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BTS Takes Over Fashion Week

Fashion Week in Paris has recently come to an end, but the lasting effects linger. Grammy-nominated Korean boy band BTS has boasted a new venture: the fashion world. Their previous accolades include speaking at the White House against Asian Hate and advocating at the UN. Nevertheless, one member of the group, Jimin, graced Dior’s fashion show with fellow band member J-hope. J-Hope’s fashion tour recently included Louis Vuitton and Hermes. Furthermore, BTS Suga’s presence at Milan’s fashion week included Valentino. Amongst elaborate fashions, picturesque backdrops, and fashion lovers, there is the culmination of the fashion houses: the global ambassadors. Within the last couple of years, luxury brands like Chanel, Dior, Louis Vuitton, and others have shifted from western celebrities to South Korean pop idols. This shift has not gone unnoticed following the new wave of coupling K-Pop idols with fashion idols.


Earlier this month, Dior, a global leader in luxury, named BTS’s principal dancer and lead vocalist, Jimin, to be the global ambassador. The collaboration made sense considering that the Paris-based fashion house – Dior – designed tour outfits for BTS’s 2018-2019 Love Yourself and Speak Yourself tour spanning the United States, Japan, Europe, South Korea, and several other areas. BTS Jimin boasts experience from an ambassadorship to Louis Vuitton in 2021. Moreover, BTS’s entrance into the fashion industry isn’t marked only by Jimin’s partnership with Dior, but by fellow main dancer and lead rapper, BTS’s J-hope with Louis Vuitton, and main rapper, SUGA with Valentino. The onset of BTS’s takeover at Fashion Week, which happens twice a year began with BTS V’s presence at the Spring 2023 CELINE show in June last year. 


Luxury fashion brands have set their sights on Asia for a long time due to the high personal luxury expenditures prevalent in these countries. According to a Bain & CO survey, China is the home of many luxury connoisseurs that outspent Americans in 2019. However, in both 2021 and 2022, Americans were the top spenders in luxury brands. 


In a Morgan Stanley survey, South Korean consumers' luxury spending grew 24% in 2022, surpassing the United States and China. To compare, South Koreans spend roughly $325 on their luxury brands, Chinese consumers $55, and American consumers $280. It is especially significant considering that South Korea’s population is just over 51 million people, China’s population is 1.4 billion people, and the United States census cites nearly 335 million people


However, the switch to Korean celebrities is more than just money; it is the fan culture and cultivation of idols.


Fan culture includes an extensive range of K-pop merchandise ranging from lightsticks, photocards, albums with photo books, and sponsorships. This merchandise often capitalizes on the role model personality. As a result, many fans feel more connected when they share common traits –such as purchasing luxury brand items – with their idols. Moreover, K-pop idols are subject to years of training ranging from singing, dancing, and rapping to learning special skills to promote at variety shows. Recently, IVE  – who have previously partnered with Italian fashion brands miu miu and Prada and English luxury brand Burberry among others – announced that their training included “selfie” taking classes when promoting on social media to their fans. 


These years of preparation minimize the potential blemishes to the idol’s, company, and the group’s reputation. As a result, luxury brands don’t have to worry about an idol’s behavior or actions reflecting poorly on the brand. Rather than inhibiting the brand, the idol enhances it by lending its status and fans to the luxury brand’s consumer. As a result, it is likely that for the foreseeable future that K-pop will continue to have a lasting impression on the fashion industry.


Furthermore, K-Pop isn’t a stranger to the fashion world. In elaborately orchestrated music videos and exciting concepts, fashion often complements the idol’s product. As a result, a win-win situation emerges with brand promotions for the fashion house and satisfied idols and fans that they can diligently carry out a company. This thoughtfully curated process reflects the blossoming relationship between fashion and the Korean pop industry.


Edited by: Maria Cornejo

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