Welcome to Korea!

May 26, 2013

Traditional KoreaI’ve made no contribution to the Almanach in quite a while. My situation has changed and with it my location, my direction; even my work station bears no resemblance of the past. My affiliation with Monsieur London now has its limits, but my fascination for men’s fashion and lifestyle needs no restoration. Alas, I do apologise for my absence and I sincerely hope you are all well.

Since we last spoke I have moved from London to Seoul, from writing to teaching, from eating fish and chips to eating rice and Kimchi. The change has been good, very good in fact, apart from the kimchi, kimchi isn’t good, and rice will never beat chips. And as much as I like chilli, every meal of the day containing chilli just isn’t meant to be.

This being a fashion/lifestyle/gentlemen’s blog I should talk about something other than food and words that end in ‘tion’.

So Koreans are great, not the most polite bunch in the world, but I find myself slightly less infuriated with the people here than I do back home. There’s something less offensive about Orientals that I find innocent and charming.

Although there is tradition here in abundance traditional Korean clothing isn’t worn from day to day. It’s kept for occasions. This means that work clothing and weekend clothing is quite contemporary, and I’d say less attention is paid to the material, and more is said on the shape of clothing and accessories here.

There are hipsters in Korea and, even though schools try their hardest to encourage academic studies rather than arts, fashion clearly plays a big role in Korean society, especially within the youth.

If I was to describe the typical twenty-something here in Korea they’d have trainers on the feet, cropped slim fit trousers on the legs and an oxford shirt on top. The typical fifty-something would be dressed in a fitted, dark, linen suit and thick rimmed glasses. He’d be sporting trainers or brogues and have a brown leather bag for company.

Both dressed well in my opinion: simple and modern. But unlike in Britain there isn’t any link to the traditional Korean clothing, it’s essentially a Western set of clothes slightly adapted to taste.

Another thing that is noticeable about the way people dress in Korea is the covering of flesh. Although as my girlfriend said “skin cancer isn’t popular here” (something about the way she worded that has stuck with me) and religion has little role in their modesty, Koreans love to cover up. I think they like to be pasty like me. It ultimately means that you won’t see a geezer walking down the street showing off his tribal tats and beer belly, nor will you see girls in short skirts falling out of clubs at 4am. What you will get though is people selling arm warmers and facemasks in the summer, which is equally as ridiculous.

Something that I really like about the shops here is that they sell clothes designed by local designers, this means that not only are sweat shops in India are given a break  but that there is a lot of originality in each shop. The prices are honest and equal, if not better, than TOPMAN, Zara etc.

Hopefully this documentation on Korean people and their clothes has not been too misinformed, I have only been here a month after all so perhaps I’m completely wrong.

Oh and if I HAD to say, I think men’s fashion here slightly edges men’s fashion back home.


 George Marsden

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