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The padding craze

Posted November. 23, 2017 07:29,   

Updated November. 23, 2017 08:02

한국어

Adolescents have a tendency to feel a sense of belonging and form consciousness of kind by sharing common interests and the latest trends. This year, the fad is long padded jackets, after a slew of outwear brands such as North Face, Canada Goose and Discovery, also known as “spine breakers,” which were dubbed after their notorious prices that burden their parents. It is amazing how every student appears to be wearing jackets with the same length and color; they may be easily mistaken as school uniforms. Parents would become distressed when their children refuse to wear last year’s jacket and beg for new, longer versions, arguing that they would be “singled out” by their friends if they didn’t have one.

Trends usually don’t happen for a reason, but this year is slightly different as Korean pop idols are partly responsible. They usually wear thin clothing, such as cropped tops and miniskirts, on stage; so long padded jackets are a must for them as they wait behind the stages. Pictures of pop idols in these long padded jackets are frequently captured and shared on social network services, prompting adolescents to imitate the style, which eventually spread to adult fashion. The much sought-after “Pyeongchang Long Padded Jackets” gained attention after singer Sunmi and EXID Hani were shown in the jackets at the Pyeongchang Dream Concert on November 4.

The last batch of Pyeongchang Long Padded Jackets went on sale Wednesday at Lotte Department Store, which was flooded with customers, and the jackets quickly sold out. The counters opened at 10:30 a.m., but customers queued up from 7:00 p.m. the night before. Those standing in line included an elderly man who boarded a train outside of Seoul to purchase a jacket for his daughter-in-law and a person in a wheelchair. It is understandable that the jacket is good for value, but such fervor goes too far.

Trends develop when people copy one another, and a new trend takes off when people start something new. This indicates that social synchronism is at the heart of trends. Trends take place in any country, but in Korea the cycle appears to be shorter and more intense. In other words, there is stronger social pressure on synchronism in Korea. If you come to think of it, the candlelight vigils that lighted Gwanghwamun Square last year cannot be described without synchronism. The fad of long padded jackets may appear peculiar, but it is also a reflection of how dynamic Koreans are.