This holiday season, South Korean youths are snapping up a new fashion statement -– the Levi’s 501 jeans made famous by the late Apple Inc. founder Steve Jobs.Actually, and I don't know if I should be embarrassed to admit this, but I used to dress almost exactly like Steve Jobs, though not for camaraderie or anything, and certainly not every day (Kushibo can rock a suit). I just liked 501s and black or dark gray mock turtlenecks. After Steve Jobs made it his thing, I kinda sorta had to back off a bit. Nowadays I look like someone from Lost or Hawaii Five-0. But not the Hurley guy.
In this wired nation, where 99% of people under 40 regularly use the Internet, many trends are cyber-induced, and in recent years, young consumers have rejected the products and image of homegrown Samsung in favor of the iconic Jobs.
South Koreans buy tons of Apple products, but, style-wise, the jeans are the new hip thing.
A poll taken by Shinsegae, a major department store here, found that the Jobs-inspired 501 look was one of the hottest sellers this year.
I don't know where I was going with that.
Anyway, I find it interesting that in a country where Apple had come to be seen as a rival to the fortunes of the country's own great electronics icon, that Steve Jobs would be seen as such a hero worthy of emulation. I guess that's a sign of changing allegiances and, perhaps, a sense that the old order of chaebol supremacy (with the concomitant tendency to follow Western technological trends and the perceived lack of creativity) has seen its day.
Yup. Quite a pronouncement to make from a pair of pants. Next week: I'll explain Kim Jong-il and his purple-flared ski jacket.
Odd, isn't it? In my second year presentations class, I show a clip form Mac World 2007 where Jobs introduces the iPhone. The goal being to demonstrate positive body language and interaction with a minimalist power point (or whatever Apple calls it). In the past, this exercise was met with benign indifference from most students. This semester I have two classes from the uni's business school. These kids were literally glued to the screen and there was a collective "wtf?!" when I shut it off after twenty minutes. At least to these budding executives and start up geniuses Jobs is a hero worthy of emulation, something I've never heard from these guys about Lee, Keun-hee or any other chaebol leader.ReplyDelete
That said, the fact that Shinsegae is selling Levi's 501s for 170,000 a pop points to ongoing problems for Korean consumers at the hands of the chaebols. Especially since you can buy the same freakin' jeans a few blocks away in Namdaemoon Market for 50,000.
The "minimalist" power point is Keynote...ReplyDelete
I don't know if you've seen the original Millennium TrilogyReplyDelete
, but Stieg Larson was a major fan of Apple. I wonder if the new, unnecessary, Hollywood version will keep it that way or if a pc company paid more for product placement.
John, I have not yet read the books (even though I received two of them for Christmas last year), and I'd been putting off watching the Swedish versions until I read them, but they're in my Netflix queue.ReplyDelete
I will be looking out for the Apple presence, though.
Douglas, interesting to hear about young Koreans' enthusiasm for Steve Jobs. I think, with so many Koreans using and loving so many Apple products these days (even if Macs have never caught on like they have here in American academia), I guess it shouldn't be too surprising that they would so lovingly associate with him.
See, not only do his products have a major cool and wow factor, but he also maintains a tight hold on his empire, an appealing kind of strict control in the face of chaos that has resonated with Koreans for decades.