Gender-Neutral Trend Catches on in Korea

  • By Song Hye-jin

    September 23, 2022 08:46

    The Korean market for unisex products continues to swell along with stores selling them. 
    Cosmetics brand Laka sells gender-neutral makeup and its ads feature both men and women using its lipsticks, tints and eye shadow. There are no separate products for men and women. 
    "Our aim is to send a message to our customers to choose products based on their own tastes rather than gender," a staffer said. 
    Men's fashion designer Woo Young-mi, who has around 30 boutiques around the world, recently teamed up with gel-nail maker Ohora to feature a lineup of genderless products. A staffer at the fashion company said, "We just designed the products to appeal to customers visiting our stores." 
    A growing number of consumers feel comfortable with gender barriers breaking down in the fashion industry. Apparel maker ACBF is manufacturing women's clothes incorporating the best aspects of men's clothing, while ACBF makes women's jackets at its men's clothes factories, employing tough stitching and threads and bigger pockets. 
    Nike recently opened its first-ever style shop in the trendy Honnik University area of Seoul where it showcases sports outfits without separating men's and women's sections. "We focused on the trend of customers looking for the best fit rather than choosing outfits based on gender," a staffer said. 
    The market for men's underwear and leggings is also growing. Xexymix, the biggest maker of leggings in Korea, racked up W52.8 billion in sales in the second quarter of this year, and W10.9 billion of that amount came from men's leggings and innerwear (US$1=W1,410). 
    Andar, another leggings manufacturer, sold W10.2 billion worth of men's leggings in the second quarter. 
    Shinsegae International is expanding production of boxer shorts for women, which hit shelves last year. Last month, it introduced six new boxers for women. A Shinsegae staffer said, "More and more women are buying boxers for comfort and we boosted output by around 20 percent this year. We plan to boost it by another 30 percent next year."  
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