Police Fash-Un: Kim Jong Un BANS leather coats to prevent citizens from copying his look
- Leather coats became popular in North Korea after Kim first donned one in 2019
- Initially the preserve of the wealthy elites who could afford real leather, cheap fakes have started to appear in recent months using man-made materials.
- Fashion police have been deployed to confiscate the coats amid fears they belittle the appearance of the Supreme Leader and undermine his authority
- North Korea tightly controls citizens’ styles, including approved haircuts
First worn by Kim in 2019, the coat became popular among the North Korean elite who were keen to show their loyalty to the Supreme Leader and who could afford real leather.
But recently, counterfeits have proliferated and the fashion police have now been deployed to shut down the merchants who sell them and take them away from people, fearing that this will belittle Kim’s appearance and undermine her authority.
Kim Jong-un reported that he banned North Koreans from wearing leather trench coats after the item became one of his fashion favorites (pictured wearing it last week)
Initially the preserve of the wealthy elite, cheap fakes of Kim’s coat have appeared in the markets in recent months, sources say (first pictured in the coat in 2019)
‘[Police] saying that wearing clothes designed to resemble those of the highest dignity is an “impure tendency to challenge the authority of the highest dignity,” a source said Free Asia Radio, using a common honorary title to refer to Kim.
“They have asked the public not to wear leather coats, as it is part of the party’s directive to decide who can wear them.”
The outlet said counterfeit versions of the mantle began to appear in September this year, when unofficial trade between China and North Korea was reopened after a shutdown during the Covid pandemic.
This allowed traders to start acquiring synthetic leather to make the coats.
Radio Free Asia claimed to have seen an import document in recent months that showed tens of meters of imported material.
Kim first appeared in a leather coat in December 2019, around the time he was negotiating with Donald Trump over North Korea’s nuclear stockpile.
The dress style was noted by South Korean media, which suggested it was indicative of Kim’s desire to break away from tradition and forge her own identity.
Until then, he had drawn heavily from his father and grandfather – the founder of North Korea – by wearing Mao-style jackets and tortoiseshell-rimmed glasses.
The leather coat has made several appearances since – and has even been adopted by her sister, Kim Yo-Jong, and other high profile female politicians.
Police began to confiscate the counterfeit coats, fearing it would belittle the Supreme Leader’s appearance and undermine his authority
Kim first donned the jacket in 2019 as he negotiated with Trump over North Korea’s nuclear stock, and it was seen as a symbol of a break with the country’s past
Most recently, Kim was spotted wearing it while visiting a newly built tourist town near the mountainous town of Samjiyon.
The ban on leather coats is also not the first time North Koreans have seen their fashion choices dictated by senior officials.
In 2014, three years after Kim became a leader, sources told Radio Free Asia that male college students were instructed to have their hair cut to match the style of the Supreme Leader – who at the time was short on the back and sides with a stripe on top.
Then, in 2017, it was reported that North Koreans were banned from having their hair cut to look like Kim and were only allowed to choose from 15 approved styles.
All cuts feature a short back and sides with hair brushed forward, back or in a side parting.
The demands reflect a campaign aired on state television in 2005, which urged citizens to “cut their hair in accordance with the socialist lifestyle”.
Shorter styles were also recommended for women to “repel enemy maneuvers to infiltrate corrupt capitalist ideas and way of life” in North Korea.
The same campaign also urged North Koreans to keep their clothes modest and always wear smart shoes.
“No matter how good the clothes are, if one does not wear tidy shoes, his personality will be degraded,” wrote a column in the state newspaper Minju Choson that year.
North Korea sentenced to death by firing squad after smuggling copy of Squid Game into country
A North Korean must be executed for bringing home a copy of Netflix’s Squid Game.
The smuggler, a student, reportedly returned from China with a digital version of the South Korean hit series stored on a hidden USB drive.
But after selling copies to several people, including fellow students, he was caught red-handed by the country’s surveillance services.
UK council urged parents not to allow their children to watch Netflix’s hit show Squid Game because it is “violent” and “graphic”
It is understood that he will now be executed by a firing squad – one of the sinister methods by which the characters in the series are also killed.
The arrests are believed to have taken place in North Hamgyong Province, which borders China, over the past week.
Radio Free Asia reported that a student who bought a copy of the record has since been sentenced to life imprisonment, while six others who watched the show have been sentenced to five years of forced labor.
North Korea has a strict ban on allowing West and South Korean material into the country, and authorities are now searching the students’ school for other foreign media.
Some teachers have reportedly been fired or could be banned for working in remote mines as a punishment.
“It all started last week when a high school student secretly bought a USB stick containing the South Korean drama Squid Game and watched it with one of his best friends in class,” a police source told the publication.
The source said the couple discussed the series with friends who were interested and bought copies from it.
The dystopian world of Squid Game in which heavily indebted people clash in Korean children’s games with losing players put to death clearly resonates with North Koreans living under dictatorship.
But the students were later arrested by the government monitoring service – 109 Sangmu – who had “received a report” that they were watching a Western television program.