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Not only for special occasions: Exhibition highlights daily use of hanbok, Korean traditional attire

Models in hanbok-style work uniforms (Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism)
Models in hanbok-style work uniforms (Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism)
An exhibition that underlines the daily use of Korea traditional clothing, hanbok, launched on Wednesday in Seoul.

The exhibition, co-hosted by the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Sports and Korea Craft & Design Foundation, introduces uniforms created by hanbok designers Kwon Hye-jin of Hyeon, Kim Nan-hee of Dolsilnai, Baek Dahami of Daham Hanbok, Hwang Sun-tae of Hanbok Moon, Shin Sang-hwa as well as You Eun-chae, a college student whose hanbok design received an award last year.

“[We] created work clothes with an emphasis on practical aspects while expressing Korean images by utilizing hanbok’s characteristic patterns, colors, and symbols,” hanbok designer Hwang Sun-tae said.

The designers have participated in a culture ministry-led project that aims to promote daily use of the traditional attire, which have often been used only for special occasions like weddings in modern days. As part of a promotion campaign, visitors wearing hanbok receive free entry to local hot spots such as the palaces of Seoul. The Ministry itself is encouraging its employees to wear hanbok every Wednesday.

The exhibition picked about 50 hanbok designs that have been particularly well received at tourism-related businesses and schools for their design and comfort. 

Models in hanbok-style school uniforms (Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism)
Models in hanbok-style school uniforms (Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism)
This year, students at 34 schools across the country will wear hanbok as their school uniforms -- the number of schools endorsing hanbok uniforms has increased from 19 schools in 2021 and 15 in 2020. Hanbok uniforms are being used at 12 public workplaces including the National Hangeul Museum, Busan National Gugak Center, the Miryang city government.

The exhibition runs through Feb. 24 at Culture Station Seoul 284, a former Seoul train station which has become a multipurpose arts and cultural complex.

The timely exhibition comes as China showed off hanbok as traditional clothing worn by one of its many ethnic groups at the opening ceremony of the Beijing Winter Olympics Friday night.

By Park Ga-young (gypark@heraldcorp.com)
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