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Modernized Hanbok, Popular Traditional.

A modernized hanbok is one kind of reinterpreted Korean traditional hanbok that has long been expressed in the face of enlightenment and simplication. The life hanbok, that accentuates of convenience, is a category of the modernized hanbok. Recently, more and more people wear modernized hanboks (costumes). A few days ago, I visited a website that adjusts one’s uniform. Then, I noticed that there was a modernized hanbok produced as a class uniform. In addition, when I walk around Hongik University, I can easily find some people wearing modernized hanboks. Furthermore, some professors do lectures only wearing the modernized hanbok. Even this holiday, my grandfather and grandmother were wearing the life hanbok. While there is a growing demand for the modernized hanbok, there is also a negative attitude. This article tries to describe both positive and negative aspects of the modernized hanbok.

Positive Aspects:

1. Improve the aesthetic beauty and the convenience of traditional hanboks

The traditional hanbok is colorful and graceful, but inconvenient. Modernized hanboks have raised the traditional hanbok’s beauty to the maximum and improved it’ s functionality. The reason for the traditional hanbok’s inconvenience to do activities is because it has many layers of clothes under the jeogori, which is the traditional Korean jacket and skirt. A modernized hanbok is a streamlined costume which is capable of increased activity by simplifying all the layers under them.

2. Cheap and strong for washing.

During the summer vacation, I had to buy a hanbok to go to my cousin’s wedding. Except for the underwear, a traditional hanbok was expensive to purchase because it is made of high priced silk fabrics. Therefore, it was not easy to buy a traditional hanbok. However, in the case of the modernized hanbok, it is easy to purchase because the prices are low enough for students to get as a uniform. Also, the fabric of the cloth is apt to be washed well and it is easy to be ironed out, so it is also strong against being dirtied.

Negative Aspects:

It harms traditions.

People can walk through Korea’s traditional culture in Jeonju Hanok Village or folk villages. There are some hanbok rental shops, so people can experience the tradition more realistically by renting a hanbok. The shops have both modernized hanboks and traditional hanboks. However, the rental rate of the former is radically increased, but the rental rate of latter sharply decreased. Now, some concerns arise that the true tradition will disappear if people only choose to wear a modernized hanbok, pursuing convenience. Furthermore, a recent news article in Joonang Daily News titled, “Hanbok near the ancient palace, is it really our costume?” explains about criticism that traditional hanboks from hanbok rental shops are excessively inelegance. To catch the public’s eye, the shops made hanboks with attractive, affordable, and easy-wash cloth. As a result, the identity of the original Hanbok has been damaged.

I felt a sense of distance while searching about the negative aspects that spoils tradition. The modernized hanbok is originally designed to maximize beauty and convenience, and it is just fulfilling its purpose. In my opinion, it would be better to popularize hanboks in that way, if we can. Since the style of dressing varies with the periods, I think there are also trends with hanboks.

The chance to wear a traditional hanbok will remain, and will never disappear. Everyone knows that the original Hanbok is displayed plentifully in museums with explanations. Therefore, I expect the hanbok to become more popular and famous by more development of the strengths of the modernized hanbok.

Chung Minkyung  pepsisehun@naver.com

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