Multi-persona, a key word in this year's consumption trends, is changing lifestyles and shopping patterns of consumers in the digital age. Men who wear black suits for their weekday meetings and switch to pink cardigans on the weekends are considered charming. We are living in an era where segmented and personalized marketing strategies are necessary to capture the multiple personas of Korean consumers.

By Kim Jayeon

Kim Jayeon is a former model and fashion tech entrepreneur based in Seoul. Kim received an MBA from MIT Sloan School of Management. Kim previously worked as the director for Gucci Korea. She is currently the CSO and co-founder of Nuonchic Inc, the world's first maker of personalized intimate wear using an AI curation platform.

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