K-Pop Idols Takeover Luxury Fashion Maisons


The fashion industry has always thrived on popular culture, which is enjoying a more diverse upgrade with the Hallyu-wave, or the global phenomenon of K-pop. For a highly competitive industry like K-pop, fashion is a visual weapon to attract more and more audiences every day. It plays a major role in their music videos, translating their distinct concepts—think girl crush, techwear or old school—to their audience. A collaboration between the two gigantic industries was on the anvil, and they did not disappoint.


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The Hallyu Wave

Fashion Week’s front rows sparkle with K-pop royalties like the BTS members, who earlier had group ambassadorships and are now exploring different territories. Kim Nam Joon (RM) is for Bottega Venetta, Park Jimin for Dior, and Jung Ho Soek (J-Hope) for Louis Vuitton. Members of groups such as BLACKPINK, EXO and GOT7 too are enjoying global stardom, and fashion houses have identified their opportunities astutely. K-pop is increasingly being used as a successful marketing strategy by luxury labels and cashing in on these third and fourth-generation idols, who not only bring brands huge social media engagement but also snaking queues of fans outside their runway venues to cheer for their favourites. Apart from all the interaction and buzz on the Internet from K-pop fans making them all the rage, the products fly off the shelves as soon as the idols are seen donning them at airports, soundchecks, or concerts. Arguably, it all works well for every brand’s bottom line.


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The Diversity Card

If you’re wondering why K-Pop idols are suddenly ruling the roost, the answer is racial diversity. Over decades, we’ve been accustomed to the stereotype of fair-skinned or white celebrities endorsing brands who are, more often than not, from the Western parts of the world. They’re picked to best represent the business’s beliefs on social and cultural platforms. But as the market for luxury goods expands in the other half of the world and consumers demand better representation, brands are rushing to sign up diverse brand ambassadors on their roster. K-pop fans are mostly considered to be around 12–25 years old, aka Gen Zs, who were often overlooked but are increasingly seen as the leading consumer group of the future. And for this new generation of buyers, who demand more representation from the fashion industry to match their own beliefs, hiring these K-pop idols is the easiest win-win solution.The scale of this brand-muse relationship is relatively new, and some brands deserve acknowledgement. Second-generation style icons G-Dragon for Chanel and CL for Moschino came into the picture in 2017 and 2021.


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Let’s Talk Numbers

Luxury and status play an important role in Asian culture, and that probably explains why South Korea alone had a 24 per cent increase in luxury spending in 2022, hitting $16.8 billion USD! South Koreans spend more per person on luxury items than the US and China combined. Brands such as Dior saw a major hike in their stocks following the news of BTS member Jimin coming on board as an ambassador. This happened for the first time in 31 years, since 1992. Are K-pop idols single-handedly hauling this drive? The answer is no, and the proof lies in the pudding. A-listers from India and Thailand are part of this unofficial movement, too, with Gucci recently announcing Alia Bhatt as its ambassador.

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- Digital Writer


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