Hanbok Designer Grabs Spotlight with Black Pink Video

  • By Choi Bo-yun

    August 03, 2020 13:36


    The music video of Black Pink's latest single "How You Like That," in which the girl band appear in Korean traditional hanbok, has been viewed over 367 million times on YouTube.

    Their appearance on the "The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon" in the same outfits had also garnered over 33.1 million clicks as of July 31.

    Danha (30), who made the costumes, said, "We had over 10,000 visitors to our online shop on the day Black Pink released the single at the end of June, now we have a steady volume of traffic of around 3,000 per day."

    Over half of them are in the U.S., 25 percent in China, and the rest from all over the world such as Europe and Southeast Asia. "I had some expectations as Black Pink's stylist bought my clothes, but I never expected such explosive reception from abroad," she added. "I feel like I'm having my own 15 minutes of fame now."

    It has only been two years since Danha launched her eponymous label. With just W3 million each, Danha and her high school friend decided to set up a business designing and selling hanbok (US$1=W1,191).

    "My high school in Busan had a hanbok-themed school uniform," she recalled. "It was so pretty and comfortable. I wore hanbok when I traveled overseas because I wanted my selfies to have something unique, and local people there raved about it. It made me think perhaps hanbok can have a global appeal. I wanted to make a fashion brand inspired by the Korean tradition."


    Danha used to buy ready-made hanbok from shops and modify them, but she soon realized the need to learn more about the tradition to be more creative, so she took courses on the history of hanbok at the Korean Royal Costume Research Institute in Seoul.

    For several years, she would leave on the first train from Busan at 4:30 a.m. to Seoul, and come back on the last train of the day. She then went on a postgraduate program at Sungkyunkwan University in 2018.

    A skirt with a hanbok silhouette using bold-colored African fabric was hugely popular. Since then, she has been working on creating hanbok from fabrics from all over the world. She is also coming up with creative ideas to mix up the conventions.

    Black Pink

    The short crop top that Rosé of Black Pink wore is Danha's re-interpretation of hanbok, and the top that Jennie wore is inspired by a men's coat.

    Danha is also inspired by bojagi or Korean wrapping cloth that was used in the royal court. Foreign fashion brands like Etro and Emilio Pucci use unique patterns in their designs, and she decided to go down a similar path.

    "I would love to preserve but reinterpret our tradition and make my clothes wearable around the world," she said. "I want my brand to be Korea's Chanel."

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