Minjee Kim gave a Brown Bag Lunch presentation on Tuesday, March 28, 2017 at 12:15 pm. Her talk was entitled “Hanbok in Modern and Postmodern Times: Fashion, Counter-Fashion, and Anti-Fashion.”

Despite the westernization of Korea’s daily clothing Hanbok has maintained an important place in Korean society. In this talk, Kim provided insight into the path of cultural continuity Hanbok has sustained throughout the last two centuries using the framework of “fashion,” “counter-fashion,” and “anti-fashion” suggested by Brian J. McVeigh in Antifashion in East Asian Dress: Power of Uniforms (Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion, East Asia vol. 6. 2010). These terms were explored by looking at Hanbok in the context of ceremonial dress (anti-fashion), activists and the politics of resistance (counter-fashion), the steady and constant modification of style (fashion), Hanbok as inspiration for creative fusion fashion design (fashion), cultural appropriation on the global stage by high fashion designers (fashion), and revival as a fashion statement among younger generations (fashion). Kim argued that Hanbok in the twenty-first century leans toward the category of “fashion” rather than “anti-fashion.”

Minjee Kim is a San Francisco Bay Area based independent costume historian and lecturer specializing in Korean dress. She received her PhD from Seoul National University with a focus on the costumes from the Balhae dynasty (698–926). She has been a faculty member at Jeonju Kijeon College, a lecturer at Seoul National University, and an exhibition consultant for the War Memorial Museum, the National Folk Museum, and the Seoul National University Museum. After moving to the US in 2000, she noticed that Hanbok is little known internationally and has dedicated herself to raising its visibility both in academia and for the general public. She has published numerous papers on Korean dress.