The meteoric popularity of groups like BTS and Blackpink prove K-pop's lasting impression on entertainment and fashion on a global scale. Before breaking into international fame, the genre originated in South Korea in the early '90s and garnered a loyal audience in its home country with its addictive music, sharp choreography, and charismatic outfits. Now a worldwide phenomenon, fans look to K-pop idols-turned-tastemakers for catchy tunes and style inspiration. Here, L'OFFICIEL charts the 5 most fashionable K-pop groups.
Making their debut in 2016, Blackpink consists of members Jennie, Rosé, Jisoo, and Lisa. In just four years they've become a global sensation, setting YouTube streaming records and collaborating with Dua Lipa, Lady Gaga, Selena Gomez, and Cardi B. The four-member ensemble also became the second girl group from YG Entertainment and the first Korean girl group to perform at Coachella last year. Always on stage or in music videos with fierce and feminine fashion, Blackpink has made hot pants, crop tops, and glittery embellishments some of their K-pop style calling cards. Beyond music, the individual members are ambassadors for brands like Chanel (Jennie), Saint Laurent (Rosé), Dior (Jisoo), and Celine and Bulgari (Lisa). With a new Netlfix documentary, Blackpink: Light up the Sky, their loyal fanbase (known as the "Blinks") can chart their rise from young trainees to the recognizable idols they are today.
When it comes to K-pop, BTS is one of the biggest names on the scene. Universally known as the best-dressed boy group, BTS is known for their hits like "Dynamite" and their eclectic taste in fashion. The six-member group debuted in 2013 and continue to set the standard for other K-pop boy groups with their mix of streetwear and tailoring. Berluti, Saint Laurent, Gucci, Bottega Veneta and just some of the designers frequently in BTS' fashion rotation. The notable group is set to release their new album BE (Deluxe Edition) on November 20, 2020.
The most recent boy group from SM Entertainment, Korea's largest entertainment company, is NCT (Neo Culture Technology), consisting of four subunits: NCT U, NCT 127, NCT Dream, and WayV. Being one of the biggest "projects" in K-pop and C-pop (Chinese pop), NCT includes 25 members and counting. Earlier this week, the group released its second album, NCT 2020 Resonance Pt. 1, featuring all the units and debuting two new members, Shotaro and Sungchan. Known for their experimental taste in music and fashion, NCT continues to take risks in their non-conforming style.
Red Velvet is best known for their wide range of styles and versatility. Originally debuting in 2014, the five-member group was known for its collegiate-inspired styles and bubbly songs. Following “Bad Boy,” Red Velvet left the tennis skirts and varsity sweaters behind. The group’s K-pop fashion evolved into a more polished grunge look, complete with graphic tees and fishnets. Now six years old, Red Velvet continues to be trendsetters and set a high standard for girl-group fashion.
Despite debuting a little over two years ago, Ateez has already been on world tour and had another one sell out (although it has been postponed due to the coronavirus). Like other groups, Ateez's K-pop fashion has drastically changed during the group's time in the spotlight. They are one of the few groups that can pull off retro pop and modern chic style simultaneously. With their global popularity, the eight-member group is an official ambassador for the Korean Cultural and Information Service.