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

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Pots and pans, piles of shirts and shoes, jewellery-laden tables, and containers brimming with bric-a-brac. In the tangle of streets around exit 3 of Seoul’s Dongmyo station, hundreds of sellers provide every little thing from aged Instamatic cameras to textbooks, baggage and vinyl records.

Located in the South Korean capital’s historic district of Dongdaemun, Dongmyo’s bustling flea sector is scattered all-around a shrine built in honour of an ancient Chinese army commander. But there is much more to the neighbourhood than bargains, classic clothing, and retro treasures. It also serves as a cultural hub for the city’s senior citizens to store, socialise and display off their one of a kind fashion.

Chae Myung-hee and Shin Tae-geun
Remaining: Former women’s apparel designer Chae Myung-hee says fashion has normally been a element of her daily life.
Suitable: Shin Tae-geun sold children’s clothing for 50 a long time in Daegu’s Seomun Sector, getting started her profession as an assistant at a children’s dressmaker where she learned to sew and make apparel. She continue to cares about style, and can make certain to appear ideal before going out.
Composite: Kim Dong-hyun

“One day, I noticed a senior gentleman on the lookout for clothes just like me. His type blew me away,” recalls Seoul-based photographer Kim Dong-hyun, 29, who spends his times documenting the city’s vivid senior road manner scene, a great deal of which he shares on Instagram.

Above the several years, Dongmyo has gone through a large amount of modify, starting to be a place for young people’s newfound appreciation of vintage outfits on a spending budget. At its core although, Dongmyo has constantly been a playground for the city’s aged population.

“I’ve achieved some people who have been going there every single 7 days for 30 many years,” Kim claims, based on the quite a few conversations he has experienced with the men and women he has photographed. South Korea is a swiftly ageing society. By 2050, the quantity of aged people could account for approximately 44% of the country’s populace. While several senior citizens really feel much healthier than ever and do not regard on their own as outdated, aged loneliness is a important trouble.

“In Korea, there are not lots of sites where aged folks can go and have exciting. But in Dongmyo, they can go searching, they can perform, satisfy friends and drink makgeolli [rice wine]. It’s their place, and they don’t want to treatment about what other folks feel.”

‘MacArthur’ also varieties element of Dongmyo’s armed forces crew. He likes to reinterpret armed service type in a present day way even though decorating his clothing with colourful embroidered patches and badges. Photograph: Kim Dong-hyun

“From their hairdos to their glasses and footwear, they know how to look superior and consider treatment of by themselves. They go after their possess models and unique techniques to categorical their individuality. Many of us imagine that stylish people are just young folks, a message even more amplified by the media. But fashion has no age,” he suggests.

Among the senior citizens that dangle out in Dongdaemun is Lee Seok-ki, 1 member of a team acknowledged as the “military crew”. The team is comprised of 3 gentlemen whose models are distinct from each and every other: Lee prefers a minimalist regular military look, whilst his buddies like to reinterpret military services design in a modern-day way, decorating clothing with colourful embroidered patches and badges.

If anything at all, senior fashion is more refined, Kim claims. “It’s like wine. In your 20s, you just flavor every thing, but by your 70s, your flavor is sharper – you know what you like.”

As a kid, Chae Myung-hee, 74, created a passion for fashion that led her to perform as a women’s apparel designer for 40 several years. Even through the pandemic when some people today dressed down and averted make-up, she states she made an work to usually seem great, no matter whether she was carrying a mask or not. “It’s often been a part of me,” Chae states.

Lee Joong-hee and the Lady in Dior
Still left: Lee Joong-hee has normally liked dressing up. He enjoys to look for garments that he thinks seem terrific on him without having shelling out notice to what some others might assume.
Proper: Woman in Dior: When Kim Dong-hyun initial observed her, she was dressed in Dior, so gave her the nickname. ‘Every time I fulfill her, I’m amazed by her sense of design,’ he suggests.
Composite: Kim Dong-hyun

In his approaching reserve, Mut – Avenue Manner of Seoul, Kim provides a glimpse into the world of senior manner. He hopes the e-book will present a new viewpoint on a demographic that is normally missed or less than-appreciated. Kim says older persons ought to be recognised for their interesting and aptitude, which is recognised as meot in Korean, or as Kim likes to stylise it on the internet and in his e book – mut.

“It’s additional than the English word ‘cool’,” he suggests. “Sometimes it can mean some thing is great, occasionally it can suggest pleasant, from time to time it’s magnificent or fabulous. I just can’t express it in a different way or translate the term, and do not see the want for it.”

The photographs present hope, he says, and a new way of searching at ageing. “I think some individuals have hope when they see my pictures. They can see that they far too can continue to be modern when they increase more mature.

“When a headline takes advantage of the term ‘grandfather’, we quickly presume some thing unfavorable … I want to display that seniors have particular person personalities, that they too can have their very own meot.”

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