How Korean design is pioneering a brand new authenticity

Make, Break, Remix: The Rise of K-Style is a new book tracing the ever-evolving landscape of Korean culture – a heady mix of tradition and a newfound youth-led shedding of inhibitions

For most people in the UK, the first we knew about K-pop arrived courtesy of the then-ubiquitous Gangnam Style — Seoul-based rapper Psy’s 2012 hit single, which became the first YouTube video to be viewed a billion times.

Since then, it seems there’s been no stopping the rise of K-pop — thanks largely to bands like BTS, the biggest-selling band in the world for the past two years — and indeed, as the Guardian has dubbed it, ‘K-everything’ as Korea’s cultural exports across fashion, film, TV, video games, food and more have taken the world by storm.

And while this has been bubbling for around a decade or so, it seems that now the UK cultural mainstream is sitting up and realising that ‘K’ means business. This month sees the opening of Hallyu! The Korean Wave, a new major exhibition at the V&A; as well as the launch of Thames & Hudson’s tome Make, Break, Remix: The Rise of K-Style.

Top: Bajowoo, frontman of 99%IS-; Above: Park Hyeonsu and friends. All photos by less_Taekyun Kim

Sign in