By Rosa Gulliver of TINYGMUSIC| 25th August 2023
THE IDOLS THAT HAVE STOOD OUT THROUGH THE GENERATIONS
The K-pop industry is known for its experimental and lavish fashion. Some K-pop idols, known as the "It Boys," have played a significant role in expanding the fashion perspective and making it a more interesting rabbit hole to dive into.
In this article, we are going to delve into how these stars have transformed K-pop fashion and left a lasting impact on the industry. So, get ready to explore the world of the K-pop “It Boys” fashion and its evolution over the years!
So what is K-pop Fashion?
K-pop fashion can often be seen blending old-school streetwear concepts such as logo T’s, bucket hats, and athleisure with new ideas that cater to the Korean market, such as pastel colours and androgynous designs. Gender fluidity is also incredibly popular amongst K-pop artists, with male stars often incorporating makeup and feminine clothing into their outfits.
So what does it mean to be a K-pop “IT Boy”?
Being a K-pop "It Boy" means standing out from the rest. One who has an enchanting personality and knows how to captivate everyone with style, charm, and charisma - is that not the entire K-pop industry? So who has stood out from all the rest?
And what is K-pop “It Boy” Fashion?
With the increasing global demand for K-pop over the past four generations, the criteria for achieving the coveted title of “It Boy'' have evolved over the years. Each generation of K-pop idols has brought their own unique style, leaving a lasting impression on fashion enthusiasts everywhere. Not only have these talented individuals showcased their immense talent on stage, but they have also become style inspirations for many fashion enthusiasts.
We do see major differences in comparison to the West. The idols have a magnificently varied colour palette with which they are willing to experiment. They embrace androgynous looks, mixing feminine and masculine elements to create unique styles that have pushed boundaries. Their fashion choices often include oversized accessories, vibrant hair colour, and bold patterns, resulting in eye-popping, delectable statements.
One of the fan favourites is their comfortable yet stylish airport look. Less is more on these occasions.
So let’s look at some of the “It Boys” through the generations.
1st Generation - Rain
The wildly popular Rain (Jung Ji-Hoon), singer, songwriter, dancer, actor, and record producer, debuted on May 13, 2002, as a solo singer and remains a prominent figure in the Korean entertainment industry.
He is cherished by multiple idols, with "Rainism," being his defining song, being the main lead in the K-drama "Full House," and for his many pictorials for the fashion industry.
Despite being in his 40s, Rain remains in high demand and showcases his creative edge through various styles on his Instagram account.
2nd Generation - G-Dragon
Korea’s fashionista G-Dragon (Kwon Ji Wong) from the legendary group Big Bang has always been a prominent figure in the fashion industry. He was one of the first experimental idols and has always been known for his experimental and boundary-pushing fashion choices.
G-Dragon has consistently pushed the envelope. He has challenged traditional gender norms and redefined what it means to be a fashion icon. His influence extends beyond K-pop, with designers and stylists drawing inspiration from his bold and fearless approach to personal style.
How G-Dragon approaches fashion is off the Richter scale.
G-Dragon has gained massive, well-earned credibility in the fashion industry.
He is one of the few idols with an intense fashion sense.
2nd Generation - Taemin from “SHINee”
Taemin (Lee Taemin), the idol of idols, debuted under SM Entertainment as part of “SHINee” in 2008 and recently celebrated its 15th anniversary. He is also a member of “SuperM" and a very successful solo artist.
Taemin’s fashion sense is always on point and never fails to impress and make any outfit look runway-worthy.
Only last month, Taemin stunned fans with his unique gender-defying look for his performance as a solo artist during the halftime performance of the Coupang Play Series soccer match between Atlético Madrid and K-League XI at the Seoul World Cup Stadium.
Dressed in a formal black and white blazer suit, Taemin uniquely redefined fashion norms. Underneath his black blazer, he sported a cropped white formal shirt, something typically associated with women's attire. To add an extra touch of flair, he paired his regular trousers with a pleated black skirt, creating a look that was both unconventional and gender-neutral.
Taemin not only showcased his talent as a solo artist but also highlighted the power of K-pop and its artists to challenge conventions and inspire positive change. Taemin was born to serve genderism.
3rd Generation - Jimin from “BTS”
Jimin, well, we couldn't talk about the "It Boys" without talking about the "It Boy of K-pop," Park Jimin. This title was officially given to Jimin by the K-media as an idol who stands out across all four K-Pop generations. His impact is so significant that even those who are not fans of K-pop are familiar with his name.
One notable trend among the third-generation "It Boys" was the incorporation of streetwear-inspired looks, blending elements of Western street fashion like oversized hoodies, ripped jeans, and statement sneakers. This fusion of street style and high fashion creates a distinct aesthetic that resonates with a younger audience.
Moreover, these idols place great importance on accessories to complete their outfits. They embrace statement earrings, quirky hats, and sunglasses, understanding the power of accessories to enhance their fashion choices. This attention to detail showcases their dedication to creating a unique and memorable fashion identity.
The third-generation "It Boys" also challenged existing beauty standards by embracing androgyny and blurring the lines between masculine and feminine fashion. They confidently wear makeup, experiment with hairstyles, and incorporate fashion pieces traditionally associated with the opposite gender. Park Jimin, in particular, exemplifies this fearlessness in self-expression. His approach not only redefines masculinity but also inspires fans to embrace their individuality and defy societal expectations.
Jimin's ethereal looks and impeccable sense of style have made him a fashion favourite among fans. Over the years, he has seamlessly transitioned from casual streetwear to a more refined and sophisticated aesthetic. His fashion choices often feature a mix of tailored pieces, bold patterns, and unique accessories, establishing him as a true trendsetter.
Jimin is currently the global brand ambassador for “Dior” and “Tiffany and Co.” He has been experimental with his fashion right from his debut days and knows what he likes and does not like. Well-known for his feminine dimensions, he has never been afraid to express them boldly.
He was one of the first few idols who proudly incorporated feminine tones into their fashion, with striking clothing palettes, unique hair colours, and shiny jewellery in a multi-dimensional wardrobe. The elegance we note in his personality, body language, dance, and voice is smoothly carried over to his fashion. We can say that he has done a great job expressing himself through his style.
4th Generation - Hyunjin from “Stray Kids”
He has experimented with various hairstyles and colours and has a diverse outlook on fashion. It is no wonder that this has led to Hyunjin’s recent appointment as “Versace’s” global brand ambassador.
4th Generation - Yeonjun from “Tomorrow X Together”
Yeonjun (Choi Yeonjun) has quickly established himself as “The 4th Generation K-Pop It Boy” (Paper Magazine). Despite debuting in 2019 with “TXT,” he has gained recognition from the Korean media for his fashion sense.
He is one of the idols who takes fashion seriously.
“TXT” recently became the ambassador for the luxury brand “Dior,” becoming the first whole group to do this. Yeonjun has also represented reputable brands such as “Burberry” and “Celine,” and Yeonjun participated in the 2021 Fashion Week’s Fall/Winter collection by ULKIN and made it to the cover of Elle Magazine Korea.
The airport has become a platform for idols to showcase their casual fashion and level of interest in style. This is now a separate sector in Korea’s fashion. Yeonjun, along with Jimin, is often discussed in this particular category, with fans eagerly anticipating their outfits. Yeonjun’s creative approach to everyday outfits, including bright hair colours, crop tops, and diverse wardrobe choices, has earned him the title of the "4th Generation K-pop It Boy."