North Korea Chic? ELLE you kidding me?

November 20, 2013
Magazine creates a stir by naming it top fashion trend 
Screen shot of's   "North Korea Chic" page.

Screen shot of’s
“North Korea Chic” page.

By Lee Kyutae

Fashion magazine Elle has created a stir by recently declaring “North Korea Chic” as a hot fashion trend for this fall. Elle’s creative director Joe Zee noted that ‘North Korea Chic’ is a lot like military-inspired apparel, but is “edgier, even dangerous, with sharp buckles and clasps and take-no-prisoners tailoring.”

“Never mind the fact that North Korea is actually quite fond of taking prisoners,” quipped Time magazine, as it didn’t take long for the world to render its judgement – outrage on social media condemned Elle for its ignorance and insensitivity.

“We regret the reference to North Korea in our post on the season’s military trend, and have removed the image. We apologize to those we offended,” Elle wrote on its website in response.

North Korea Chic? (Korea Times file)

North Korea Chic? (Korea Times file)

In Elle’s defense, although ‘chic’ is a hip word to use in Korea right now, the way Koreans spell it and say it in Korean (시크), you can’t always tell if the intended meaning is chic or sick.

But then, this makes it two-years in-a-row for North Korea to be linked this way. Last November, the satirical news outlet The Onion provided the cause by naming the North Korean ruler Kim Jong-un as the Sexiest Man Alive.

One Chinese newspaper apparently didn’t realize The Onion is a satirical newspaper, and ran a huge feature headlined “North Korea’s top leader named The Onion’s Sexiest Man Alive for 2012,’’ accompanied by 55 pages of photographs to congratulate him.