It’s no secret that I find a lot of my fashion inspiration in Korean pop culture and lately, I’ve been fascinated by this new band Hyukoh in particular. It’s not only that their music is good, but they’re also doing this thing where you can’t quite tell if it’s on purpose or not. But let’s start at the beginning.
Hyukoh is a band from South Korea that plays mellow indie pop rock with a hint of soul, and has basically skyrocketed to fame lately thanks to their goofy guest appearance on a show called Infinite Challenge.
The concept of Infinite Challenge changes every few weeks, but right now, the goal is to set up a big music concert with the main cast performing songs written, produced and presented in collaboration with actual musicians.
Next to well-established Korean superstars such as G-Dragon & Taeyang, IU and hit producer JYP, all members of Hyukoh appear charmingly dorky, hapless and not yet used to the pacing of the Korean entertainment show in comparison. But apart from their monosyllable replies, it’s the band’s singer and guitarist Hyuk Oh’s fashion sense that inspires benign jokes and laughter on TV repeatedly.
Admittedly, Hyukoh’s outfits seems oddball and anachronistic at times. The pants pulled up too high! The top tucked in neatly! And are those flared?! ↓↓↓ But when he revealed he’s actually quite interested in fashion, I had to dig deeper.
In the wake of my quick research, it turns out that the band employs a stylist whose Instagram cites influences such as Kurt Cobain and Ichi the Killer. I feel like that’s worth mentioning, because in this light, Hyuk Oh’s style makes a lot of sense!
Looking at the band as a whole, I spot 80ies inspired normcore, (the tennis socks!) 70ies vintage, (the printed shirts!), skater fashion from the 90ies, (the Vans!), a lot of grandpa-ish vintage, and yes, clearly elements from grunge in Hyukoh’s outfits.
How do they say? “Only 90ies kids will understand,” and M and I are definitely 90ies kids.
Until I came along, M basically dressed a lot like Hyuk Oh dresses now: wide, flared denim + short sleeved shirt and these skater belts that were ubiquitous at the time. So when I saw Hyuk Oh wear something like this look in particular, it inspired not only my amusement, but in its aftermath warm, fuzzy nostalgia too. So special kudos for pulling it off convincingly! After all, none of the band’s members are older than 23, which means they’re less 90ies kids but more like 90ies babies.
So yes, I was flustered by Hyuk Oh’s fashion at first. But I love it now because it’s so wacky, it’s unexpected and surprising, it’s completely outside of the current norm, but above all, it’s incredibly clever. I mean, it mimics the look of someone entirely not interested in fashion perfectly, and not to brag really, but I’d always thought I knew deliberate oddball-ness when I see it, but with him, I didn’t. I thought that’s quite something.
If you were looking for a little more polished Korean style inspiration, Hyuk Oh certainly isn’t it. His is a look that seeks no one’s approval, and that’s exactly what makes it so good. Yet if Hyuk Oh’s style is your thing, I think fashion stylist Ursina Gysi’s personal style or the works of Mauricio Nardi could appeal to you as well, as might Raf Simon’s Spring 2016 men’s wear collection that was recently shown in Paris.
Are you on board with Hyuk Oh’s odd fashion style or nah?
To cement Hyuk Oh’s status as a man of fashion, Mutzine, a online periodical on Korean fashion, unearthed old pictures from Cracker Your Wardrobe recently and shared them on their Tumblr. on September 2, 2015.
These are only two of several other pictures originally posted in September 2012, so that’s almost exactly three years ago. They show the singer and guitarist with still long hair and a comparatively more expressive face. I recommend you to check out the rest of the pictures here on Facebook.