The North Korean government has reportedly imposed a ban against leather coats to keep young men from imitating Kim Jong-un’s trademark style.
Kim the trendsetter: In 2019, the North Korean leader sparked a trend following a TV appearance in which he wore a leather trench coat, reported Radio Free Asia.
- Due to the high cost of imported Chinese leather, only wealthy North Koreans were initially able to don the Kim-inspired look.
- After local garment makers started importing fake leather, the masses were able to imitate their president.
- Faux leather jackets soon flooded the domestic marketplace and became affordable to many young men.
- Jackets made of real leather reportedly cost about 170,000 North Korean won ($189), while the fake versions cost about 80,000 won ($89).
- Based on 2018 data, the average North Korean earns around 4,000 North Korean won ($4.44) per month, reported Korea Joongang Daily per Radio Free Asia.
Fashion police: Local authorities have started confiscating the jackets from both the stores that sell them and the citizens who wear them.
- Citing a local source, Radio Free Asia reported that the crackdown earned complaints from citizens who protested that the coats should not be confiscated as they bought them with their own money.
- In response, officers stated that wearing clothes designed to copy Kim’s look is an “impure trend to challenge the authority of the Highest Dignity (an honorific term for Kim).”
- The authorities further claimed that it is “part of the directive” of the ruling Workers’ Party of Korea to determine who can sport the banned jackets.
- The coats are now seen as a “symbol of power,” according to the source. High-ranking officials, including Kim Jong-un’s sister Kim Yo-jong, have also been seen wearing them in public.
In addition to the ban against leather jackets, the North Korean government also recently banned body piercings, mullets and skinny jeans as they are deemed to be symbols of a “capitalistic lifestyle,” as NextShark previously reported.