The Real Hanboks and Fusion Hanboks: Is There A Difference?

The Real Hanboks and Fusion Hanboks: Is There A Difference?

Here at Leesle, we have proved to know a thing or two about hanboks. We have studied a lot about them, how they used to look, how to make them, and how to transform them into a modern and wearable choice. For those of you who haven’t had the chance to visit Korea yet, when you are touring around, you can rent hanboks around traditional places and have free access to all of the palaces while wearing the hanbok. There are many rental places where you can hand pick the whole hanbok yourself.

However, we have to break it down to you: most of the time, these hanboks are not the real traditional ones. After long research and deep look into these hanboks, now we are able to spot the differences in an instance and after this small masterclass, you will also be able to spot the real hanboks between the so-called “fusion” hanboks.

First things first. What is a fusion hanbok?

A fusion hanbok is basically shaped like a traditional real hanbok. However, fusion hanbok is a modified traditional hanbok. How do I know that it is a modified one? Well, they have excessively puffy skirts with hoops, ribbons tied on the back of the waist, flashy gold and silver accents, and it is made with cheap fabrics.

This is a perfect example of a fusion hanbok that you can rent in every rental shop. When we went to the palaces we saw these beautiful hanboks and a lot of people were wearing them. However, it is very easy to spot that they are not traditional hanboks. You can see the gold accents, the ribbon tied to make the dress look more form fitting and the puffy skirts.

The hanbok you see on the photo above is a more traditional one. As you can see this one is a lot more toned down than the previous hanboks. However, in our opinion, this hanbok is equally beautiful and it will let you wear the dress instead of that the dress is wearing you. This hanbok got featured in the drama series Arang and the Magistrate, starring Shin Min Ah, who looked so gorgeous in this costume, by the way.

Recently, some movements have emerged against the fusion hanbok. They want to exclude them from free admission and discounts of some palaces and restaurants, to reduce the attractiveness of these somehow fake hanboks. I believe that eventually, they might be able to convince the Cultural Heritage Administration to do this, so it’s a good thing to know the differences now.

Is there a way to save the traditional hanbok?

There has been a serious problem with it, as there is not a single college or institute that teaches professional hanbok making. In 2016 the last university closed due to low enrollment. Therefore, it’s important that everybody knows what a traditional hanbok actually looks like in order to not to lose this precious tradition.


What do you think, will you be able to spot the difference? Do you think it’s really important?

Let us know in the comments! I’d love to start a conversation about this.



1 Comment
  • BrianTut

    27th March 2020 at 6:14 am Reply

    I love the data on your website. Cheers!

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