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North Korea Cracks Down on Leather Coats That Look Like Kim Jong-un's, Media Claims

© REUTERS / KCNANorth Korean leader Kim Jong Un visits Samjiyon City, North Korea in this undated photo released on November 16, 2021 by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un visits Samjiyon City, North Korea in this undated photo released on November 16, 2021 by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA). - Sputnik International, 1920, 25.11.2021
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While leather jackets reportedly became popular in North Korea in the early 2000s, leather trench coats supposedly gained even more fame in the country after Kim Jon-un was seen on TV sporting one.
Authorities in North Korea have started cracking down on people wearing leather trench coats, with citizens reportedly keen to emulate the fashion of the country's leader Kim Jong-un, Radio Free Asia reports.
According to the media outlet, leather trench coats gained popularity in North Korea in 2019 after Kim appeared on TV wearing one.
An anonymous resident of the North Korean city of Pyongsong also reportedly explained that the look was further popularised “with a new demographic” after Kim and “all the high-ranking officials” in attendance at the military parade at the 8th Party Congress in January were wearing leather coats.
This undated picture released from North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on July 30, 2021 shows North Korean leader Kim Jong Un taking part in the First Workshop of KPA Commanders and Political Officers, at April 25 House of Culture in Pyongyang. - Sputnik International, 1920, 11.11.2021
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The source noted that, as North Korean head of state's sister Kim Yo-jong and a number of other powerful women were among those seen wearing such coats, the garment "has become a symbol for powerful women too."

"As leather coats began to be recognised as a symbol of power, private clothing merchants asked trading company officials to import synthetic leather since September of this year," the source said. "They copied the design of the leather coats worn by the Highest Dignity and the officials and now they are being sold in the marketplace."

Recently, however, cops in Pyongsong have started confiscating coats from sellers and from people wearing them in public, the media outlet claims, citing the source.
"Young men protest, saying they bought the coats with their own money and there is no reason to take them away," the source added. "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.’ They instructed the public not to wear leather coats, because it is part of the party’s directive to decide who can wear them."
Another source also revealed that, while leather jackets became popular in North Korea since the early 2000s, “when South Korean films began to spread in provincial cities,” leather trench coats became even more popular than jackets after Kim Jong-un’s TV appearances “in cowhide” on TV.
"When these leather coats became popular, the law enforcement authorities went after the companies that made the coats that look too much like the Highest Dignity’s. They also go after people wearing them in public," the second source said. "Residents protest against the crackdown asking how there could be anything impure about the choice to wear a leather coat."
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