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Rise of Newtro trend in Korea Updated: 2019-07-24 07:05:55 KST

Time now for our "Life & Info" segment where we focus on information we hope is useful for your everyday life.
We have our business correspondent Kim Hyesung in the studio today to discuss a trend called "Newtro" that's exploding in popularity in South Korea.
So Hyesung, tell us more about this latest trend to hit the country.

Mark, newtro is a combination of the words new and retro, retrospect, referring to a new interpretation of retro culture.
And newtro is an increasingly popular theme across the retail industry, with those in their teens and twenties sharing their newtro related goods or experiences on Instagram.

In Euljiro, Jongro, in downtown Seoul, there are more than a dozen boutique shops that rent out clothes like dresses and suits and accessories from the late 19th century to the early 20th century, , the so-called Enlightenment period when western culture arrived.
The shops lend the clothes for three hours for less than 30 U.S. dollars and customers can take selfies either inside or outside the shop.

h The first shop opened late last year thanks to the popularity of Korean dramas like Mr. Sunshine that showcased 90s culture. The dresses became popular among women in their 20s, and it has continued this year. The number of boutique shops is continuing to grow as demand from people in their 30s and 40s is also rising."

"I wanted to make some special memories with my college friend. Wearing a hanbok in traditional palaces used to be the thing to do. Now, this is the new, hip trend."

So that's from a photo booth in Euljiro. You can actually spot quite a lot of people wearing those dresses in Euljiro and to suit their needs, there are photo booths and special photo zones at cafes or restaurants.

2. Interesting. Euljiro used to have an old-fashioned image, but now it's becoming a new hotspot. Why this area in particular? And I hear other retailers are moving in to take advantage of the newtro trend?

A quick background. Euljiro is an area named after General Eulji Mundeok of the 7th century who defended Goguryeo, one of the three kingdoms of Korea and successfully defended against China's Sui Dynasty.
In Euljiro, you can see the industrial history of Korea with machine tool shops, printing shops and traditional houses.

These buildings have been renovated into restaurants and stores, a mix of traditional interior and design with modern eateries and bakeries.
For example, a cafe in the 1900s style, the wood tables, traditional roof, tea pots and mirrors all look traditional.

"I like how it's traditional tea but it's served in these iced glasses. It's interesting. We've heard of the 1900s lifestyle but I've never experienced it myself. I was always curious about it and it's nice to try something like this."

3. We see many trends come and go quickly, especially in Korea, how long do you think the newtro trend will last?

The trend hasn't really hit its peak yet. It's just growing and growing.
There are other types like Jinro soju, packaged in blue just like when it was released in the 1970s. They've sold over 10 million units since it was reintroduced in April.

Brands like FILA have released a remake of their shoe series from the 1970s.
Nintendo, Tancent.these companies are coming up with retro games, like Super Mario Bros.
Take a listen to an expert on why he believes newtro is so popular in Korea.

"Newtro is a new interpretation of the past. It triggers nostalgia among the older generation and the younger generation is curious about things they see as new and hip. In a business sense, products are flooding the market and there's no limit to new content. So newtro really meets demand. It'll likely continue to evolve and last for some time to come."

Thanks for the interesting information, Hyesung.

My pleasure.
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