Fix up, appearance sharp: the changing face of North Korean guys’s fashion

0
325

Alek Sigley is a graduate scholar at Pyongyang’s Kim Il Sung University and runs the North Korea excursion agency Tongil Tours. You can study his first column for NK News here.
Last week I examined a North Korean girls’ style magazine. This week I need to introduce NK News readers to a guys’ fashion mag which I recently acquired.
The magazine is produced via the same “Clothing Research Center” as the girls’ style mag from the remaining week and observed on the market inside the equal commonly “locals simplest” roadside e-book stalls.
The girls’ fashion mag, which changed into published in 2017, indicated that the “Clothing Research Center” become beneath the auspices of the “Ministry of Foodstuffs and Daily Necessities Manufacture”
But this guys’ magazine, and a 2d girls’ style magazine in my ownership (the newest version of the one within the final publish), have been each printed in 2018, and mark the “Clothing Research Center” as part of the “Foodstuffs and Daily Necessities Research Institute) underneath the “Ministry of Provincial Industry”
This reflects trade in call of the “Ministry of Foodstuffs and Daily Necessities Manufacture” which came about in early 2018, and some institutional reshuffling in the ministry, which are in the flip part of a broader attempt on the part of the DPRK authorities to revitalize light industry and the provincial economies.
Despite the modifications in ministerial nomenclature, both 2018 magazines retain as part of the same collection as their predecessors, the men’s mag being titled “Men’s Clothing: Shape and Design Materials (nine)” (the ladies’ magazines have the precise identical title however with “guys” swapped for “women”).
The men’s mag incorporates out the equal function as the girls’s: to offer a stock of country-sanctioned patterns, and is also based in a comparable way, with color pictures of fashions inside the front and designs inside the again, and the occasional block of textual content supplying fashion recommendation (although the guys’ magazine doesn’t have clothing for every of the four seasons as the ladies’s does).

Like last week’s girls’ style magazine, this men’s fashion mag additionally starts with a quote from Kim Jong Il.
“Men also ought to go approximately wearing varied garb in numerous styles.”
This magazine is about half of the thickness of the 2 women’s fashion magazines. It is an insignificant 47 pages, an assessment to the only hundred and three web page period of the ladies’ magazines.
This, plus the particular emphasis the “Clothing Research Centre” locations on ladies (it has said its mission as to “make Korean girls greater beautiful”), and the above quote do collectively paintings to offer the impression that dressing nicely is the number one duty of ladies, and greater secondary a task in relation to guys.
Indeed, while women are represented in the nation-sanctioned famous subculture as “plant life”, it’s not unexpected that there might be brilliant social stress on them to dress as a consequence.
This mag is set 1/2 the thickness of the 2 girls’ fashion magazines
It additionally struck my interest that the quote starting the ladies’ mag supplied garb as wanting to “embody the innate characteristics of our (Korean) people”. The guys’ mag quote but, drops this reference to tradition.
It is a much-mentioned subject matter inside the social sciences that postcolonial nationalist ideology tends to paint ladies because of the bearers of the way of life. This manifests on the frame, where ladies, a whole lot more so than men, are anticipated to wear traditional apparel. Men, by means of contrast, don Western business suits, an image of modernity.