Female Korean pop stars are giving their ultra-famous male counterparts, such as G-Dragon, Taeyang, and co., a run for their money. K-pop star, CL, for instance, has been making waves in the fashion industry, particularly in recent seasons, gracing Alexander Wang’s Spring/Summer 2016 ad campaign, turning up in the front row at some of the industry’s most celebrated brands' shows, and landing major beauty deals, such as ones for Maybelline.
Now at least one of CL’s 2NE1 bandmates is romancing the fashion industry, as well. Enter: Sandara “Dara” Park, who was spotted in the front row at the Fendi, Moschino, and Diesel Black Gold Spring/Summer 2017 runway shows in Milan this week. As a singer, model, actress, and Instagram sensation, Park is one of the most prominent celebrities in Korea. As Vogue noted, “She has been able to make an impact on-screen and online with both her style and genre-defying career. While Park’s distinctive pop vocals are a key component to her success, what truly has pushed her to the top is her personality. CL might have that baddest female title on lock, but Park’s effortless cool, willingness to be funny—her hilarious social updates are almost as famous as she is—and dedication to her fans has allowed her to seem like the pop idol next door.”
It seems Dara, with her 4.5 million Instagram devotees, has set her sights on Western fashion. Her statement-making wardrobe, which consists of Vetements, Off-White, and Gosha sweatshirts, Fenty x Puma track suits, Saint Laurent bombers, Thom Browne mini-skirts, Supreme tees, and Versus Versace frocks, has already garnered her fans like designer Jeremy Scott and landed her editorials in publications ranging from W and L'officiel and Dazed. And the timing could not be more perfect as Western luxury brands have been looking East rather relentlessly as a hotbed for growth.
The Chinese consumer, in particular, has become wealthier and more accepting of Western retail formats since luxury brands began investing in the Chinese market, with Louis Vuitton, Bally, Gucci and Ferragamo among the first wave of retailers to open outlets in China more than 10 years ago. However, with the changing tides of consumption and luxury spending and the introduction of new – younger – spending groups, luxury brands have had to tailor their approach.
Changes are coming in terms of the countries being targeted (think: less expansion in China and more of a focus on South Korea, for instance, as many Chinese are now buying their luxury products there and by 2020, Chinese luxury consumers will spend $29 billion at South Korea luxury retailers). They are also altering the actual marketing practices being utilized. The latter appears to be taking the form of enlisting Asian ambassadors for an extra push in the modern and changing landscape. These ambassadors range from K-pop stars like G-Dragon and CL to YouTube mega-stars like Irene Kim, and now, it seems that Dara is stepping up to the plate, as well.