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The Handknitting Association of Iceland has issued a statement regarding a ‘lopapeysa’ sweater given to Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel by Minister of Industry and Commerce Ragnheiður Elín Árnadóttir yesterday.
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.