New kind of flower power lifts spirits during the pandemic
An increasing number of Koreans are incorporating flowers into their lives to find happiness during the pandemic, from buying actual flowers to wearing floral-printed T-shirts.
In the past, flower bouquets and wreaths were exchanged only during special occasions, but not anymore. Many are buying flowers to experience a little spark of joy amid the ordinary and the dreary.
Noh Ji-min, 36, a resident of Songpa District, southern Seoul, is one of them. Noh buys flowers once a week and arranges them in a vase. With some 25,000 won ($22), she can buy about three to four bunches of flowers at small flower shops.
“I recently bought some wild flowers – ones that bloom outdoors during spring,” said Noh. “I’ve been spending more time at home due to the pandemic, and just looking at those flowers helped me channel positive emotions and feel better.”
Noh added that buying flowers is a small but good way to cheer herself up.
The floricultural industry was once hit hard by Covid-19 as fewer people went outside and weddings and graduation ceremonies – big events which flowers are a must – were canceled.
Flower deliveries are reviving the market.
According to Market Kurly, flower sales between March 1 and April 20 increased 63 percent from the same period a year earlier. Market Kurly is well known for selling food and groceries, but it started selling flowers in February last year to help the suffering floricultural industry. Market Kurly’s flower delivery has been successful, with some 1.2 million flowers sold in a year.
“Over 80 types of flowers were sold and yellow freesias were loved the most,” said a spokesperson for Market Kurly. “Monthly sales are increasing by more than 10 percent on average.”
Subscription services are helping the popularity.
“With faster delivery, flowers are delivered nice and fresh even if you order them online,” said 46-year-old office worker Jung Hyun-sook. “I signed up for a subscription service that sends me flowers every two weeks, and I’m excited about what kind of flower I’ll receive next time.”
Tens of thousands of Instagram posts featuring subscription box flowers can be found online. Some 19,000 Instagram posts used the hashtag “weekly flower” as of Friday, 17,000 used “daily flower” and 18,000 used “flower subscription.”
Floral prints are also in style. Although flowers are a regular for spring and summer apparel, floral prints in 2021 have softer pastel colors of light purple, yellow, pink and pea-green to resemble wildflowers.
Britain-based designer Jonathan Anderson’s new collaboration with Uniqlo is an example. The spring-summer collection is heavily influenced by flowers the designer saw during his time in London. Colorful blooms are carefully embroidered on the collection’s t-shirts, socks and tote bags.
“I was really thinking of spring when I was working on this collection,” said Anderson. “We were all staying inside, and I was looking forward to when we could venture out again.”
The spring collection of G-Cut, Shinsegae International’s women’s apparel brand, follows a similar theme of gardens and flowers. Dresses and blouses, with flowers have trees and plants printed on them.
“Many people miss nature's scenic views and peacefulness amid the pandemic, creating a worldwide tendency in which people are attracted to cottagecore aesthetics,” said Kim Ju-hyun, marketing manager at Shinsegae International. “Those in their 20s and 30s are especially fond of living in nature and even in rural areas, an experience they never had before.”
Paintings and embroidery can also be a way to incorporate flowers into a hobby.
“It is exceptionally beautiful when you stitch flower leaves, the stem and stamen with French embroidery techniques,” said Lily, a YouTuber running an embroidery channel named Lily’s Garden Embroidery Studio. “After the outbreak of Covid-19, more people turned to hand-stitching flowers for comfort and solace.”
BY LEE SO-AH [firstname.lastname@example.org]