When you first arrive in North Korea, as the bus carries you from Pyongyang Sunan International Airport into the capital city, the first things you notice are the orderly streets devoid of litter, the architecture that combines the monumental with the mundane, and the almost complete lack of shops and advertisements. Another glaring difference is the uniformity of the clothes that people wear; the fashion seemingly plucked from 1950s imagery of a Korean socialist utopia. Except this is reality and 2017. The sense of being on a giant movie set, with people wearing prop costumes, is the uncanny feeling you carry when walking around the surreal streets of Pyongyang. For North Koreans however, this is simply their daily life, and although the fashion appears to be a conformist vision of communist drabness, it is in fact changing – and changing fast. To outsiders, a North Korean woman wearing high heels, make-up and carrying a designer bag might seem ordinary, but those minor details speak volumes about a society that is subtly breaking new cultural ground, while still remaining heavily controlled.
The North Korean government exerts an enormous amount of control and influence on the lives and decisions of its people. One of those controls is fashion, or more simply, how people are allowed to dress. North Korea is a system which emphasises ideological single-minded unity. It is a theatre state, to which the people are expected to all play a part. While Young North Koreans have the same vices, desires and ambitions as a lot of young people in any other society – including the need to look, and feel, sexy.
North Korea still has strict limits when it comes to sartorial expression. Jeans for example have to be black (and preferably half-disguised with a long coat), as blue denim is seen as a symbol of America, a country that, along with Japan, is a sworn enemy of the state and thus the people. Skirts must be knee-length; men’s hair must be short and dyed hair is unacceptable (although some get away with claiming brown hair to be their natural colour). Until very recently, bright colours, high heels, earrings and any kind of tight clothing were almost never seen, especially with the fashion police patrolling the streets.
However, if you can read this post, then you are lucky not to be in North Korea now. You are free to wear whatever you want, you are free to chose cute, chic, trendy and adorable fashionable Korea fashion jewelry from us.