Why K-Pop Rules Fashion Week

Outside Prada’s menswear show in Milan on Sunday, screaming fans packed the streets. Devotees sometimes began singing along to boy band hits.

“These Italian kids are actually learning Korean!” Bryan Yambao, editor-in-chief of Perfect magazine, exclaimed as he climbed into his car after the show.

A few years ago, such a sight would have been rare. Most of the shows attracted only a small group of fans who staked out to spot the arrival of a celebrity. The K-pop group’s enthusiastic young followers have taken hold as it has signed more and more deals.

The phenomenon shows no signs of slowing down: in the past week alone, the arrival of Korean stars such as Gucci’s Kai from EXO, Prada’s Enheifen and Louis Vuitton’s J-Hope (known from the supergroup BTS) , social media lit up with menswear. Fashion week content. On Monday, Dior announced it had struck a partnership with BTS member Jimin, who is set to join the show on Friday, while Valentino cemented a deal with the group’s rapper, Suga. , on hiatus due to the military service of several members).

Even Bottega Veneta, the famously low-key house of “stealth wealth,” is currently in talks to secure a menswear deal with the BTS member, market sources said. The season saw Blackpink members Lisa (Celine ambassador), Jisoo (Dior) and Jenny (Chanel) create valuable online buzz while attracting an ever-growing following.

The rise of K-Pop supergroups that took Asia by storm in the 2010s coincides with the breakout of Korean culture in other media, such as streaming sensation Squid Game and hit movies like Parasite and Minari. The audience of Korean talent, which brands have long appreciated for the enthusiastic social media engagement of their followers, has grown in recent years both domestically and internationally.

Allison Brinje, chief marketing officer at fashion consultancy Launchmetrics, said: “Brands are looking for ways to revitalize themselves on a global level, and Korean talent is making it happen.”

According to Launchmetrics, Korean talent has become the most important celebrity voice to drive media exposure during Fashion Week. According to Launchmetrics, her 41% of celebrity and influencer conversations for her Fall/Winter 2021 womenswear season in Milan are generated by her social media posts by or about her in South Korea. That share may have climbed to as much as 50% of hers at Milan’s men’s fashion week, which closed on Monday, according to marketing consultancy Lefty’s estimates.

The online clout of Korean stars even surpasses the most famous and digitally savvy Western talents. For example, in the Kim Kardashian and Dolce & Gabbana partnership, reality TV star and mega his influencers helped “curate” and style. According to Launchmetrics, his September 2022 show for the brand garnered $4.6 million worth of headlines and online recognition. Blackpink star Jisoo mostly just made appearances at a Dior show in Paris that same season that earned him $7 million worth of buzz.

From Korea to the world

Last year, South Korea was a bright spot for luxury brands in the Asian market, with record sales growth. According to Morgan Stanely’s recent memo, the market has grown about 40% compared to his 2019 pre-pandemic levels. South Koreans are now the world’s largest per capita consumers of luxury goods, with “Many major brands such as Prada, Moncler, Bottega Veneta and Burberry now account for more than 10% of total retail sales in South Korea.” sales,” writes analyst Edouard Aubin.

But it’s not just the rising importance of the star’s home market that is driving the luxury industry’s pace of partnering with South Korean talent.

K-pop supergroups are so well-known in China that the Chinese government has taken “irrational actions” from members of K-pop fan clubs, such as buying many copies of albums and selling their favorite juice. ” They are trying to crack down on what they see as behavior. action. K-pop artists are also very popular in the small but rapidly growing Southeast Asian market. Overall, Asian consumers, and the stars most likely to reach them, are likely to continue to be the focus of attention this year.

beyond reach

The glamor of working K-pop stars is just beyond their reach. Performers are rigorously trained and closely monitored by the studio’s stringent system. This means minimal reputational risk. For the brands they work with.

Dealing with K-pop stars is seen as a good investment, according to fashion marketers, as the influence they have on their audience is more “prescriptive”. Their fans, on the other hand, are often seen buying star-endorsed products as a way of showing affection for their favorite artists. increase.

Still, industry sources say the deal isn’t just about boosting sales. K-Pop stars are often expressive dressers, willing to experiment with fashion as a way to distinguish themselves within their respective supergroups. This makes us an exciting partner for brands and designers who want to create memorable and exciting fashion moments.

A spokesperson for Valentino said Suga “has a deep understanding of fashion” and has been “a key inspiration and starting point” for designer Pierpaolo Piccioli this year.

At Fashion Week, the brand seems happy to fan the fire of local K-pop fanatics attending the event. Dior issued a statement on Thursday confirming that Jimin will be attending the upcoming menswear runway, saying the show will “represent the relationship between Dior and his 21st century pop icon his BTS members.” It’s an opportunity to celebrate,” Brand said.

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