Why Wearing Skinny Jeans in North Korea Is a No-No

It’s Prohibited for Anyone to Wear Skinny Jeans in North Korea

The rules here come in all sorts of shapes, sizes, and apparently, the type of pants you wear, too.

That rules are nothing but old habits that people are afraid to change — as author Therese Fowler literally puts it — is a phrase you might’ve heard countless times before. But whether there’s truth to it or not depends largely on where you are in the world.

In the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, or North Korea for short, rules are so extensive that they come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. And apparently, in the type of pants you wear when out in public, too. So in case you haven’t heard, one such rule dictates that wearing skinny jeans in North Korea is prohibited, along with other fashion trends those in the East Asian region consider to be the norm. And something to worship even.

Also read: 10 Things You Should Never Do If You’re Visiting North Korea

Why skinny jeans in North Korea are a no-no

North Korea Skyline

Image credit: Catriona MacGregor via Canva Pro

It’s not so much how they look alone as to where their style comes from. The skinny jeans that we know today were supposedly invented in the 1930s, when American company Levi Strauss & Co. released slimmer-fitting high-waisted jeans for women. Although, the idea behind them could have very well originated in France during the 17th century. It was between 2005 and 2010 when wearing them across all genders came to worldwide popularity.

In 2021, it’s almost impossible to visit mainstream fashion boutiques without seeing a variation of these pants in one of their in-store racks. It doesn’t help that the skinny jeans style is perpetuated by several Western fashion capitals of the world. These include Paris, New York, and Milan, which have distinct capitalistic lifestyles — the very culture North Korea Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un hopes to battle alongside other products with foreign influences.

Skinny Jeans Shop

Image credit: Tero Vesalainen via Canva Pro

According to The Rodong Sinmun, an organ of the North’s ruling Worker’s Party via Yonhap News Agency, skinny jeans are one example of such lifestyle. “History teaches us a crucial lesson that a country can become vulnerable and eventually collapse like a damp wall regardless of its economic and defense power if we do not hold on to our own lifestyle,” states the newspaper, which Kim also heads. “We must be wary of even the slightest sign of the capitalistic lifestyle and fight to get rid of them.”

In other words, wearing skinny jeans falls under what the East Asian nation describes as anti-socialist behaviour and must be stopped at all costs. In addition to skinny jeans in North Korea being banned, locals are not allowed to wear or have the following: blue pants, dyed and spiky hairstyles, t-shirts with slogans or statements, and body piercings. Punishments for breaking these and similar rules range from paying fines to the death penalty.


Featured image credit: David Larivière | Unsplash

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Joser Ferreras
Joser Ferreras

Joser writes about travel, people, and business. A former researcher, he wants to debunk the old saying 'write what you know' by acknowledging that good content is also the outcome of one's openness to learn something new.

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