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Jim Kostecky / Seoul / South Korea

The South Korean capital may be a hotbed of contemporary global fashion, but these days, some of its trendiest style mavens are seeking inspiration in the past. Photographer Jim Kostecky captured this image of a young woman in Seoul wearing a hanbok, the traditional garb that’s enjoying a revival.

Published on Feb 20, 2017

In recent years, the hanbok, or traditional Korean dress, has been enjoying a resurgence in Seoul. Historically, the brightly colored, clean-lined clothing of the Joseon period was worn at semi-formal or formal gatherings, weddings and celebrations. These days, however, you’ll find groups of young Korean women enrobed in these beautiful outfits snapping selfies among the greenery of historical gardens and in front of palaces that date back to the 1400s. Catching a fleeting glimpse of one of the billowing skirts can be in some places—like down the narrow lanes of 600-year-old Bukchon Hanok Village—a dreamlike game of cat-and-mouse. In others, the classic frocks are so ubiquitous that you feel like you’ve stepped into a period play. Here, a young girl walks through a doorway at Unhyeongung Royal Residence, which became a Joseon palace in the 19th century and is a setting frequented by hanbok-wearing fashionistas. Experiencing the Korean capital as a Joseon-era princess has become a tourist attraction: there are several vendors in Seoul that will rent hanboks for a day.


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