Written by Lee Jung-youn
7 July 2022
“Our products are all handmade, but in terms of design, we have to adapt colorful, fancy styles that young tourists and foreigners would like to take selfies in. They’re not traditional, but are easier to wear, manage and make profits from.”
It is easy to blame rental shop owners for presenting such products, but they have their reasons. They need to consider the popularity, convenience and price of the products.
Kim, owner of hanbok rental shop near Jeonju hanok village said,
If foreigners who visit Korea think that rental hanbok are the standard, it could be a problem. (Kim, college student)
I am not hung up on rental hanbok. It‘s just a product that’s more accessible, like fusion Korean food. But I do think it should be distinguished from traditional hanbok.
(Song In-jun, 26)
If customers are satisfied with it, I think it’s fine. But I personally don’t find excessively altered hanbok attractive. (Shin Yoon-ji, 23)
Then, let’s see what customers think about rental hanbok.
Experts expressed concerns about the preservation of hanbok.
“Rental hanbok certainly
contributed to the commercialization of hanbok, but more contemplation is needed to produce high-quality modernized hanbok. Support from the government would be great. This problem cannot be solved by individual efforts alone."
Hanbok designer Moonaq
“As a person who has been in the hanbok business for 44 years, I painfully came to admit that rental hanbok is also a trend. But at the very least, we have to secure the basic components of hanbok. I’m not saying that we should wear a museum-artifact-level hanbok, but I just want hanbok to be like hanbok.”
Hanbok designer Park Sul-nyeo