Fashion Street Style in Korea

2193 Words Dec 6th, 2011 9 Pages
Street style in South Korea: Individualism or Collectivism?

For the scope of this paper, I am focusing on how South Korean urbanites view fashion as a means of expression and how fashion reflects the values of the Korean urban society. Based on my preliminary observations, I have noticed that Korea has a very distinct street style. I have observed that majority of the people on the streets dress in a similar fashion. Unlike in western societies where street style tends to be more varied and unique to the individual, conformity and similarity seems to be the main focal point in Korea. I am therefore interested to find out what exactly drives this phenomenon in Korea? How does the collectivistic culture of the Korean society
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In order to distinguish themselves from the inferior classes, the bourgeoisie will create new fashion styles, which leads to spiraling process of creation and imitation. (Kawamura, 2005: 5) Fashion therefore, is a form of social regulation that distinguishes people according to their roles in society.

Similar to this perspective, Fashion is also viewed as an ideology that is supported by fashion institutions. The fashion institutions create new fashion trends and disseminate them onto the mass population through runways and fashion shows. The people will only continue to consume fashion if they believe in the ideology propagated by these fashion institutes. Hence, fashion is a myth - one that has to be constantly sustained by the larger institutions and supported by the people. (Kawamura, 2005: 43)

Cultural Perspective

From the cultural perspective, the fashion industry is an image-producing industry in which the production involves a manufactured process from conception on paper by the designer, creation of the dress, to mass production and dissemination of the dress. At each stage of production, a collective of players in the industry will input their ideas and shape the product for it to be accepted by the players in the next stage of production. Such is the production of Fashion, which involves the creative collaboration and
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