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Is Korean fashion similar to Chinese?


Luke Martin from ROKetship

Expats living in China notice many ways in which the Middle Kingdom is different from their homeland. However, some of these peculiarities are not merely Chinese and can be witnessed in other Asian countries as well.

One of my Facebook friends (thanks Jeph!) recently showed me cartoon depicting a funny moment in the life of “laowai” living in… Korea! After tracking the source of the picture I eventually landed on the site of its creator Luke Martin, and stuck there for a long time browsing through different cartoons and having lots of laughs.

Looking at them I caught myself thinking that Westerners living in China should often have similar experiences. So, I contacted Luke and asked for permission to post some of his cartoons. Choosing just few wasn’t an easy task – thus I decided to take only those which are related to the topic of Asian fashion. To see the rest – and there are plenty – go to Luke’s site, ROKetship).

1) You think you know what size is small and what size is big? Think again!

Cartoon about clothes size

We will teach you about the real size of clothes

2) Another misconception (of Westerners) is what parts of body should be showcased.

Asian women clothes

I don't understand Korean, but I think I know what she is thinking...

3) Remember the Asian aging process? Somewhere along the way there is also the change in fashion sense.

End of fashion trend

Menopause... bbahhh!

4) One important lesson to learn from Asian fashion is how to express your love through clothes

Matching clothes for couples - no limits

If you are a match - be a match!

5) Everybody knows that Asia is the hot market for luxury brands. And it’s not only females who follow the trend.

Man bag

This is what "metrosexual" means

So, what do you think – is Korean fashion similar to Chinese?

Cartoons fan, Crystal Tao

  • Meng

    Interesting thread. Just a couple thoughts on each ‘toon:

    1) Western women aren’t necessarily larger, they often just have larger or rounder features, i.e. women-shaped, as opposed to little boy-shaped. I have the same problem here, especially shopping for pants, which, over here, are really short in the crotch. I always feel like saying, “No, no, I wanted man pants, not little boy pants.”

    2) I think different women show off what they think is their best feature, or hiding them. I’ve seen tons of Asian women showing off their chests, especially now that plastic surgery is becoming more widespread. Likewise, tons of western women show off their long, slim legs. I mean, the miniskirt was invented in London in the late 1950s.

    3) I think much of this can be attributed to the fact that these older women grew up in a day when western culture hadn’t quite been adopted so heavily. I mean, it was around, but not like now when everybody is wearing exclusively western fashion. They just don’t adapt so well to what the newer generation has embraced as their own.

    4) Stop. Just please stop with the matching outfits. It’s so awful. Honestly, it just makes the rest of us lose our lunch. I fell in love with my girlfriend because of our differences. The desire to have a lover that looks and acts like you is such dangerous self-love you can only call it solipsism. Why when I see these people with the matching outfits are they always the worst outfits? You’d think they would try to look good together, not bad. It just makes the rest of us laugh at you and you forget why you love each other. It’s only for people that know nothing about being in a relationship.

    5) Asia may be A market, but it is not THE market for luxury brands. I mean, what about NYC, Paris, Milan, Vienna, etc.? I could go on, but I’ve been to tons of cities around the world whose fashion choices either match or trump what I’ve seen in Shanghai, Beijing, Chengdu, etc. As far as men… well, the west is also full of metrosexuals. David Beckham, anyone?

    As far as Korean fashion being like Chinese, yes, Koreans, according to these cartoons, must have the same misconceptions about their fashion, that it is special and in no means derivative of or similar to the West. Maybe I’m just a guy and I don’t understand fashion, but I have to say I think most people that think they have great taste have no taste at all.

  • Crystal

    Well, if I would have to define the Chinese fashion (or in this case Korean) in one word that distinguishes it from the Western – it would be “cuteness”.
    Asian fashion is cute! :razz:

    As for male fashion – what do you think about this male model David Chiang?

    • Meng

      I’m sorry Crystal, I just don’t see many examples of “Chinese fashion” that aren’t really Western fashion with a Chinese label on it. Lining, for instance, is just a huge ripoff of Nike and Adidas. If they were in the US, they’d have been sued long, long ago for the “Anything Is Possible” quote that they stole from Adidas’ “Impossible Is Nothing”, as well as Nike’s swoosh. But this is just the tip of the iceberg. The fashion styles themselves are western.

