SEOUL, Feb.25 (Korea Bizwire) – Going out in a hanbok, a traditional Korean outfit, seems to be a new trend among young people these days.
Many young people wearing hanbok and enjoying a day out with friends were spotted almost every 20 to 30 meters in Insadong, a popular tourist spot in Seoul.
Most of the hanbok wearers were young women in their teens and 20s. Some women approached others wearing hanbok to ask them where they rented their outfits.
Moon (21, female), who was out on a ‘hanbok date’ with a friend, commented that about five or six people including foreigners asked them where they rented their hanbok. “At first we were a little uncomfortable because people stared at us, but now we’re so happy because we were able to take some great pictures at the historic palaces. Also, the big skirt is really comfortable, making it easier to walk.”
Foreigners looking for places that rent hanbok were also easy to find. Mananya, who was visiting Korea with her parents from Thailand, said that they always wanted to try on hanbok ever since they saw them in Korean dramas. “The hanbok in the drama Daejanggeum were so pretty. My parents always hoped to try them on if they visited Korea. I’m happy to be able to make their wish come true.”
Industry watchers agree that SNS are the biggest reason for the new trend. When searching for hashtags of ‘hanbok’ and ‘hanbokstagram’ on Instagram, tens of thousands of pictures of young women wearing hanbok appear.
Most of the pictures depict individuals wearing a hanbok and having a great time at locations with a traditional atmosphere such as Insadong, Gyeongbokgung Palace, Samcheongdong and the hanok village in Jeonju.
As a result, hanbok rental businesses are booming when their owners least expected it.
Kang (28), who owns a hanbok rental shop in Insadong, commented that the number of customers renting hanbok increased by 30 percent compared to the previous year. “There are 100 to 150 customers every day. In the summer, the number of customers reaches 200 per day and people have to wait in line to rent a hanbok.”
Because of the new trend, Insadong itself is also experiencing positive economic effects, as the area is being promoted through pictures on SNS.
Officials from Jongno district, home to Insadong and other traditional tourist attractions commented that because of the increase in the number of young people visiting Insadong, the commercial district has been revitalized. “The district is a symbol of tradition, but at the same time it had a negative image of being ‘old’. It is a meaningful change that the area regained vitality through hanbok and SNS.”
By Lina Jang (firstname.lastname@example.org)