To impress the opposite sex, South Korean women don’t conceal their charms – especially not those lower down. Regardless of whether it’s summer or winter, women display as much leg as possible and mostly prefer to wear miniskirts, shorts or very short dresses.

“Most Korean girls have beautiful, slim and straight legs,” raves fashion blogger Miu Nguyen. “On top, however, they prefer a more covered look, which means that even in summer they’d rather not wear shoulder-free or low-cut tops.”

It’s mostly the young people who spend money on clothes. An interesting fact is that the country’s youth is not shopping at the large department store chains such as Mango, H&M or Zara, but in individual boutiques by no-name designers, where they hope to find original pieces.

By the way: Traditional clothes with flower prints, or kimonos are now very hard to find. These days, Korean fashion is rather playful with a hint of elegance. The latest fashion trends can be found here, for example at the “Korea Style Week“, which takes place every January in the now world famous Seoul suburb of Gangnam. Both Indie designers and big labels walk down the catwalk here.

Music determines what is beautiful

The typical Korean girl would love to look like a little girl, or like one of the heroines of the popular Manga comics. Therefore, skinny skirts with loose shirts, or hoodies and miniskirts with knee-length socks, reminiscent of the national school uniforms, are in fashion. It’s a must that they are worn with long hair and nerdy glasses, which are supposed to achieve one thing: big eyes.

The music industry has a massive influence on which look is currently hot. Think “K-Pop”. Someone who wants to land a number one hit doesn’t necessarily have to be able to sing well, but they have to look great. Bernie Cho, one of the most successful singers in the industry, explains the phenomenon like this: “K-Pop is a very visual music genre. Its appeal lies not only in the sound but mostly in the video clips that are sexy or just funny.” It’s especially the stars of the K-Pop scene who dictate what is considered beautiful in the country – a narrow-shaped face essentially features a high nose, large eyes and white skin.

 

K-pop

What does not fit, is made to fit

To match this mostly Western-orientated beauty model, Koreans don’t stop short of extreme methods. Plastic surgeons are often consulted when appearance matters. At least 15 percent of South Korean women have already been under the knife to get closer to the European ‘ideal’.

With close to 700,000 operations annually, the republic is the unmatched world record holder. It’s not unusual, for instance, to be given a Botox treatment, eye enlargement surgery or skin whitening as a gift for completing high school, instead of a car.

Again, K-Pop bands like Girl’s Generation or 21 set the tone. It’s not openly talked about, but everybody knows that many surgical interventions were needed for the majority of the artists to become stars. “Beauty clinics work closely with the entertainment industry,” explains Professor of Art Eung Jong. “They take beautiful people from the clinics and place them on TV shows and bands. People then want to look like them and decide to have surgery.”

Not least because they’re hoping to increase their chances in the job or marriage market. Imposing placards with ‘before’ and ‘after’ photos of women who have undergone successful plastic surgery advertise in Seoul with slogans like “Everybody’s done it. Except you.”

The currently most skewed beauty trend in South Korea is called “aegyo sal” – “the smiling eye”. Behind it is the desire to have bags under one’s eyes. Those who don’t have any naturally, which is usual for the Asian physiognomy, can create artificial ones.

As many women don’t have the money for plastic surgery, they give nature a lift with skilfully applied makeup, or with specially designed eye tapes. Self-proclaimed make-up artists demonstrate in various YouTube videos first-hand how to apply them correctly.

There is also a gentle way

HYPOXI aims to create a counter-trend to such radical methods. One of South Korea’s most famous gynaecologists, Mr Kwon O-jong, is praising it as well. “At first I found it hard to believe that there could be a method that would so easily and gently break down body fat”, he recalls.

“Now I’ve learnt all about the principle and the results. HYPOXI is, in fact, the only way to get rid of unwanted fat at the problem zones in a targeted and risk-free way. HYPOXI is safe, easy and effective.”