The Story of Modern Hanbok
Korean people wore traditional Hanboks daily. This beautiful garment has a deep history. And today, modernization has transcended this garb to a much more comfortable and stylish avatar. The
Hanbok itself means “Korean clothing“. It mainly has 2 chapters: the top part and the bottom part. For both men and women, the top piece of this robe, which is in fact a jacket, is called Jeogori. The bottom piece for women is a long skirt called chima, while men have relatively bigger and wider pants called baji. The Hanbok is a very comfortable dress. The wide silhouette ensures maximum comfort in movement. The dress is said to have been influenced by the nomadic tendencies of the Korean people at the time. The origin of the Hanbok traces back to the Goguryeo Dynasty, one of the three most important ancient kingdoms of Korea.
The design of the dress
There are no significant changes in the design or pattern of the Hanbok. Only a few minor changes were made based on the cultural impact. Because of the Mongol influence, during the reign of the Mongol Empire in the 13th century, the women’s jeogori was cropped in a shortened version that came above the waist. During the Joseon Dynasty, the social strata had a little influence on the design of the Hanbok. Commoners were limited to using only cotton fabric and white fabric for their clothing, while the Royals wore richly bright and vibrant colours in silk fabric.
The modern Hanbok
Nowadays, hanbok is limited to special and formal occasions, such as weddings, New Year’s, etc. But recently, there has been a wonderful change in the country where young couples wear Hanbok thanks to Gyeongbokgung Palace and Hanbok Tours, where the couples/people are supposed to wear the traditional Hanbok while on tour. Traditional Hanbok has taken a few modern twists. where a lot of street style and modern styles are adopted. Vibrant colours and quirky details brighten up this traditional attire.
The country’s designers are also experimenting with the fabric. Now, denim and gingham are two of the most commonly used fabrics for making hanbok. Even global brands like Dior draw influence from the Royal Imperial patterns for their empire-waisted dresses.
Hanbok seems to be making a comeback in fashion. Women have already started experimenting with colours, styles, brands and patterns, while men are still somewhat reluctant to experiment. Yet this one piece of clothing is always a reminder of the beauty and value of this rich country.