Pots and pans, piles of shirts and sneakers, jewelry-laden tables, and containers brimming with bric-a-brac. In the tangle of streets around exit 3 of Seoul’s Dongmyo station, hundreds of distributors market everything from old Instamatic cameras to books, baggage and vinyl data.
Found in the South Korean capital’s historic district of Dongdaemun, Dongmyo’s bustling flea current market is scattered all-around a shrine created in honour of an ancient Chinese army commander. But there is more to the neighbourhood than bargains, classic clothing, and retro treasures. It also serves as a cultural hub for the city’s senior citizens to shop, socialise and display off their special type.
“One working day, I discovered a senior gentleman on the lookout for clothes just like me. His fashion blew me away,” recollects Seoul-based photographer Kim Dong-hyun, 29, who spends his times documenting the city’s vivid senior avenue style scene, much of which he shares on Instagram.
Over the a long time, Dongmyo has gone through a great deal of modify, becoming a destination for young people’s newfound appreciation of vintage clothing on a price range. At its core although, Dongmyo has always been a playground for the city’s aged inhabitants.
“I’ve met some folks who have been heading there each individual week for 30 years,” Kim says, primarily based on the quite a few discussions he has had with the individuals he has photographed. South Korea is a swiftly ageing culture. By 2050, the range of elderly people today could account for almost 44% of the country’s population. Whilst numerous senior citizens sense more healthy than at any time and do not regard on their own as previous, aged loneliness is a significant trouble.
“In Korea, there are not numerous sites in which aged people today can go and have enjoyment. But in Dongmyo, they can go purchasing, they can enjoy, meet pals and consume makgeolli [rice wine]. It’s their location, and they never have to have to treatment about what other persons imagine.”
“From their hairdos to their glasses and shoes, they know how to search excellent and consider treatment of them selves. They pursue their individual models and exceptional methods to categorical their individuality. Lots of of us think that fashionable folks are just young folks, a message further more amplified by the media. But fashion has no age,” he claims.
Among the senior citizens that cling out in Dongdaemun is Lee Seok-ki, a person member of a group identified as the “military crew”. The team is comprised of 3 gentlemen whose styles are various from every other: Lee prefers a minimalist standard army glance, when his close friends like to reinterpret military services fashion in a present day way, decorating garments with vibrant embroidered patches and badges.
If everything, senior manner is a lot more refined, Kim states. “It’s like wine. In your 20s, you just style almost everything, but by your 70s, your style is sharper – you know what you like.”
As a boy or girl, Chae Myung-hee, 74, developed a enthusiasm for manner that led her to do the job as a women’s outfits designer for 40 decades. Even during the pandemic when some people dressed down and averted makeup, she suggests she designed an energy to often glimpse great, irrespective of whether she was putting on a mask or not. “It’s usually been a part of me,” Chae suggests.
In his approaching ebook, Mut – Street Trend of Seoul, Kim delivers a glimpse into the globe of senior trend. He hopes the reserve will offer a new point of view on a demographic that is generally forgotten or below-appreciated. Kim states older men and women need to be recognised for their interesting and flair, which is regarded as meot in Korean, or as Kim likes to stylise it on the internet and in his e-book – mut.
“It’s more than the English term ‘cool’,” he suggests. “Sometimes it can imply anything is great, sometimes it can imply awesome, occasionally it is stunning or incredible. I can’t specific it in another way or translate the phrase, and don’t see the want for it.”
The photos provide hope, he says, and a new way of looking at ageing. “I consider some people today have hope when they see my pics. They can see that they too can carry on to be fashionable when they increase more mature.
“When a headline employs the word ‘grandfather’, we routinely assume a little something unfavorable … I want to show that seniors have personal personalities, that they far too can have their own meot.”