Korean Tailors Try To Keep The Lunar New Year Hanbok Ritual Alive

Korean Hanbok
This is very interesting. The Korean government put a lot of support behind the use and publicizing of the hanbok after the Korean economic collapse in 1997. The Icelandic government supported the groundswell of interest in national dress a few years later. Then after the economic collapse in Iceland a grassroots increase of its own appeared.
Now Korea seems to be running out of steam. Is this not sustainable without official support?
(I’m not saying that the Icelandic and the Korean shifts are in any way related or for the same reasons, b.t.w. Just the timeframe… Let’s see where Iceland is in 4-5 years?)

Seems in fact that the Korean hanbok is now shifting into a similar cultural space as that occupied by any of the five Icelandic costumes:

“‘Young couples today in Korea are not having as many children, so when they all get together for traditional holidays, those gatherings are very small,” Kim says. “They don’t try to keep their traditions strictly by wearing hanbok.’

Kim adds that the cost of the custom-made outfits, which can run as high as several thousand dollars, has forced many families to scale back from making annual hanbok purchases.”

Link to article on NPR Korean Tailors Try To Keep The Lunar New Year Hanbok Ritual Alive : Code Switch : NPR.


2 thoughts on “Korean Tailors Try To Keep The Lunar New Year Hanbok Ritual Alive

  1. The increased interest in the Icelandic national dress began to increase with the 50th anniversary celebrations of Iceland´s independence in 1994 and as the year 2000 approached when Iceland would be celebrating 1000 years of Christianity becoming the national religion interest in the national costume increased. A group of women at the Icelandic Handicrafts Association met and decided to pool their knowledge and resource in order to recreate the 18th century form of dress which had through time evolved into the five types that Karl mentions. The government awarded the Handicrafts Association an increased stipend in the run-up to the summer of 2000 which was in part used to send a few women to the V&A in London where they were able to view, measure and photograph an example of this 18th century costume that was acquired by the British botanist William Jackson Hooker (1785-1865) during his visit to Iceland in the summer of 1809.


  2. This could be part of the “global vs. local” discussion. Many of the blogs are discussing the differences in local traditions and styles, but global fashion has overwhelmed many “traditional” costumes.

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