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THE RETURN OF ROYAL FASHION!
East Asian dresses like Kimonos, Hanbok and Hanfu enjoy greater prominence and influence in the world of fashion than ever before. There was a time, though, when the traditional garm e n t seemed in danger of disappearing from the daily wardrobe of East Asian women, relegated to rare outings and special occasions for formal events such as weddings, comingof-age days, and tea ceremonies. However, in recent years these traditional dresses have enjoyed a renewal, gaining attention both in their respective countries and abroad as a sophisticated and elegant form of dress suitable for everyday and formal occasions.
These traditional dresses are colourful outfits which are now modernised to give a new touch. The kimono or Hanboks have influenced the ideas of many designers, providing inspiration for new fashion resources. It could be argued that few traditional garments have inspired designers to the degree that the kimono and Hanbok have.
Many members of K-pop groups like BTS, SHINee, and Exo in recent years have donned many modern combinations of Hanbok and initiated the trend.
Despite the integration of Asian elements in current high fashion, there is still work to be done to ensure that kimono crafting traditions survive and even thrive.
On account of the growing Hanbok fashion, famous designer Leesle Hwang, the designer of the company Leesle, reported a surge in sales after BTS’s Jimin wore one of her hanbok ensembles at the 2018 Melon Music Awards in Seoul. “It’s astonishing how many people met Leesle because of that one performance,” she added. Another business, A Nothing, garnered 8,000 followers when another BTS member, Jungkook, donned its clothing.
As European demand for these modified kimonos and Hanbok (also known as nightgowns, though they were not intended to be worn while sleeping) outpaced Japanese & Korean artisans’ production times, the Dutch turned to artisans in India and, later, European tailors to replicate the garments in textiles sourced from various countries.