      Maybe Asian girls themselves put together outfits that are cute, but they are still doing it with western-style clothing. Now, Japanese Harajuku fashion can be cute if you’re doing it Kawaii style, but, again, it is just an adaptation of western fashion.

      Designers often are inspired by Asian traditional styles, but really everything is just variations on Western themes. It’s a sad homogenization, one that the world may never recover from.

      And no– David Chiang–NO. Please don’t try to become a Victoria’s Secret model because it will never happen and then legions of misled adolescent girls will be so upset that they didn’t get to see their favorite metrosexual model inappropriately wearing women’s lingerie. Andrej Pejic saying he’s getting a sex change just so he can be a VS model is so insulting to women I wish it were televised when the execs at VS tell him to get lost after he’s had his junk cut off.

  • PL

    Crystal, you’re enough of a woman of the world now….!

    I hope you’re just saying that “Asian fashion is cute !” as a wind up.

    Cute = pass the bucket so we can vomit.

    With regards to David Chiang, somehow I think he’s just trying to get publicity for himself. After all, was he particularly famous before?!

  • JY

    Obviously westerners will never accept the cuteness that Asian fashion revolves around, if the two comments left here represent your average westerner.

    • HongBaoNaLai

      Sure the fashion magazines of cute models are cute. You see them cute asian girls that are adorable and want to pinch their cheeks. But….

      There are asian girls who are actually not cute at all. And no matter how many cute clotes and accesories they put on, they still won’t look cute. But the cute theme is too driven in Asian Fashion that some nasty girls acting all cute and dress cute can really make you want to vomit in a bucket.

      Some girls can never be cute. Let’s put it as Lady Gaga is not cute. No matter how much she tries even with cute clothes, accesories and even a cute name. SHE STILL AIN’T CUTE!

  • Sarah

    Let me first say these pictures are really Funny and I can’t believe people here have commented that Asian Fashion isn’t cute? I think men are just clueless about fashion.

    • PL


      The problem is that Asian fashion TRIES to be cute (horrible word. ’sweet’ is nicer), but ends up being artificial and annoying. True sweetness is natural and unrehearsed.

  • PL
  • SamReeves

    Korean guys drive me crazy! :roll:

    If I see one more wearing a winter hat (in the summer) with slightly long hair and fake glasses in a bar in China again I’ll tell him that Samsung is a Chinese brand!

    Why is it that all Korean guys have to look the same? Is there like a poster somewhere in Korea of what you should look like before they let you leave the airport between the ages of 18 – 27?

    In answer to the above question: No, Chinese fashion is not similar to Korean fashion…… but Korean culture is Chinese culture… they are still just pretending they have their own! Dragon boat day, Confucious, dumplings…and so on.

    • henri

      How can you say that korean culture is same to chinese。China has not been china before mao put it together,  the china we know now was just many different areas and minorities fighting against each others.
      Korea was one of  these areas put in the end was its still a different country.
      All the countries in asia have a lot of similarities, and all the countries in europe have a lot of similarities.. America, well its just people from europe and africa put together which in your words mean that usa is just pretending they have their own culture.

  • koreanguy

    “No, Chinese fashion is not similar to Korean fashion”


    “but Korean culture is Chinese culture… they are still just pretending they have their own!”

    Stay in China too long and you start becoming Sino-fied saying ludicrous shit like this. The fact that idiot Chinese (and their Sino-fied non-Chinese comrades) are saying shit like is indicative that Korea does have coveted modern culture.

  • korean_guy

    The title for this post is misleading. The content of the post has nothing to do with fashion, rather more on the sensibility of Asians vs. westerners.

    Having said that, Chinese fashion is in no way similar to Korean fashion.

  • Nancy Marcet

    After living in S. Korea 5 years and visiting China three times, I’ve decided there is no “fashion” per say in China! The cartoons you found about S. Korea are absolutely on the point and so, so funny!