Fashion seems to be the talk of the town in North Korea currently as the clear directives given by the government ban people from wearing leather trenchcoats. The fashion item that was first worn by dictatorial ruler Kim Jong Un in 2019 during a tv appearance soon caught the fancy of rich elites. Similarly, it was worn by his sister Kim Yo Jung and other senior female politicians who thought that the leather coat was a new style statement. To show their loyalty to the supreme leader, they began wearing the leather apparel imported from China.
Earlier this year, as the unofficial trade between China and North Korea, reopened after the lockdown during the Covid Pandemic, traders got the opportunity to acquire materials like synthetic leather to make the coats. Soon knock-off versions of the trench coat were in vogue, and citizens could be seen wearing them on several occasions.
A source told Radio Free Asia that wearing clothes that are designed specifically to look like the Highest Dignity is a dishonourable trend projected to challenge the authority. This is not the first time when such restrictions have been imposed upon the netizens when it comes to fashion choices.
In 2014, three years precisely after Kim became the leader, clear instructions were given as to how students would get a haircut. Skin short on the back and sides with a parting on top matching the supreme leader was the standardised hairstyle. Three years later, in 2017, another rule was passed as per which North Koreans had been barred from getting a haircut that would resemble Kim’s hairstyle.