ALI ZANE WRITES – With K-pop now a global presence, more and more luxury fashion brands have been collaborating with its idols.
A pivotal moment: Chanel’s 2015 Paris fashion show, where K-pop idol and fashion trailblazer G-Dragon sat front row. He was the first Asian star to be invited. A year later, the fashion icon became the official representative of the face and muse of Chanel, making him one of the first Asian artists to sign a brand deal with a luxury fashion house. No doubt he will pave the way for other K-pop idols.
What’s more, the four women comprising the girl group Blackpink—Jisoo, Jennie, Rosé and Lisa— one of the most prominent K-pop ensembles in the fashion industry— have been appointed global ambassadors for some of the most high-profile brands, including Dior, Chanel, Yves Saint Laurent and Celine, respectively. Known as ‘the Blackpink effect,’ fashion pieces worn by its members consistently sell out of stock within hours. Recently, for example, 25-year old Blackpink member and Celine ambassador Lisa, whose image graced the cover of Elle Korea, did so almost immediately upon the magazine’s release.
Now, with the fourth generation of K-pop on the rise, luxury fashion brands are racing to sign their new ambassadors. All eyes have been on 7-month-old rookie girl group NewJeans. Known for their fresh fashion look, its members, on the rise to be crowned the next “nation’s girl group,” have collaborated with an impressive array of luxury brands.
In October of 2023, just three months after their debut,18-year-old member Hanni was chosen as an ambassador representing Gucci, alongside A-list celebrities including Harry Styles, Billie Eilish, and Miley Cyrus. In December of 2022, member Hyein became the brand ambassador for Louis Vuitton—the youngest to get such a position, at age 14. In January of this year, member Danielle was chosen by Burberry—not just as brand ambassador but as a global ambassador, which is a huge achievement for a rookie idol. And, most recently, member Minji was appointed brand ambassador of Chanel alongside star seniors G-Dragon and Blackpink’s Jennie.
Now, fans await the selection of 16-year-old member Haerin’s by another big brand. With NewJeans, hailed as the “next Blackpink” in popularity, there is no question as to why these rising stars have been snatched up as quickly as possible.
As K-pop continues to dominate the fashion industry and boost sales in East Asia, we can hope to see a more inclusive fashion industry. Just 8 years ago, news of a K-pop idol attending Paris fashion week was groundbreaking. Now it’s just a natural thing.