Kpop Artists’ Duality Exemplifies a Current Juxtaposition of Fashion and Music

Image courtesy of

Bright colors explode across the screen as fantastic and intricate dances perfectly meld with the honey tones of the singer’s voices. The eye is pulled from one amazing scene to the next, each more stimulating than the last. K-pop is enthusiasm personified and its huge following over the past few years is a testament to that. “A maximalist dreamland full of color” is how Maria Sherman for NPR describes K-pop, or Korean pop, in its aesthetic focus and high-powered performances. K-pop is a genre unlike any other as it reflects Korean culture. as well as influences from other cultures that fuse into an art form that is far from being solely about music. Sherman writes that “K-pop is music that is stuffed but never bloated; music that is fun and meant to elicit joy when listened to and seen (K-pop is designed to be enjoyed visually as much, if not more, than it is meant to be heard) with performances and music videos that double as art films.” K-pop groups even have a designated “visual” who exemplifies Korean cultural beauty standards, which is problematic, but demonstrates the visual focus of K-pop. The importance of aesthetics in the music genre translates to the fashion realm as well with many K-pop group members also doubling as fashion influencers and models.

Image courtesy of Instagram

The colorful vision of the music video set is easily transferred into the pearls, rhinestones, and intricate patterns of the artists’ outfits. Blackpink, one of the most popular K-pop girl groups with international fame and recognition, are often symbols of modern K-pop fashion with many others trying to emulate their style. In their music video for their single “How You Like That,” members Rosé, Lisa, Jennie, and Jisoo don high fashion luxury pieces from Chanel, Marine Serre, Alexander McQueen, AREA, and Dior among many other brands. Apart from being sonically appealing, the video is so aesthetically appealing that it practically replicates a high fashion runway show. The styling is filled to the brim without running over with stacked jewelry, rhinestone hairpieces, body chains, and metallic boots.

Image courtesy of Instagram

Fashion choices in K-pop music videos are based on K-pop’s identity as a genre and a visual culture rather than trends. In NCT U’s “Make a Wish,” Taeyong, leader and group visual, sets the tone for the fashion in the video as he appears in swinging pearl stacked chains, a Gucci jacket over top a yellow silk button down paired with sparkle trousers. Members hang from intricate chandeliers and look just as, if not more, beautiful than the diamonds dripping from the ceiling. While members in K-pop videos are often wearing designer pieces, the looks are fresh, exciting, and distinct mirroring the music genre.

Image courtesy of

While K-pop is often synonymous with maximalism, sonically and visually, artists are also well-known for their minimalist style that more closely reflects South Korean street and ready-to-wear fashion. This style is often seen in airport photos and more casual settings. In a Vogue 2021 Seoul Fashion Week street style rundown, it is noted that many are opting for “darker, pared back looks” with photos depicting black tailored blazers, leather boots, oversized trousers, sweatpants paired with leather jackets, lace-up combat boots. and white sneakers. K-pop idols wear these types of looks which exemplify their personal style that is seemingly effortless and chic, emphasizing body proportions which play a major role in South Korean beauty standards.

K-pop idols’ images are extremely malleable with this being one of the trademarks of the music genre. Music videos often showcase maximalist fashion while street style images capture a minimalist appeal. Before a new “era” for a K-pop group, fans often look for signs of new hair colors that would indicate the filming of a new music video. Due to the artists’ duality, it is no surprise that many K-pop idols have become the face of many luxury fashion brands showcasing ready-to-wear pieces as well as haute couture pieces. 

Images courtesy of Instagram

Every member of Blackpink fills the role of brand ambassador for a particular luxury fashion brand; Jennie is the face of Chanel often dubbed “human Chanel,” and went viral when seated next to Anna Wintour for Chanel’s Summer 2020 Paris rooftop presentation; Lisa is Celine’s global ambassador; Jisoo acts as Dior’s global ambassador, and Rosé acts as YSL’s global ambassador. EXO and SuperM’s Kai is Gucci’s first-ever Korean global ambassador with the brand even creating a capsule collection with him as the muse.

K-pop artists are muses to their fans as well which is one of the many reasons why we are seeing the “Korean wave” sweeping the globe with influences in skincare, makeup, fashion, television, and of course music.  One look at the #kpopfashion tag on TikTok shows a variety of fans in chains, leather, pleated skirts, and intricate layers and accessories. This is just one of the many demonstrations of K-pop’s influence and unique style that has captured the attention of a global audience that is willing and ready to be taken on a kaleidoscopic journey of excitement through music and fashion.

—Tessa Swantek

Speak Your Mind


Copyright © 2012-2021 | Fashion Reverie Publications, LLC - All Rights Reserved