Honorable Mention

K POP Imperial Style

  • Photographer
    Ximena Echague
  • Date of Photograph
    June 2017

For two weeks I was Portraying young people with the traditional costume called hanbok, which is coming back in vogue among them in Korea. Those dressed in the Korean traditional costume are often armed with selfie sticks or professional-looking cameras. The pictures they take are often uploaded onto platforms such as Facebook and Instagram.


Korea is probably the most high-tech country on the planet and Korean pop is the most recent cultural wave, including music, cinema, soap operas, etc. that triumphs all over Asia and beyond. However, Korean young people have discovered a new love for a very traditional outfit, the hanbok. Why are young Korean urbanites, normally so inclined to adopt the most modern western fashion, so keen now to dress like their countryside grandparents used to for formal occasions? Was the Korean development so rapid that this sudden transition was too much to absorb in just two generations and is now provoking a backlash, a strong desire to look and feel more traditional?

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