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Title: The birth of modern fashion in Korea : sartorial transition between hanbok and yangbok, and colonial modernity of dress culture
Author: Lee, Jung Taek
ISNI:       0000 0004 6061 5824
Awarding Body: SOAS University of London
Current Institution: SOAS, University of London
Date of Award: 2015
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Sartorial change from hanbok (Korean dress) to yangbok (Western dress) is commonly seen as the transition that modern fashion emerged in Korea since the Open Port era, replacing traditional Korean dress with modern Western dress. However, examining actual cases of Korean sartorial practice, this linear and dichotomous framework has limits in its approach, lacking multiplicity of local meanings and experiences in line with particular social and cultural contexts. This study, instead, explores the protean transition in dynamic ways with a postcolonial perspective, stressing the importance of socio-cultural narratives embedded in dress and fashion. It questions how to seek a nuanced understanding on the sartorial transition and local practice of modern dress and fashion emerged in the late nineteenth century and early twentieth century of colonial modern Korea. Critically reinterpreting diverse sources of object, image and text gleaned from the modern and colonial period, the four main chapters of the thesis build up a rounded picture of the emergence of modern Korean dress and fashion in a thematic approach. First, it examines the beginning of sartorial encounters between Korean and Western clothing to find gradual transition and modernities until the Korean Empire period. Second, it reassesses the sartorial tradition of hanbok constructed merely as being opposite to modernity and part of Japan's colonial subjects through exhibitionary spaces, attempting to uncover postcolonial voices of hanbok practice. Third, it traces alternative or non-Western sartorial realities of modern dress and fashion in the forms of hanbok and yangbok, through conditions of production, mediation and consumption during the colonial era. Lastly, it explores multiple relations between modern male, female individuals and their dress and fashion practices in terms of identity, class and gender beyond the social criticism, but engaging with the socio-economic and cultural context of the period. The birth of modern fashion in Korea comprised of both hanbok and yangbok then reflected modern ironies of the time. The sartorial transition between the two forms of dress resulted in particular colonial modernity within Korean society. The dichotomy between the two dress systems was rather nuanced, multifaceted and intricately developed in relation to modern fashion, local modernities and the ways in which they evolved in the vernacular Korean context, across colonial and Western fashion discourses.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral