As the world continues to change, it brings with it the evolution of many areas of life. This includes the evolution of music and an industry that goes hand in hand with it—fashion. From different eras, people have seen how music has influenced the way people dress, and vice versa. With the emergence of Music Television (MTV) in the 80s, people want to wear what their idols wear.
Fashion Trends of Earlier Decades
In the 80s, Madonna made young girls want to wear neon-colored clothes. Michael Jackson made flashy clothes and white socks over black leather shoes look cool. You might have seen how groups like Spandau Ballet, Wham, Guns N’ Roses, and Run DMC created their own fashion trends.
The 90s was an era when cable TV reached a larger audience. While MTV gained global popularity, so did fashion trends. And it didn’t only affect the fashion industry as the world knows it. The 90s also introduced sports apparel. Thus was the emergence of Nike’s Air Jordan Series, Reebok’s Shaq Attack, and not far behind was Adidas. These were clothes that rock icons, rappers, and pop music idols wore and endorsed. As a result, kids wanted “to be like Mike”—a humorous way of saying people wanted to wear Michael Jordan’s shoes (and thus emulate the greatest-ever basketball player on the court). This impact is felt even to this day.
New Millennium, New Trends
Fast forward to the new millennium, music and fashion still changes the culture. But now, a new influence is making an impact. The impact is so much that it has also influenced Western pop culture. This so-called outsider is known as South Korean Pop, commonly known as K-pop. This music genre made its US breakthrough in 2012 when Psy’s “Gangnam Style” surpassed 1 billion views. This made K-pop a household name and changed the world forever. Here are ways K-pop changed the fashion industry:
- Appealing Visuals
To complement their colorful characters and music videos, K-pop stars wear colorful clothes. But unlike past pop groups who wore the same thing, K-pop groups do not dress the same. This element of unpredictability caught the eyes of creatives. This made their fans look forward to their next music videos, not only for the music but also for the next clothes they wear. Add the fact that millions of fans can view their music videos through the internet’s global reach. Suffice to say, their fashion sense invaded the internet.
- Social Media Domination
No one can deny K-pop’s social media domination. There are numbers to prove it. And numbers do not lie. According to YouTube, here are the top five most viewed K-pop music videos in the world:
- “Gangam Style” (Psy), 4,229,332,527 billion views (and counting)
- “DDU-DU DDU-DU” (Blackpink), 1,726,574,258 billion views (and counting)
- “Gentleman” (Psy), 1,439,112,136 billion views (and counting)
- “Kill This Love” (Blackpink), 1,425,874,122 billion views (and counting)
- “Boy With Luv” (BTS ft. Halsey), 1,379,747,969 billion views (and counting)
Do you imagine the billions of eyes and imagination that have seen their music videos? This is the same number of views that have seen and were attracted to their fashion sense. Because of this, K-pop’s fashion has also influenced billions of people worldwide. As a result, South Korea became one of the world’s top fashion destinations. K-pop artists’ strong sense of style has brought K-fashion a powerful international presence.
When this became a phenomenon, K-pop put the fashion industry on notice. Designers began to hop on the bandwagon. And with no surprise, designers that created K-pop-inspired clothing saw a significant increase in their sales. A good example is Moschino, whose sales had improved when K-pop stars began to wear some of their collections.
In the 90s, people wanted to “be like Mike,” and many still do today. But some teenagers wanted to look like their K-pop idols. In one event, Suga, a Korean rapper, wore an off-white, checkered button-down shirt. As a result, that same day, there was an increase in Google searches for that same shirt.
- Gender Fluidity
The 80s glam rock saw rock stars wear big hair and makeup. Still, you will distinct this as just a fashion and still separate different genders. But male groups like BTS are known for this gender fluidity fashion. In typical K-pop style, each member will wear different outfits. But you usually see some of them wearing loose-fitting silhouettes, chokers, and different accessories. This is called gender fluidity fashion which also started a fashion trend.
Some will wear earrings; others will wear either a watch or custom-made silicone bracelets. And they wear all these on and off the stage, making their clothing a part of their identity. For traditional male performers, this kind of fashion is yet to be fully accepted. But for fashion designers and enthusiasts, this is a revolution.
They say, “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” Fashion is a very subjective topic, depending on who’s talking or who is listening. But at the end of the day, you will have to wear what suits you and what the occasion requires. But no one can never deny the impact of K-pop and how it has played a significant role in the evolution of the world.