To many people, especially those from the Western culture, South Korea (I will use Korea for short here) and Japan are often viewed like siblings and alike in so many ways. I beg to differ on that.
Siblings or not, Korea and Japan are different in many ways from their society structure, culture & traditions down to food and fashion.
It is true that both the Koreans and Japanese are extremely fashion conscious and ‘luxury-friendly’ as few cultures are. Japan has for a long time been seen as the forerunner of fashion, especially in the international scene. However, in the past decade, Korea has started to develop it’s own identity, all thanks to the “Korea Wave” that is taking the world by storm. Korea pop culture and picture perfect celebrities all helped to create and shaped the DNA of Korean fashion today. It is now common to hear netizens, bloggers talking about fashion in Korea and online fashion stores devoted to Korean fashion. ( in fact ,I may write another post solely on this topic and review some of the interesting Korean brands available.)
During my recent trip to Korea, my tour guide said that Korean can eat and live very simple ways but they must look the best. This observation is obvious to anyone who study Korea and its people: appearance and self-presentation play a key role in their society. Research suggests that the persistent strength in the Korean fashion luxury market is driven by two important “soft” factors: a love of luxury and peer pressure. The pressure to conform, in the sense of keeping up with neighbors, may also be more intense. Korean luxury consumers stay on top of trends, and showing off their latest luxury purchases seems to come naturally.
Enough said, let’s take to the streets of Seoul and look at how some of the men dress on the street. I must comment that many of them take great effort in details like their belts, socks and the right bag and accessories. And if you really study their dressing, it is very different from how the men style themselves in Japan.