Top 10 K-pop Fashion Moments in 2021

By: Sihle K.
K-pop Fashion 2021
Thumbnail courtesy of Laras.

After a tumultuous 2020 that led to everything getting put on hold in the fashion world, 2021 saw the return of iconic and bold fashion moments. This was no more apparent than in the world of K-pop. We carefully hand-picked our top 10 favorite fashion moments within the K-pop industry to share with you all!

Taemin In Charles Jeffrey Loverboy for “Advice”

Taemin pulled out all the stops for Advice, the final mini-album he released before enlisting. In the accompanying music video, Taemin danced his heart out in a chessboard-inspired black and white suit with a check shirt. He played the piano shirtless, while wearing a hauntingly beautiful mask, matching the gothic theme. Head-to-toe in Charles Jeffrey Loverboy with knee-length boots and lace tights, the punk-inspired ensemble worked perfectly with the intense lyrics and dark visuals of the title track. As the song reached its crescendo, SHINee’s maknae revealed his final look, a white tracksuit, perfectly cropped to show off his Supreme sports bra and boxers combination. These extravagant, androgynous outfits would be considered hard to pull off by anyone else, but Taemin did it with ease.

Hyuna In Wonderland 

Hyuna made her return to the K-pop scene earlier this year with “I’m Not Cool.” The outfits were just as fun as the title track. The stylist, Dooho, give us a plethora of gorgeous outfits to swoon over. From the simple yet stunning RUI black bodysuit and leg stocking; to the all pink outfit consisting of the Chen Peng faux fur jacket, Moschino teddy bear t-shirt, and tutu from Dolls Kill; all the outfits were unique. We were also blessed with a winter wonderland fantasy comprised of an oversized faux fur hat and snow boots. It was difficult for us to initially pick our favorite ensemble, however, the one that stuck in our minds the most was the white ribbed corset, a blue lace bodysuit, and fluffy arm warmers. The dreamy, angelic look complemented the scenery well and completely took our breath away.

BM Attends Fashion Week

Sporting a daring but trendy platinum blonde buzz cut and eyebrow combination, KARD’s BM turned heads as he traveled to a variety of different countries for fashion week. The rapper made his first stop, and official runway debut, at the BossxRussellAthletic Spring/Summer show in Milan. Dressed in athletic wear mixed with retro elements, BM strutted down a baseball field located in the Kennedy Sports Center while a star-studded audience looked on. Considering how much recognition BM gets for his physique, it’s no surprise he was selected to appear alongside models like Adut Akech and Gigi Hadid for this sporty collection. BM then attended shows for big designers such as Marni, Marine Serre, Valentino, Lanvin, and Balenciaga.

Kai & the Giant Peach

With the release of his long-awaited second mini-album Peaches, Kai reminded us why he is regarded as one of the most stylish idols on the K-pop scene. The accredited dancer kicked off his new era with a teaser where he donned a long, elegant coat with pleated details, reminiscent of the work of Robert Wun. During a countdown live video, Kai explained that the coat was modified to resemble Korean traditional clothing. This wasn’t the only item of modern clothing that was changed to incorporate traditional elements. Items from the Bonbom x Kappa collection were reworked and paired with a Gat and balaclavas. The all-white ensemble with pieces from Urreri was styled to look like a Hanbok. With the help of stylist PunkySpider, the Gucci muse created a collection of outfits that combine the old and new. 

NCT 127 Returned With Sticker

Even before the initial release of their third album, Sticker, NCT 127 made sure to catch our attention with their interesting style choices.  With “Who is Sticker,” the multi-selling boy group put on their acting caps as they showed the process of them going from normal college students during the day, to rebellious hackers at night. The clothing helped convey this concept. As regular (no pun intended) run-of-the-mill students, they were dressed in plain hoodies, turtlenecks, and shirts. However, at the swipe of a screen, NCT 127’s appearance changed drastically as we watched them walk around in revealing tops, skin-tight leather, and an abundance of jewelry. NCT 127 took the hacker theme one step further with the sticky version of “Sticker.” All the members were decked out in the Raf Simons Spring 2021 collection (minus Taeyong, who wore a modified version of a hot pink Balenciaga t-shirt). The psychedelic, experimental style of the clothing chosen paired with the bright green backdrop helped solidify Sticker’s place next to NCT 127’s other iconic fashion eras.

Sunmi Channeled Y2K In “You Can’t Sit With Us”

Considering the resurgence of the retro aesthetic and how prevalent it has been in previous idol fashion moments, it’s not surprising Sunmi decided to try her own version of it with “You Can’t Sit With Us.” The title of the song and the outfits in the campy music video call back to Mean Girls. The popular soloist used brands such as Area, Gucci, and O-mighty to recreate style trends from the 80s as well as the McBling era. The stand-out look for us was the white shirt, tartan skirt,  Chanel suspenders ensemble as Sunmi glamorously shot her way through a horde of zombies.

aespa For Pop Magazine

aespa looked as cool as ever on the cover of Pop Magazine. The monster rookies have had a massive increase in popularity over the past year due to their strong, unique style which they have managed to curate so early in their career.  With a large number of magazine covers already under their name, it’s no surprise they caught the eye of the British innovators. In the Autumn/Winter feature, the girls posed head-to-toe in Givenchy. The brand choice is fitting as aespa became ambassadors for them in the first half of the year, becoming the first Korean artists to represent them. The mix of body con dresses, shoulder pads, chunky jewelry, fur, and wedge shoes creates a striking visual. 

NCT Dream Take Us to the Future

In the follow-up to “Hot Sauce,” NCT Dream introduced us to a version of the future where fashion is at the forefront. The group’s themes of youth, freedom, and hope are successfully shown through their clothing. Draped in clothing from Camp High, Honor the Gift, and the Dior x Kenny Scharf collection, NCT Dream invited us to fully immerse ourselves in their wonderfully surreal depiction of the world years from now. The prominence of the Dior collaboration could’ve been a hint as months after “Hello Future,” NCT Dream’s leader Mark would be invited to the brand’s Spring/Summer Show. Jeno’s look combining a brown crochet vest from Saturday of Us with tableau pants from Bode for the flower power-inspired photo teasers was one of the stand-out outfit moments for us.

Wonyoung’s World

IVE’s Wonyoung is only 17 but has already begun showing signs of becoming a well-known style icon. The fourth generation idol is already making waves in the fashion world, with fans praising her for being able to pull off casual street style and professional editorial looks. However, It’s not just fans that are paying attention to Wonyoung. The former IZONE member was chosen to become the ambassador for the luxury brand Miu Miu. Wonyoung was also picked to be the model for popular Seoul-based brand KIRSH. The brand officialy stated that they recruited the young fashionista because her “lively and bright charm perfectly matched the image pursued by the brand.”

OnlyOneOf Owns the Stage

We always admire when people take risks, and OnlyOneOf did just that with their styling for “Libido.” To accompany the sensual title track, the group wore a wide variety of suits for their live stages. The suits would be different for each member.  Some would come with cropped blazers that accentuated their bodies and others would have sections cut out to reveal skin. These looks would also be paired with either a mesh top or no top at all. Stage outfits like this require a lot of confidence to pull off and OnlyOneOf had plenty of that. 

We’re excited to see what other bold looks the group will come up with in the future!

Want more on fashion? Read about our favorite holiday campaigns here!