North Korean fashion police? Kim Jong-un imposes crackdown on people imitating his style

Kim Jong-un wears leather jacket at ceremony in 2019

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Kim Jong-un has banned the sale of leather coats in North Korea in the latest bizarre power move from the dictator. North Korea’s very own fashion police are said to patrol the streets of the secretive country and confiscate any leather jackets they spot. According to a report by Radio Free Asia (RFA), the North Korean leader is unhappy with his citizens trying to copy his fashion choices after his leather coat look won admirers.

It remains unclear why Kim Jong-un is concerned about a copycat fashion craze.

According to a source, a directive from the North Korean ruling Worker’s Party issued an explicit directive on the new fashion rules.

A source told RFA: “Young men protest, saying they bought the coats with their own money and there is no reason to take them away.

“The police respond to the complaints, saying that wearing clothes designed to look like the Highest Dignity’s is an ‘impure trend to challenge the authority of the Highest Dignity’.”

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The source added: “They instructed the public not to wear leather coats because it is part of the party’s directive to decide who can wear them.”

The leather trench coats became popular in the country in 2019 when Kim Jong-un first wore one in a TV appearance.

Demand again shot up after he was seen wearing another leather coat in a public appearance last week.

According to RFA, local garment makers began to import fake leather to make them domestically. 

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The fake leather coats are thought to cost North Koreans roughly £12. 

South Korean newspaper Korea Joongang Daily has reported that the average salary in the North is roughly 50p per month. 

The leather trenchcoat has also been spotted being worn by Kim Jong-un’s sister Kim Yo Jong, who is speculated to be his chosen successor. 


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It is not the first fashion crackdown in the secretive country.

In May this year, North Korea banned skinny jeans, mullets and certain body piercings as symbols of a “capitalistic lifestyle”. 

Across the border, the Chinese government similarly took action against what it calls “sissy men,” or men deemed too effeminate.

In other news, Kim Jong-un, who took control of the country ten years ago, has also removed portraits of his grandfather and father from the backdrop of official meetings.

This signals that the North Korean leader is tightening his grip and his own cult of personality inside the country, according to Strait Times.

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