Earlier this month, outside Prada’s menswear show in Milan, the street was jam-packed with yelling fans, the majority of whom appeared to have come for Korean pop group Enhypen, who attended the event. Occasionally, followers began singing along to the boy band’s hits.
These Italian children are studying Korean, in fact! Bryan Yambao, editor-in-chief of Perfect magazine, exclaimed as he got into a car after the performance.
A few years ago, such a sight would have been unusual because few fans staked out to see celebrity arrivals attended most shows. But as South Korean pop music grows in popularity around the world and luxury megabrands sign more and more endorsement deals with its biggest stars, K-pop groups’ ardent young fans have established themselves as a fixture.
The trend is still going strong; just this past week alone, appearances by Korean celebrities like Kai from EXO at Gucci, Enhypen from Prada, and J-Hope from the supergroup BTS at Louis Vuitton helped to flood social media with content from men’s fashion week. BTS member Jimin, who will attend Dior’s show on Friday, joined the fashion house on Monday, while rapper Suga of the group joined Valentino. (BTS is currently on break as a whole due to members’ military service.)
According to sources close to the brand and the band, even the renownedly low-key, “stealth wealth” house Bottega Veneta is currently negotiating to sign a menswear contract with a member of BTS. Additionally, Blackpink members Lisa (a Celine ambassador), Jisoo (at Dior), and Jennie (at Chanel) have attracted ever-larger crowds of fans while producing important online buzz during recent womenswear seasons.