“Hanbok”, traditional Korean garments, is a major cultural export but it is often underutilized in modern Korea, where it is very often stereotyped as the costume for the elderly and formal occasions.
It also used be known as the uniform for college students who engaged in the student movements in the 1970s and 1980s.
In fact the younger Korean generation is still unfamiliar with hanbok as everyday wear.
Hanbok designers in Korea argue that the government has to make more efforts to adopt consistent policies to promote affection for traditional clothing.
They are also adamant about the need to revive a domestic hanbok movement that occurred in 1996.
According to an English daily in Seoul ‘The Korea Times’, there was a national campaign to promote hanbok as everyday clothing at the time.
The campaign was initiated by the culture ministry in December 1996, officially launching a nationwide movement to urge people to wear hanbok on the first Saturday of every month.
The newspaper reports, “the campaign had played an important role in increasing hanbok’s brand as daily wear and now hanbok designers appealed to culture officials for the consideration into launching such campaigns but their suggestions have fallen on deaf ears.”
It has also lamented the lack of interest in hanbok among Koreans, highlighting Tokyo’s efforts to promote everyday use of its own traditional dress, the “kimono,” through effective policies.
In fact, any citizen wearing a kimono in Japan is given discounts in taxis. Kimono exhibitions are readily present at most visible tourist sites.
The Korea Times also points out that hanbok is very often called in the West, ‘Korean kimono’.
In fact most of Korean people are of a strong view that loving their own clothes will enhance foreigners’ recognition of them and they will be seen as those who respect their own culture.
The Korean Hanbok Festival showcasing the changing trends in modern hanbok.
The Korean Heritage Fashion Show. Contemporary hanbok designs tend to stress practicality, simplicity and comfort
The collection of a renowned hanbok designer Lee Young Hee