Shilla’s hanbok policy causes furor

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Shilla’s hanbok policy causes furor


Lee Hye-sun / Lee Boo-jin

Lee Boo-jin, the CEO of the Hotel Shilla Company, apologized Wednesday to renowned hanbok designer Lee Hye-sun, who was barred from the Shilla Hotel’s buffet restaurant, The Parkview, on Tuesday evening after arriving in the traditional Korean attire.

A staff member refused to allow her in because hanbok wasn’t allowed under the restaurant’s dress code. Lee is the eldest daughter of Samsung Electronics Chairman Lee Kun-hee.

According to designer Lee Hye-sun, she was told by the hotel staff that hanbok was prohibited because the “dangerous” clothing could interfere with other customers in the restaurant.

News of the incident spread quickly in cyberspace on Tuesday night after Lee Hye-sun’s son posted enraged comments on his Twitter page.

“I’m posting this message because I can’t stand my anger,” Kim Ji-ho wrote. “My mother, wearing hanbok, was told by the Shilla Hotel’s Parkview that she wasn’t allowed to enter because of her attire. How can the Shilla, a landmark hotel in Korea, reject traditional Korean attire?”

Kim wrote that the restaurant staff told his mother that anyone in hanbok or sweatsuits is banned from entering the buffet.

“Is a hanbok on the same level as a sweatsuit?” Kim wrote. “What hotel in a country rejects its traditional attire? This is the same as a man in a suit being kicked out of hamburger joint in the United States.”

As public outrage in cyberspace intensified, the Shilla Hotel released an apology on Wednesday. The hotel said that the staff didn’t properly explain its dress code policy and that hanbok is not prohibited.

The Shilla Hotel said that since last year, The Parkview staff was supposed to warn customers in hanbok that their clothes could be stepped on by other patrons of the buffet restaurant and cause accidents.

“We deeply apologize for causing trouble and we will make sure not to repeat this mistake again,” said a hotel’s public relations official in a phone interview with the Korea JoongAng Daily yesterday.

“There are rumors that the Shilla completely bans hanbok-wearing customers from even entering the hotel, but that’s not true,” the official said. “Anyone in hanbok is welcome and only The Parkview has such a warning policy. Because it’s a buffet restaurant, customers are always walking around to get their food. There were incidents when people dropped dishes after their hanbok was stepped on. This frightened everyone and some customers complained, and we decided to give customers warnings.”

Designer Lee Hye-sun confirmed that Shilla’s CEO, Lee Boo-jin, came to see her in person to apologize.

“I can forgive this as an individual, but I’m deeply disappointed about the Shilla Hotel’s view of Korean culture,” Lee Hye-sun was quoted as saying in an interview with the online news site Wikitree on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, the hotel’s hanbok policy attracted scoldings from high-ranking officials and lawmakers.

“A person was kicked out of a hotel because she was wearing hanbok and this was something that should have never happened,” Culture Minister Choung Byoung-gug said yesterday in a meeting with lawmakers at the National Assembly’s Culture, Sports, Tourism, Broadcasting and Communications Committee.

By Kim Mi-ju []

관련 한글기사[중앙일보]

이부진 사장이 한복디자이너 이혜순 찾아가 사과한 까닭은

“한복을 입었다는 이유로 뷔페 식당 출입을 제지당했다”는 한복 디자이너 이혜순씨의 주장이 트위터와 인터넷 공간에서 파문을 일으키자 이부진 신라호텔 사장이 당사자에게 13일 사과했다.

이씨에 따르면 신라호텔 측은 12일 자신이 뷔페식당에 들어가려 하자 드레스 코드 방침에 따라 한복과 트레이닝복을 입은 손님은 입장할 수 없다며 제지했다는 것. 이날 밤 이씨의 차남이 이런 사실을 트위터에 올리면서 확산됐다.

13일 네티즌들은 “신라호텔에 한복이 안 되면 정문의 기왓장은 다 철거해야 밸런스가 맞지 않는가” “그럴 거면 왜 이름을 신라호텔로 정했나” 등 다양한 비판을 쏟아냈다. 이씨는 13일 트위터 뉴스전문 매체 위키트리와의 인터뷰에서 “이부진 신라호텔 사장이 직접 찾아와 사과를 했다”며 “진심 어린 사과라 받아들였다”고 밝혔다.

 신라호텔 측은 “한복을 입었다고 신라호텔 출입이 금지되진 않는다”며 “뷔페 레스토랑에서 가끔 사고가 일어나 고객들에게 주의해달라고 말씀드리는데 이런 주의 사항을 담당자가 이씨에게 매끄럽게 전달하지 못한 것”이라고 설명했다. 신라호텔 측은 “고객의 기분을 상하게 할 만큼 응대를 잘못하고 오해를 불러온 것은 서비스 업체로서 크게 잘못한 것”이라며 “이에 대해 이 사장이 사과를 한 것”이라고 밝혔다. 이 사장의 사과 방문에 동석했던 한인규 신라호텔 호텔사업총괄 전무도 삼성그룹 공식 트위터 ‘사람인’을 통해 “뷔페 식당에서 한복을 입으신 고객분께 물의를 일으킨 점에 대해 머리 숙여 사과 드린다”라며 “한복에 걸려 넘어지는 등 각종 사고가 종종 있어 안내를 드리려 했으나 현장 착오가 있었다”고 거듭 사과했다. 신라호텔 측은 또한 “물의를 일으켜 정중히 사과 드린다”는 제목의 공식 사과문도 발표했다.

호텔 측은 사과문을 통해 “음식을 직접 가져다 먹어야 하는 뷔페의 특성상 지난해부터 한복을 입은 고객에게 일일이 (주의할 점을) 안내하고 있다”고 전했다. 이어 “직원의 착오로 미숙하게 안내됐다. 다른 고객들이 한복을 입은 고객의 옷에 걸려 넘어지는 등 고객들의 불만사항이 발생해 취해진 조치”라고 덧붙였다.

 이혜순씨는 영화 ‘스캔들-조선남녀상열지사’와 ‘쌍화점’ 등의 의상을 제작한 유명 한복 디자이너다. 한복을 알리겠다는 의도로 20년째 매일 한복을 입고 다니고 있다. 2003년부터는 서울 청담동에 자신의 호를 딴 한복가게 ‘담연’을 운영하고 있다.

최지영 기자

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