Fashion has always been a necessary and integral part of K-pop. The music videos and albums of K-pop stars always follow a concept effortlessly coordinated to flow seamlessly to their concert performances.
It’s not just music and image, their street style and airport fashion (yes, what they wear to the airport when they leave for concerts abroad are also a thing) are eagerly discussed and dissected with fashion blogs dedicated to a group or each individual member’s style.
Some of them even have their own brands, and endorsements are just the icing on the cake.
Billboard also reported that according to the global fashion search engine Lyst, fans are wearing the same designers as their beloved K-pop idols.
For its 2018 Year In Fashion report which tracked more than 100 million searches from 80 million shoppers across the globe, Lyst identified K-pop stars as “major global fashion influencers”. Is it any wonder that the fashion world has embraced them?
For the past few years, they’ve become permanent front row fixtures at fashion weeks around the world, bringing their legions of adoring fans to the venues hoping to catch a glimpse of them.
The most famous front row K-pop star is of course G Dragon, who has always been a familiar sight at Chanel. He was also its brand ambassador in 2017. He’s currently doing mandatory military service, but we have no doubt once he’s out, he’ll be back in the fashion spotlight.
Chaerin Lee or CL (formerly of 2NE1) has been seen at Jeremy Scott, Marc Jacobs and Opening Ceremony, and even performed at one of Alexander Wang’s famous after-parties in 2016.
Kim Jae-joong not only sat front row at the Yohji Yamamoto Spring/Summer 2018, he was also backstage shooting photos and being filmed for his variety show, Photo People.
Other famous names seen at fashion week include Suzy Bae, formerly of Miss A at Dior Autumn/Winter 2019, Kai from Exo at Gucci Cruise 2019 and Gucci Cruise 2020, his group member Oh Se-hun at Louis Vuitton Cruise 2019.
Sandara Park (formerly 2NE1), is also a familiar face at fashion weeks. The recent Paris Fashion Week for the Autumn/Winter 2019 collections saw her serving looks at Chloe, Balmain, Off-White, Vivienne Westwood, Thom Browne and Sacai.
Changmin of TVXQ also had the distinction of being the first Korean star to be invited to a Prada show at Milan Fashion Week for its Spring/Summer 2019 show.
Then there are the Blackpink girls – Jennie Kim, who was at the Chanel Spring/Summer 2019 and Autumn/Winter 2019 show, Lisa at Michael Kors Spring/Summer 2019 and most recently, Celine Autumn/Winter 2019, while Rose and Jisoo were at the Coach Spring/Summer 2019 show.
One of the surprises at the recent Paris Fashion Week was Song Min-ho aka Mino, of the boyband Winner who walked the runway for the Louis Vuitton Spring/Summer 2020 show.
Mino has apparently paid his fashion dues – he and group member Lee Seung-hoon were at the Burberry Spring/Summer 2018 show.
He’s also had various endorsements and collaborations, guest-edited Vogue Korea in Dec 2018 and was on the cover of Dazed. He’s not the first though as Jessica Jung, formerly of Girls’ Generation (she’s also a familiar face at fashion week), walked for Dolce & Gabbana’s Spring/Summer 2019 show.
Meanwhile, we’re waiting to see BTS at fashion week in the near future. Perhaps Dior Homme? After all, Kim Jones did recently design the group’s stage outfits for its world tour.