Pots and pans, piles of shirts and footwear, jewellery-laden tables, and packing containers brimming with bric-a-brac. In the tangle of streets around exit 3 of Seoul’s Dongmyo station, hundreds of distributors market every little thing from aged Instamatic cameras to publications, luggage and vinyl data.
Positioned in the South Korean capital’s historic district of Dongdaemun, Dongmyo’s bustling flea industry is scattered all-around a shrine designed in honour of an ancient Chinese navy commander. But there is additional to the neighbourhood than bargains, vintage dresses, and retro treasures. It also serves as a cultural hub for the city’s senior citizens to shop, socialise and exhibit off their exclusive design.
“One working day, I discovered a senior gentleman wanting for apparel just like me. His fashion blew me away,” remembers Seoul-based mostly photographer Kim Dong-hyun, 29, who spends his times documenting the city’s vibrant senior street style scene, significantly of which he shares on Instagram.
Above the several years, Dongmyo has undergone a ton of alter, starting to be a place for young people’s newfound appreciation of classic clothing on a finances. At its main though, Dongmyo has normally been a playground for the city’s aged populace.
“I’ve fulfilled some people today who have been heading there every 7 days for 30 a long time,” Kim says, dependent on the a lot of discussions he has experienced with the people today he has photographed. South Korea is a promptly ageing culture. By 2050, the selection of elderly folks could account for virtually 44% of the country’s inhabitants. Though lots of senior citizens experience much healthier than ever and do not regard themselves as previous, aged loneliness is a major difficulty.
“In Korea, there are not many places where elderly people can go and have pleasurable. But in Dongmyo, they can go purchasing, they can participate in, fulfill buddies and drink makgeolli [rice wine]. It is their spot, and they really don’t need to care about what other folks consider.”
“From their hairdos to their glasses and sneakers, they know how to seem superior and consider treatment of by themselves. They go after their have models and distinctive techniques to express their individuality. Lots of of us believe that fashionable people today are just youthful men and women, a information further more amplified by the media. But trend has no age,” he says.
Among the the senior citizens that dangle out in Dongdaemun is Lee Seok-ki, one particular member of a team known as the “military crew”. The group is comprised of a few adult men whose kinds are distinctive from each individual other: Lee prefers a minimalist classic army appear, while his buddies like to reinterpret navy style in a fashionable way, decorating dresses with colourful embroidered patches and badges.
If just about anything, senior style is more refined, Kim suggests. “It’s like wine. In your 20s, you just style every thing, but by your 70s, your flavor is sharper – you know what you like.”
As a boy or girl, Chae Myung-hee, 74, made a enthusiasm for vogue that led her to do the job as a women’s dresses designer for 40 several years. Even throughout the pandemic when some individuals dressed down and avoided makeup, she claims she built an exertion to normally look wonderful, whether she was carrying a mask or not. “It’s generally been a portion of me,” Chae says.
In his future e-book, Mut – Street Fashion of Seoul, Kim presents a glimpse into the earth of senior vogue. He hopes the book will provide a new perspective on a demographic that is usually overlooked or below-appreciated. Kim says more mature persons need to be recognised for their great and flair, which is regarded as meot in Korean, or as Kim likes to stylise it on-line and in his book – mut.
“It’s far more than the English phrase ‘cool’,” he suggests. “Sometimes it can imply a little something is superb, often it can signify great, often it’s stunning or fantastic. I just can’t categorical it in different ways or translate the term, and never see the will need for it.”
The images present hope, he states, and a new way of wanting at ageing. “I think some people today have hope when they see my photographs. They can see that they too can continue on to be stylish when they increase more mature.
“When a headline uses the phrase ‘grandfather’, we routinely assume one thing negative … I want to clearly show that seniors have specific personalities, that they also can have their personal meot.”