There’s no denying the global power and influence of K-pop stars.
From Madonna’s iconic Jean Paul Gaultier moment to Pharell’s multiple collaborations with Chanel, history is punctuated with proof that musicians and luxury fashion are inseparable. In the age of social media, K-pop artists have emerged as the latest crop to be initiated into the high fashion fold.
It was only a matter of time until Korean pop stars settled into their place in the fashion circuit. Transcending music, modern-day K-pop has become increasingly synonymous with trendsetting, designer dressing, and pointed visuals that mirror those of luxury labels. This impact translates to influence online, with social media playing an integral role in the K-pop fan experience. These celebrities have social media in a vice grip: with every Instagram post launching countless double-taps and the yearly conversation surrounding K-pop growing by the billion, there’s no better way to bridge high fashion and younger shoppers together.
South Korea is also the most dynamic market for luxury fashion today. In 2022, South Koreans spent a total of $16.8 billion on luxury goods. That’s $325 per capita—a figure that blows the United States and China out of the water.
No matter which way you slice it, the symbiosis of Korean celebrity and luxury fashion was always bound to happen, and it’s happening now. In particular, 2023 marks a promising start for collaborations to come, with several K-pop stars being appointed ambassadors of beloved fashion houses.
BTS has long fostered a relationship with fashion conglomerate LVMH. In 2019, Dior Homme Creative Director, Kim Jones, designed custom stage looks for the band’s Love Yourself: Speak Yourself tour. In 2021, BTS was announced as the new face of Louis Vuitton. Fast forward to 2023: BTS member Jimin joins forces with Jones and Dior yet again—this time as the label’s global brand ambassador. His first order of business? Attending the Dior Men winter 2023/2024 show at Paris Fashion Week.
When Valentino initially introduced the concept of Di.Vas (a play on the phrase “Different Values”), the house defined the idea as “a complex character of codes, upheld by inner values.” A paragon of authenticity and self-expression, BTS member Suga, who also performs under the name Agust D, is the latest addition to Valentino’s roster of Di.Vas and the new face of Maison Valentino Essentials.
From an Instagram post celebrating the collaborative Fendace collection to a choreographed reel ringing in the 25th anniversary of the signature Baguette bag, An Yujin of IVE spent the better part of 2022 showing her support for Fendi. This year, the Italian luxury brand sealed the deal, officially welcoming Yujin as their Korean brand ambassador.
Taeyang has collected his fair share of titles since first breaking into the Korean entertainment industry: singer-songwriter, member of boy group Big Bang, husband to actress Min Hyorin, and most recently, a first-time dad. Stepping back into the limelight this year, Taeyang marks his triumphant return with two big announcements: a collaboration with BTS member Jimin, and his appointment as Givenchy’s newest global ambassador.
Hot on the heels of her bandmate, Hanni, who joined Gucci’s slate of brand ambassadors in October, Hyein of NewJeans welcomed 2023 with a partnership with Louis Vuitton. Tapped by the French fashion house for her ability to “define NewJeans’ style with her unique charm,” the 14-year-old is the latest (and youngest) addition to the brand’s list of global ambassadors. She joins the likes of Squid Game breakout star HoYeon Jung and actress Deepika Padukone.
It’s all eyes on NewJeans as the rookie group continues to make a splash in both music and fashion. Just this month, less than six months after the band’s official debut, Australian-Korean member Danielle was announced as the newest global ambassador of Burberry, making her the third member of the group to cement ties with a luxury label.