Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Bey, Paris and Korean Fashionistas

I knew it. I knew it.

One thing that is predictable here is how easily people follow when it comes to fashion.

Now don't get mad and shoot the messenger. The same thing happens back home in the West too, but the level on which it happens here is pretty amusing. As the FMS blog shows, the Korean sense of fashion is most definitely improving here, no doubt. But in comparison to other places where it's much more about how you put it together than how many label products you're wearing, South Korea, or, at least, the fashionistas in Seoul still have a bit of progress to make.

Some of my own friends lean much more on price and brand names than they should and are shocked when I pick up something that doesn't have a label on it or is moderately priced. I've had the "I thought that was low quality or wasn't good" discussion a few times over a meal or coffee with friends when we're showing off our new purchases. Needless to say, most of the time, I coax them over to my way of thinking and they'll have a similar product a few weeks later.

For me, it's never been about price, trendiness or the label. I'm from L.A. and I just can't vibe with that sort of mindset as I grew up in a place where a lot of people are ruled by it. For me, it's very much about taste, fashion and your own personal style. That also means I'll buy the labels too if it works for me. In fact, it's well known that I'm essentially exclusive to MAC Cosmetics because they make colors with all shades of women in mind, but also because of their commitment to helping improve the lives of those living with HIV/AIDS. However, I won't knock a lesser priced brand if they have colors, shades and products that work for me too.

Anyway, here is an article from the Chosun Ilbo that talks about the fashion and shopping furor inspired when Beyonce and Paris Hilton came to Seoul last week.

Superstar Visits Spur Fashion Fuss in Korea

Though the stars flew out of Korea on Sunday, the apparel that adorned Paris Hilton and Beyonce Knowles while they were in the country is just taking off. Arriving a day before the pop diva, Hilton donned Fila brand clothing and accessories at all her official events, faithfully carrying out her duties as a Fila spokesmodel.
Rumor has it that the gold and pink padded Fila vest that Hilton was wearing on her arrival and during her press interviews nearly sold out in Korea over the weekend. Dubbed the "Hilton vest," the mid-W100,000 (US$1=W913) vest is likely to be the "it" fashion item for some time.

Hilton's Samantha Thavas bag with the number seven sewn on top was designed by her sister Nicky, and Paris -- famous for not wearing the same thing twice -- carried the bag with her more than once, apparently displaying her affection for her sister.

With its vivid color and shiny material, the bag has already become a popular item in Japan. It can be purchased online or through unofficial importers and many Koreans are hustling to snap up this "affordable" bag, priced around W200,000 to W300,000.

Beyonce’s fashions are no less popular than Hilton’s. The jeans that accentuated the songstress' voluptuous thighs were House of Dereon, a brand Beyonce set up with her fashion designer mother Tina Knowles. The jeans aren't yet available in Korea but her visit prompted a deluge of queries on the Internet as to where they might be found.

The shiny handbag Beyonce carried to offset her modest outfit of jeans and a simple shirt on her first day in Korea was the Marc Jacobs' Stam bag. It's available in Korea for around W2 million to W2.5 million depending on the material. Beyonce’s Stam bag was made of snakeskin and is said to cost about W10 million. Importers say they've been getting three to four phone calls a day since the singer's visit from people asking about the bag. The costly price has the bag off official importers' lists for now.

This is, of course, great for FILA Korea, Nicky Hilton, Marc Jacobs and the House of Dereon. I won't knock it too much because that means there will be a bigger range of products available here and that's great for me too! I just think it's funny because it's not surprising at all that there is a rush to copy for the sake of being trendy.

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