Traditional Korean culture is experiencing a high fashion renaissance as international fashion brands incorporate historical elements into modern fashion and store design.
Spanish clothing brand Massimo Dutti opened a new store in the Pangyo branch of the Hyundai department store in Pangyo, Gyeonggi, in September. According to Inditex Korea, which manages the brand, the store is designed to look like a hanok, a traditional Korean house.
A small garden of trees and rockeries 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 body care products are displayed in the garden.
Panels with vertical wooden strips were erected around the shop, inspired by the wooden pillars used to build the hanok.
“Our store in the Pangyo branch of the Hyundai Department Store portrays our branding while showcasing the unique feel of a traditional hanok,” said a spokesperson for Massimo Dutti.
Promotional events at the store involve traditional elements as well. When it opened on September 3, all visitors received a handheld fan in hanji, traditional Korean paper. The first 100 people in the shop also received canvas bags with a small charm in the shape of a jeogori, the upper garment of hanbok, the traditional Korean dress.
Gucci opened a four-story standalone store named Gucci Gaok in Itaewon, central Seoul in June. The name of the store gaok derives from the Korean word for a traditional house.
The facade of the building is constructed by artist Park Seung-mo, whose works appeared in the Oscar-winning film “Parasite” (2019), depicting a pine forest made of layers of stainless steel mesh.
The fashion house sells bags, clothes and shoes inspired by saekdong, a red, yellow, green and blue color combination commonly used on the hanbok, which are exclusively available in stores.
When shopping at Gucci Gaok, purchases are placed in paper bags with a norigae hanging from the handle. A norigae is a traditional Korean accessory in which an acorn is attached to a small ornament, worn on a woman’s hanbok.
The traditional Korean dress is mostly worn during the holidays, but hints of hanbok can now be spotted on the streets of Seoul as businesses bring a modern twist to traditional attire.
SPAO, a clothing brand from Eland, collaborated with hanbok maker Leesle to launch a clothing line in June. The collection includes pajamas similar to a hanbok, but with a top that is longer and more comfortable to wear. It also includes a dress resembling durumagi, a traditional Korean overcoat. Customers can also purchase a charming keychain that looks like a norigae.
“Korean culture is becoming mainstream and products and stores inspired by traditional elements are gaining attention,” said a spokesperson for a fashion brand. “Brands that bring their own unique touch to traditional Korean elements will be the ones that win over customers of the younger generation, who want to try something different. ”
BY BAE JUNG-WON, LEE TAE-HEE [firstname.lastname@example.org]