The venue of the 2019 Paris Fashion Week “Gucci” show, which ended recently in Paris, waves with a picket with Hangeul(Korean letter) on it. More than 500 local fans gathered to watch “EXO” member Kai (Kim Jong-in) at a fashion show. Adrian Russo (22), who came from Lille, northern France, said, “It’s considered to be cool if we know how to speak Korean among young French people in their 10 ~ 20s these days.”
Hangeul is the newest meme created by the popularity of Korean culture especially KPOP. It is rapidly spreading among young people abroad into sophisticated and individual languages. It is not just a foreign language, but also a variety of fashion design products using Hangeul. There are 546 products that have ‘Hangeul’ as keywords in ‘etsy’ that sell famous foreign handmade products online. “Starting with K-pop fans, Julia Kuffelang, the owner of the “babbayo shop,” a popular store on the etsy site, said she has even introduced Korean products. “As the status of K-pop stars who accumulate great cultural capital increases day by day, both their language and behavior have a tremendous influence on the younger generation,” said Megan Collins, president of Trend Analysis.
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The value of Hangeul as a “design product” has changed the fashion world since early this year. After the British designer PREEN, Korean word “긴장하라” put on a fashion show in March, Nike also released a limited edition of “Seoul” with the Korean language, “화합과 전진”, “서울”. The famous British design magazine Monocle also posted the Korean word “한국 (Korea)” on its cover in March, and the fashion magazine “Vogue Brazil” took its 43rd-anniversary photos in the background of Korea local street with Korean signboards amount of 40-page in May.
Recently, more people are studying Korean online through YouTube and Instagram. There are 130,000 hashtags on Instagram. The “Korean Learning Instagram” account run by Dominique Dinkins has more than 7,000 followers. Hollywood actor Thomas McDonnell, nicknamed “Korean language collector,” showed 290,000 followers “Hangeul Love” by copying Hangeul on Twitter. Famous political columnist Brocken Maddux told the British daily Evening Standard recently that “I learned about Korean because of my daughter who fell into the BTS, but now I am more excited.” “Foreigners see Hangeul as visually balanced and vibrant characters,” said Kim Hee-soo, a researcher at the Korean Language Museum.