Fashioning tradition in contemporary Korean fashion

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This article reconsiders the debate of ‘self-orientalization’ in Asian fashion within the context of contemporary Korean fashion and its place in the promotion of the national economy and culture through distinctive national images and identity. Case studies of Korean fashion labels such as Tchai Kim and Isae reveal that they have challenged the typical images of hanbok, the traditional Korean dress, and provided styles and brands that resonate with local Korean characteristics as well as global fashion concerns. By reinterpreting traditional shapes and purposes of hanbok, employing traditional dressmaking methods and craft skills, and cleverly presenting and promoting their products and brands, these fashion companies have created a hybrid design and style. This has been built from the development of complex and mutually reinforcing interactions between local and global fashion knowledge and practice. This article argues that these new movements in contemporary Korean fashion provide further understanding of the complex and multifaceted dialectics of Korean fashion, beyond the dichotomy of tradition versus modernity.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)241-261
Number of pages21
JournalInternational Journal of Fashion Studies
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2017


  • Korean fashion
  • self-orientalization
  • national identity
  • globalization
  • tradition
  • hanbok
  • Tchai Kim
  • Isae


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