North Korea has banned its citizens from wearing leather trench coats, with authorities claiming it is disrespectful to leader Kim Jong-un after the dictator appeared on TV, wearing a long leather coat two years ago.
The President’s look, according to reports, became quite popular and a lot of people went on to copy it but the authorities now see it as a crime.
The police are also targeting people who sell the fashionable garments and so far, hundreds of dealers have been arrested and charged to court.
A resident of Pyongsong, a city north of the capital Pyongyang, told Radio Free Asia that the coats have grown in appeal this year after leading women, including Kim Jong-un’s sister and likely successor Kim Yo-jong, were spotted in them.
“Now the leather coat 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.
“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.”
The resident added that police in Pyongsong recently started cracking down on both vendors and wearers, even though young men have been protesting against the new measures.
“Authorities have described the fashion fad as an impure trend to challenge the authority of the Highest Dignity,” according to the resident.
Another resident, from the North Pyongan province, explained that coats are both “imported from China” and “made domestically” with imported materials.
“Rich entrepreneurs are able to import the fabric for the coats by placing an order with state-run trading companies who have partially resumed maritime smuggling.”
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