‘Fashion has no age’: the stylish senior citizens of Seoul | South Korea

Pots and pans, piles of shirts and shoes, jewellery-laden tables, and bins brimming with bric-a-brac. In the tangle of streets around exit 3 of Seoul’s Dongmyo station, hundreds of vendors market all the things from aged Instamatic cameras to textbooks, luggage and vinyl records.

Found in the South Korean capital’s historic district of Dongdaemun, Dongmyo’s bustling flea sector is scattered about a shrine constructed in honour of an historic Chinese army commander. But there is far more to the neighbourhood than bargains, vintage dresses, and retro treasures. It also serves as a cultural hub for the city’s senior citizens to shop, socialise and exhibit off their distinctive design.

Chae Myung-hee and Shin Tae-geun
Remaining: Previous women’s garments designer Chae Myung-hee says vogue has constantly been a portion of her daily life.
Suitable: Shin Tae-geun offered children’s dresses for 50 decades in Daegu’s Seomun Current market, acquiring started her profession as an assistant at a children’s dressmaker where she uncovered to sew and make clothes. She even now cares about trend, and would make positive to seem perfect ahead of likely out.
Composite: Kim Dong-hyun

“One day, I found a senior gentleman wanting for outfits just like me. His model blew me away,” remembers Seoul-centered photographer Kim Dong-hyun, 29, who spends his times documenting the city’s vivid senior road style scene, considerably of which he shares on Instagram.

Around the many years, Dongmyo has undergone a whole lot of alter, turning into a location for younger people’s newfound appreciation of classic outfits on a finances. At its core although, Dongmyo has generally been a playground for the city’s elderly population.

“I’ve achieved some people today who have been going there just about every 7 days for 30 yrs,” Kim claims, based on the quite a few conversations he has had with the people today he has photographed. South Korea is a quickly ageing culture. By 2050, the selection of aged individuals could account for virtually 44% of the country’s populace. Even though quite a few senior citizens sense more healthy than ever and do not regard themselves as previous, elderly loneliness is a significant difficulty.

“In Korea, there are not many areas the place elderly individuals can go and have enjoyment. But in Dongmyo, they can go browsing, they can enjoy, meet up with friends and drink makgeolli [rice wine]. It is their spot, and they really do not want to treatment about what other people today assume.”

‘MacArthur’ also kinds section of Dongmyo’s armed forces crew. He likes to reinterpret navy design in a modern-day way whilst decorating his dresses with colourful embroidered patches and badges. Photograph: Kim Dong-hyun

“From their hairdos to their glasses and footwear, they know how to search good and acquire treatment of them selves. They pursue their own variations and unique means to categorical their individuality. Numerous of us think that fashionable persons are just youthful people, a concept further more amplified by the media. But style has no age,” he suggests.

Amid the senior citizens that cling out in Dongdaemun is Lee Seok-ki, 1 member of a group known as the “military crew”. The team is comprised of 3 guys whose variations are different from every other: Lee prefers a minimalist classic navy search, while his mates like to reinterpret military design and style in a contemporary way, decorating garments with colourful embroidered patches and badges.

If anything at all, senior trend is far more refined, Kim suggests. “It’s like wine. In your 20s, you just taste anything, but by your 70s, your style is sharper – you know what you like.”

As a boy or girl, Chae Myung-hee, 74, made a enthusiasm for vogue that led her to do the job as a women’s dresses designer for 40 yrs. Even in the course of the pandemic when some people dressed down and averted make-up, she states she made an exertion to usually glance excellent, irrespective of whether she was sporting a mask or not. “It’s always been a part of me,” Chae states.

Lee Joong-hee and the Lady in Dior
Still left: Lee Joong-hee has constantly liked dressing up. He loves to seem for outfits that he thinks glimpse excellent on him devoid of spending consideration to what other individuals could think.
Appropriate: Lady in Dior: When Kim Dong-hyun initial saw her, she was dressed in Dior, so gave her the nickname. ‘Every time I fulfill her, I’m amazed by her perception of design and style,’ he says.
Composite: Kim Dong-hyun

In his approaching e-book, Mut – Street Trend of Seoul, Kim provides a glimpse into the world of senior manner. He hopes the book will offer a new perspective on a demographic that is usually missed or under-appreciated. Kim suggests more mature people today need to be recognised for their interesting and flair, which is regarded as meot in Korean, or as Kim likes to stylise it on the net and in his book – mut.

“It’s extra than the English term ‘cool’,” he states. “Sometimes it can necessarily mean a thing is excellent, occasionally it can suggest nice, sometimes it’s lovely or wonderful. I cannot specific it otherwise or translate the phrase, and really don’t see the want for it.”

The images offer you hope, he states, and a new way of seeking at ageing. “I imagine some folks have hope when they see my pictures. They can see that they also can carry on to be trendy when they develop older.

“When a headline utilizes the term ‘grandfather’, we immediately suppose anything adverse … I want to show that seniors have person personalities, that they also can have their individual meot.”

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