SEOUL, South Korea – follow the leader no matter what he says – just do not imitate his style of dress. That’s the lesson to be learned from reports that North Korean authorities are busy ordering people to stop wearing discount leather jackets that look like the exclusive coats that Kim Jong Un has been photographed wearing while cheering. missile test and orders its people to work harder. to overcome the county’s severe financial difficulties.
While most of North Korea’s 25 million people can not afford more than the simplest of suits, leather jackets reminiscent of the country’s almighty dictator have become fashionable in the capital, Pyongyang, and other cities where members of the top echelon of military officers, government officials and members of the ruling Labor Party lives and works.
“Authorities in North Korea are cracking down on residents wearing leather trench coats,” reports Radio Free Asia, a U.S. government-funded news operation with extensive sources in North Korea. They say “it is disrespectful to imitate the fashion leader of the country’s leader.”
The intervention comes as Kim approaches his tenth birthday since taking power after his longtime father, Kim Jong Ils, died on December 17, 2011. Since then, he has been photographed in fashionable suits, sports jerseys and headwear, often worn only once and never. seen again. Nothing, however, has captured the imagination of the North Koreans as much as the iconic long leather coats that at once make him a macho figure, sporty and affluent, as well as a model leader.
The identities of Kim Jong Un’s tailors – presumably there is more than one tailor – have never been revealed, but their style has been copied all over North Korea, made rather rough in factories in the country or made in China and smuggled over Yalu or Tumen. the river borders.
“Leather trench coats became popular in 2019 after Kim appeared on television wearing one,” the RFA reported. “In the beginning, genuine leather coats imported from China were intercepted by rich people who could afford them, but soon clothing manufacturers began importing counterfeit leather to manufacture them domestically.”
The high fashion trend reached a kind of apotheosis at the military parade at the 8th party congress in January last year, when Kim and various toads on the review stand were all wearing look-alike leather coats. Even child sister Kim Yo Jong was beaten into one and set a trend that caught on among affluent women as well as men.
However, it all became a bit much as hundreds of lower ranking types were seen wearing sloppy copies. Who do they think they are? Some felt that it gave the impression that they were almost mocking the ruling elite. It was as if the less fortunate had suddenly found a way to satirize their leaders without being sent to prison or even tortured and executed.
“To put an end to the cheap imitations and the cheap imitators who wear them,” the RFA said, “the literal fashion police are patrolling the streets to confiscate the jackets of sellers and citizens with the look.”
One of the reasons for the extreme image sensitivity is without a doubt that Kim Jong Un has been the target of much speculation as his weight has dropped from over 300 lbs to an estimated 260 lbs in recent months.
It was too easy for people to joke that his crew of tailors worked overtime to make new clothes, including leather jackets, every time he lost a pound or two. Considering he’s only five feet and eight inches tall, even with platform soles, he’s still way too heavy, and analysts have been divided over whether he’s started on a diet or whether he’s really in poor health.
RFA quoted a source as saying “wearing clothing designed to look like the highest dignity is an unclean tendency to challenge the authority of the highest dignity.” Police, according to the source, “instructed the public not to wear leather coats because it is part of the party’s directive to decide who is allowed to wear them.”
Recently, Kim has ordered missile tests and made sure that the nuclear complex 60 miles north of Pyongyang keeps grinding nuclear warheads out and figuring out how to install the ones it has at the head of missiles capable of now the United States.
While Kim is lecturing his people on the urgent need to support the poor economy, 38North, an authoritative website at the Stimson Center in Washington, quoted satellite images proving that the nuclear reactor at the plant is still in full swing. The evidence, 38North said, was steam “flowing out of the reactor’s generator hall,” though “water continues to be discharged from the auxiliary pipe.”
Kim has yet to show signs of abandoning his nuclear program despite the joint declaration signed by him and Donald Trump at their summit in Singapore in June 2018, in which he promised to work towards “denuclearization” of the Korean Peninsula.
North Korea’s nuclear program is now a point of contention in South Korea’s current presidential campaign. Lee Jae-myuing, a candidate for the ruling Minjkoo or Democratic Party, told reporters at foreign news agencies on Thursday that the United States and South Korea may “have to make certain concessions”, especially by easing sanctions against the Nordic region, in order to reach a new one. agreement on nuclear disarmament.
Lee’s relatively soft approach contrasts with conservative People Power Party candidate Yoon Seok-youl, who has said sanctions should remain in place until North Korea gets rid of its nuclear program. Yoon has also supported US-South Korea joint military exercises, while Lee has criticized them.
Lee also criticized Trump for trying to solve too many problems at once in his three meetings with Kim. “The nuclear issue is intertwined with several problems,” he said, “so trying to find an approach at once was actually impossible.”
Meanwhile, the nuclear program remains at the top of Kim’s agenda, even as he seeks resources and resources to solve economic problems. Some of his proudest moments have taken place when he ordered and then attended missile tests while wearing the leather coats that are now inherent in his popular image.
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