Marilyn Strickland, the first female Korean-American politician to serve in the US House of Representatives, drew keen attention at home and abroad when she attended her swearing-in ceremony on January 3 wearing the traditional Korean apparel hanbok. She expressed her feelings about attending Congress in hanbok through her official Twitter account—@RepStricklandWA—with the hashtag: #Hanbok. The image of Strickland standing out among other Congress members in Western-style suits prompts viewers to recognize the ever-growing status of the traditional Korean attire. At a moment when worldwide hanbok exhibitions and fashion shows have been stalled by the COVID-19 pandemic, online programming that highlights the appeal of hanbok in diverse ways is attracting interest from digital audiences.
Hanbok is even a part of a global video game sensation. The Be-Ahriful: The Beauty of Korean Hanbok exhibition (https://event.leagueoflegends.co.kr/hanbok) is an online event that displays the Korean outfits worn by Ahri, a popular character of the game League of Legends. The exhibition presents beautiful Hanbok items produced by masters recognized in Korea as intangible cultural assets and Korean paintings that uniquely illustrate game characters wearing hanbok.
Hanbok are also on display in Hanbok Wave, an online fashion show (https://youtu.be/TeUSUce1-bg) presented by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism and the Hanbok Promotion Center. It features a colorful collection of hanbok that reinterprets the traditional apparel to reflect the present-day taste of the public. The garments on show were presented by 10 hanbok tailors supported by the ministry and the center. If you would like to learn more about hanbok, please visit the Hanbok Promotion Center’s YouTube channel, which provides interesting and useful content, such as the proper way to wear hanbok, with English subtitles.