Posted on August 21 2020
Article by: Amos Chin
The ubiquity and omnipresence of K-pop stars across social media have gained the genre new traction and clout. With the bright colours and bold prints that are characteristic of K-pop acts, it is no surprise their fashion has taken the world of social media by storm. These K-pop darlings have taken the most prosaic articles of fashion and turned them into something trendy, pushing boundaries and creating a distinct new style of their own.
And in Korea, makeup has no gender or sexuality. It is gender-neutral, not necessarily feminine. Even the males are painting their faces in a myriad of colours. BTS, or Beyond the Scene, a seven-member South Korean boy band is a classic example with their brazen penchant for bright eye shadows and pastel-coloured hairstyles. They have been normalising make-up for men and even sponsoring a Korean beauty brand VT (BTSxVT).
With their milky-white complexion and glowing skin, they are the epitome of beauty. The quash the notion that makeup is only meant for females. They redefine the parameters of masculinity, by boldly showing the world that makeup is more about enhancing one’s confidence and less to do with one’s sexuality. In 2019, they were the only group (since the Beatles) to obtain three number-one albums on the Billboard 200 chart within a year. They are a pop-culture music phenomenon that transcends age, culture and language. Since crashing into the music scene, they have become a worldwide sensation, and are making waves by creating new standards for fashion. For example, when rapper Suga from the group wore a checked shirt designed by Virgil Abloh, searches for it increased 120 per cent.
From streetwear to luxury brands, all the members, Jin, Suga, RM, J-Hope, Jimin, V and Jungkook are all known for their unorthodox styles Jin with his reputation for effortless chic in Givenchy, Suga for his minimalist looks from Fear of God, RM in his Japanese streetwear from Yamamoto, WTAPS, and NEIGHBOURHOOD, the ever-modish J-Hope in KAWS, Supreme and Balenciaga, while V and Jimin sporting looks from Chanel, Yves Saint Laurent and Gucci, and finally, Jungkook all decked out in his beloved Carhartt.
Even their sartorial choices at their Grammy debut in February 2019 raised a few eyebrows. The game-changers appeared in custom Korean tuxedos (instead of customised garb by mainstream international designers), specially created by two South Korean designers, JayBaek Couture and Kim Seo Ryong. In their album Map of the Soul: Persona, they flaunted baby pink and pastel tailored outfits, and on the song, Boy With Luv, the guys paraded their Valentino shirts and denim jackets, Saint Laurent t-shirts and a striped Alpaca-blend sweater from Isabel Marant Étoile.
They have to date had several flourishing partnerships with imminent names like Puma (for tracksuits and sneakers) and even character brand Line Friends for souvenirs and memorabilia such as plush dolls cups and stationery. Apart from their music, their merchandising empire is massive enough to rival any Western pop star, along with their unparalleled social media presence that reaches millions of global consumers. There is no stopping the zeal that surrounds the group — they have revolutionised the world of K-pop and fashion for good.