Hanbok, hanok are hip again as fashion brands go traditional

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Hanbok, hanok are hip again as fashion brands go traditional

A Massimo Dutti store in Hyundai Department Store's Pangyo branch is designed to resemble the inner courtyard of a hanok, a Korean traditional house. [INDITEX KOREA]

A Massimo Dutti store in Hyundai Department Store's Pangyo branch is designed to resemble the inner courtyard of a hanok, a Korean traditional house. [INDITEX KOREA]



Traditional Korean culture is enjoying a haute couture renaissance as international fashion brands incorporate historical elements into modern fashion and store design.
 

Spanish apparel brand Massimo Dutti opened a new store in Hyundai Department Store's Pangyo branch in Pangyo, Gyeonggi in September. According to Inditex Korea, which runs the brand, the store is designed to look like a hanok, a traditional Korean house.

 
A small tree and rock garden is placed in the middle of the store, which resembles the inner courtyard of a hanok. Hanoks are built in a square with an enclosed courtyard in the middle. Massimo Dutti’s body care products are displayed in the garden area.
 
Panels with vertical wooden strips have been erected around the shop, inspired by the wooden pillars used to build hanok.
 
“Our store in Hyundai Department Store’s Pangyo branch portrays our brand image while featuring the unique feel of a traditional hanok,” said a spokesperson for Massimo Dutti.
 
Promotional events at the store also involve traditional elements. When it opened on Sept. 3, all visitors were given a handheld fan made of hanji, the traditional Korean paper. The first 100 people into the shop were also given canvas bags with a small charm in the shape of a jeogori, the upper garment of hanbok, the traditional Korean dress.
 
Gucci Gaok's paper bags have traditional Korean norigae hanging from the handle. [SCREEN CAPTURE]

Gucci Gaok's paper bags have traditional Korean norigae hanging from the handle. [SCREEN CAPTURE]

 
Gucci in June opened a four-story standalone store named Gucci Gaok in Itaewon, central Seoul. The store's name gaok draws from the Korean word for a traditional home.
 
The building façade is built by artist Park Seung-mo, whose works appeared in the Oscar-winning film “Parasite” (2019), depicting a pine tree forest made of layers of stainless-steel mesh.
 
The fashion house sells bags, clothes and shoes inspired by saekdong, a color combination of red, yellow, green and blue commonly used on hanbok, that are exclusively available at the store.
 
When buying from Gucci Gaok, purchases are put in paper bags with a norigae hanging from the handle. A norigae is a traditional Korean accessory in which a tassel is attached to a small ornament, worn on a woman’s hanbok.
 
Pajamas sold by SPAO in collaboration with hanbok maker Leesle. The clothes are made to resemble hanbok. [SPAO]

Pajamas sold by SPAO in collaboration with hanbok maker Leesle. The clothes are made to resemble hanbok. [SPAO]

 
The traditional Korean dress is mostly worn on holidays, but hints of hanbok can now be spotted on the streets of Seoul as companies put a modern twist on the traditional wear.
 
SPAO, an apparel brand of Eland, collaborated with hanbok maker Leesle to launch a clothing line in June. The collection includes pajamas that are similar to a hanbok, but with a top that is longer in length and comfortable to wear. It also includes a robe resembling durumagi, a Korean traditional overcoat. Customers can also buy a key ring charm that looks like a norigae.
 
“Korean culture is going mainstream, and products and stores that take inspiration from traditional elements are getting attention,” said a spokesperson for a fashion brand. “Brands that put their own unique twist on Korean traditional elements will be the ones winning customers of the younger generation, who want to try something different.”

BY BAE JUNG-WON, LEE TAE-HEE [lee.taehee2@joongang.co.kr]
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