North Korean Jeans Dropped, Cavin Klein to Seoul

It’s been a pretty interesting week in terms of Korean fashion. First, last week reports surfaced that a new North Korean denim brand called NoKo would soon be stocked in a Swedish department store. Apparently the line of limited-edition jeans was the brainchild of “Jakob Ohlsson, Jacob Aastroem and Tor Rauden Kaellstigen — all under the age of 25 — [who] said their project stemmed from a desire to make contact with the isolated communist state,” says the Independent. But, after numerous outlets picked up on the story, adding fuel to the controversy, PUB — the Swedish department store committed to carrying the brand — pulled out. “The explanation I got was that (the store’s management) had taken the decision … that PUB is not the right place, or platform, for this kind of political discussion,” said one of the denim brand’s founders. It might not be the last you hear of NoKo, as the label’s founders are currently searching for alternative stores to stock their black denim (blue is seen as too connected to American culture) in two styles that retail for just over $200 each.

While the aforementioned denim controversy may have been a blow to North Korea’s nonexistent international fashion image, news that Calvin Klein will soon show in South Korea is sure to have the opposite effect. “The spring women’s and men’s lines will be showcased Thursday as installations at the Kring Creative Culture Space, with Korean-American artist Jean Shin doing the honors for the women’s collection and British curator Neville Wakefield creating one for the men’s,” says Women’s Wear Daily. The choice to house the event in South Korea was anything but accidental; in fact, Korea is Calvin Klein’s second-most important Asian market when it comes to global sales. And Calvin Klein isn’t the only major brand looking to the region: H&M plans to open its first stores in South Korea as early as 2010.

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