KOREAN TRADITIONAL CLOTHING : HANBOKINTRODUCTION1 A hanbok is the traditional dress or style of clothing seen in Korea as part of their everyday wear which are dated back to three kingdoms. 2 Those Kingdoms are Goryeo, Baekje and Silla.( 57 B.C. ~ 668 A.D. ) 3 Traditionally, the use of hanboks was wide spread across the South and the North but a different name was given to it in North Korea, it is known as the choson-ot. Most often, this traditional clothing was worn by people based on their social class, profession, gender and also by the season of the year.THE BEGINNING 4 From the research I have gathered, paintings dating back to the Goryeo Kingdom show the first signs of people wearing hanbok style clothing, which showed no difference in how men and women wore it but as it is traditionally known, a baji was worn by men and a chima was worn by women. A baji, also known as trousers were made for men in order for them to feel comfortable and spacious due to the size of them. A chima, which had similarities to that of a western pleaded skirt was worn with undergarments in order to give it an A-shaped look to it and make it comfortable and more appealing to women. 5 Apart from these two main clothing items, both genders wore an upper garment known as jeogori. 6 A jeogori’s focus point is it’s wide flared arm holes as it is said to symbolise the affection and care of korean people towards others. During the Goguryeo ( also known as Goryeo ) Kingdom we also start to see that the traditional jeogori had adapted a shorter length on the torso area, the sleeves also became shorter and a little more form fitting to the arms. Iconically known as the otgoreum ( bow ), was also newly added to the front of the jeogori, which was tied across the chest.7 We then see the last change of the hanbok during the Joseon Dynasty, which was a korean dynastic kingdom ( 1392 ~ 1910 ). During this period of time, the jeogori had become much more distinct towards which one was for the males and which was for the females. The males one stayed at hip length whilst for the women it had been shortened all the under the chest area and had become much more form fitting than it was in the past, however, the otgoreum stayed as it is. During the mid 20th century we see some subtle changes to the length of the women’s upper garment as it then decided to reverse and hit just above the waist.DIFFERENT STYLES FOR SOCIAL CLASSES AND OTHER EVENTS 8 Korean hanboks were dyed in different colours depending on their social status. Vibrant colours were often seen on upper class citizens as well as royalty and commoners often wore earthy coloured hanboks such as grey, white, brown, light pink and so on. The colours used in their clothing contained some sort of symbolism as the bright colours 9 “correspond with the five elements of the yin and yang theory”, which is why they tended to wear a lot of red, blue, yellow and black. In addition, the colour of a woman’s hanbok had other meanings apart from the ones stated. The use of a green jeogori meant that the woman wearing it is married, whilst the use of a yellow one means that the person wearing it is still eligible for marriage.Patterns were also used a lot of the time to enhance the overall appearance of the hanbok, some of the patterns were put on the chima and on the shoulders and sported pictures of a 10 “plant, animal, and other nature patterns”. The use of the patterns also symbolises what the person wearing it wished for such as if they wanted wealth, nobility or if they simply wanted a child.Royalty would wear patterns of strong symbols such as dragons and tigers. They would also use the embroidery of Chinese characters on their clothing wish for general positive outcomes in life.MATERIALS USED FOR DIFFERENT SOCIAL CLASSES 11 The vibrant colours worn by upper class people were often made by using dyes that were natural. Often, they would use a flowers natural colour in order to transfer it onto the clothing items. For instance, 12 “to obtain a red colour, one would ground red flower petals in a mortar, then put the grounded petals in a jar, and later rinse them with hot caustic soda”.13 During the hot summer, upper class people from the Joseon dynasty, which were also knows as the yangban would wear hanboks made out of materials such as ramie, whilst lower class citizens would wear clothing made out of hemp. During the winter, the upper class people would wear satin and silk fabrics whilst commoners wore hanboks created from cotton. EVOLUTION : MODERN DAY The hanbok is still very present in modern korean society, in fact, it has become one of South Korea’s main selling point for foreigners as they often want to try on their traditional clothing when traveling to the country. 14 Their own citizens often wear hanboks for special occasions such as weddings and other celebrations but are often based on what the person normally prefers rather than following their social class. 15 The youth of South Korea are so proud and fascinated by the clothing that they have even tried to incorporate it into their everyday wear by shortening the chima to knee length in order to make it more wearable. People have also been seen sporting jeogori’s with casual jeans and a belt as well as others simply pairing hanboks with sneakers to make it look fashionable. In my opinion, hanboks are here to stay for a long time and will most likely be seen on may fashion forward people as a statement piece.