Fash-Un police: Kim Jong Un BANS leather coats to stop citizens copying his look
- Leather coats became popular in North Korea after Kim first donned one in 2019
- Initially the preserve of wealthy elites who could afford real leather, cheap knock-offs began appearing in recent months using synthetic materials
- Fashion police have been deployed to confiscate the coats amid fears they are cheapening the Supreme Leader’s look and undermining his authority
- North Korea tightly controls the styles of citizens, 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, knock-off imitations have proliferated and fashion police have now been deployed to shut down merchants selling them and take them off people amid fears it cheapens Kim’s look and undermines his authority.
Kim Jong-un has reported banned North Koreans from wearing leather trench coats after the item became one of his fashion favourites (pictured wearing it last week)
Initially the preserve of the wealthy elite, cheap knock-offs of Kim’s coat have been appearing in markets in recent months, sources claimed (pictured in the coat for the first time in 2019)
‘[Police] say that wearing clothes designed to look like the Highest Dignity’s is an ‘impure trend to challenge the authority of the Highest Dignity,’ a source told Radio Free Asia, using a common honorific to refer to Kim.
‘They instructed the public not to wear leather coats, because it is part of the party’s directive to decide who can wear them.’
The outlet said knock-off versions of the coat first began appearing in September this year when unofficial trade between China and North Korea was reopened following a shut-down during the Covid pandemic.
That allowed traders to start acquiring synthetic leather to make the coats from.
Radio Free Asia claimed to have seen an import document from recent months that showed dozens of metres of the material being imported.
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 sartorial styling was noted by South Korean media, which suggested it was indicative of Kim’s desire to break with tradition and forge his own identity.
Until then, he had largely styled himself after his father and grandfather – the founder of North Korea – by wearing Mao-style jackets and horn-rimmed glasses.
The leather coat has made several appearances since – and has even been adopted by his sister, Kim Yo-Jong, and other senior female politicians.
Police began confiscating the knock-off coats amid fears it cheapened the Supreme Leader’s look and could undermine his authority
Kim first donned the jacket in 2019 as he negotiated with Trump over North Korea’s nuclear stockpile, and it was seen as a symbol of breaking with the country’s past
Most recently, Kim was spotted wearing it while on a visit to a newly-built tourist town near the mountainous city of Samjiyon.
The ban on leather coats is also not the first time that North Koreans have had their fashion choices dictated by the top brass.
In 2014, three years after Kim became leader, sources told Radio Free Asia that male students had been instructed to get their hair cut to match the Supreme Leader’s style – which at the time was skin-short on the back and sides with a parting on top.
Then, in 2017, it was reported that North Koreans had been banned from getting their hair cut to look like Kim and were only allowed to choose from 15 approved styles.
All of the cuts feature a short back and sides with hair brushed forward, backwards, or in a side parting.
The requirements mirror a campaign aired on state TV in 2005, which urged citizens to ‘trim our hair in accordance with the Socialist lifestyle’.
Shorter styles were also recommended for women to ‘repel the enemies’ manoeuvres to infiltrate corrupt capitalist ideas and lifestyle’ into North Korea.
The same campaign also urged North Korea’s to keep their clothes modest, and to always wear smart shoes.
‘No matter how good the clothes, if one does not wear tidy shoes, one’s personality will be downgraded,’ ran a column in state newspaper Minju Choson that year.
North Korean sentenced to death by firing squad after smuggling copy of Squid Game into country
A North Korean man is to be executed for bringing back a copy of Netflix’s Squid Game into the country.
The smuggler, a student, is said to have returned from China with a digital version of the hit South Korean series stored on a hidden USB flash drive.
But after selling copies to several people including fellow students he was caught out by the country’s surveillance services.
An English council has urged parents not to allow their children to watch the hit Netflix show Squid Game because it is ‘violent’ and ‘graphic’
It is understood he will now be executed by firing squad – one of the grim methods by which characters in the series are also killed.
It is believed that the arrests took place in the country’s North Hamgyong province which borders with China over the last week.
Radio Free Asia reported that one student who bought a copy of the drive has since received a life sentence, while six others who watched the show have been sentenced to five years hard labor.
North Korea has a strict ban on material from the West and South Korea being allowed into the country and officials are now carrying out searches at the students’ school to find anymore foreign media.
Some teachers are said to have been fired or could face being banished to work in remote mines as punishment.
‘This all started last week when a high school student secretly bought a USB flash drive containing the South Korean drama Squid Game and watched it with one of his best friends in class,’ a law enforcement source told the publication.
The source said the pair discussed the series with friends who became interested and bought copies from him.
Squid Game’s dystopian world in which heavily indebted people are pitted against each other in Korean children’s games with losing players being put to death clearly resonates with North Koreans living under dictatorship.
But the students were then caught by the government’s surveillance service – 109 Sangmu – who had ‘received a tipoff’ that they were watching a Western TV show.