Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by KORELIMITED. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.
Let me begin by saying – I don’t usually do sponsored posts on my blog. But this one is different and you’ll see why as you read on.
I mainly write about three things: (1) Life in Canada, (2) Korean culture and (3) personal stories. So when I was offered the opportunity to be an ambassador for KORELIMITED, I didn’t think twice. One of the key reasons I agreed to promote it here is due to the brand’s authenticity and ties with Korean culture, making it a good fit for my blog.
Language is a window into the soul of a culture. I have been studying Korean for over a year a half now and the more I learn, the more fascinated I become with the traditions and overall culture of that nation. Needless to say, the Korean music (K-music) I frequently listen to, the Korean lyrics whose meanings try to decode, the countless Korean dramas (K-dramas) I watch, and the many Korean YouTubers, influencers and translators I follow on social media, have fast-tracked my understanding of Korean culture (K-culture).
For anyone who has been immersed in the world of K-dramas or K-music, there are three things you simply cannot ignore: Korean beauty (K-beauty), Korean food (K-food), and Korean fashion (K-fashion) – these are some of the integral elements that make up K-culture. I do have a lot to say about K-beauty and K-food, but I will leave those for another day. In this post, let’s focus on K-fashion.
When I hear the term ‘K-fashion’, my mind instantly drifts to two distinct styles: (1) very pretty looking, pastel-colored clothes and (2) baggy streetwear. The clothing brand, KORELIMITED, is about the latter.
What’s in the name
KORELIMITED, also known as KORE, stands for Keepin Our Roots Eternal. And what a fitting name that is (no pun intended)! In an interview with the Korean American Center, KORELIMITED’s founder, Matthew Kim, described the brand as ‘streetwear that celebrates Korean culture and lifestyle.’ Their apparels reflect modern and artistic designs that are inspired by various aspects of Korean culture such as language, national symbols, and the freedom movement.
More about KORE
Launched in 2013, KORE’s designs have been appreciated by many popular artists. Some noteworthy names include Tiger JK, SanE, Kim Jong Kook, Cho Arden, Lee Jin Joo from DNCE, and the dancers from 1MILLION Dance Studio. And it’s not just about the designs; the apparel is made with quality fabric that will last long.
Here are three reasons why I think their designs stand out:
1. Spreading positivity and hope
I noticed a usage of the term 살자 (sal-ja), meaning ‘let’s live,’ in their designs. To someone who isn’t aware of the South Korean environment and society, this is just another phrase on an apparel. But if you look deeper into it, here’s how the meaning unfolds:
KORE founder, Matthew Kim was inspired by another major Korean streetwear brand that used the term ‘자살 club’ (Ja-sal club), meaning ‘suicide club’ on their clothes. A lesser known fact is that South Korea’s suicide rate is the fourth highest in the world. With the idea of promoting positivity and hope, Matthew flipped the word 자살 (ja-sal) to create 살자 (sal-ja), making it one of their most popular designs. Minor edits in words like these is why I love the Korean language!
Fun fact: I decided to learn Korean after watching BTS’ leader, RM, explain some of the finer nuances of the language (video timestamp: 6:40) in one of his live shows where he talked about the relationship and similarities between 사람 (sa-ram; meaning: person), 사랑 (sa-rang; meaning: love), and 살아 (sa-ra; meaning: live).
When the world was hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, KORE launched a new collection of masks embroidered with the phrase 같이 살자 (ga-chi sal-ja; meaning: together, let’s live) – a message conveying that in order for us to live together, we must protect one another by doing our part, such as wearing masks. What’s great is that 100 per cent of the proceeds from the purchase of their KORE face masks and the Let’s Live Together face masks are donated towards the purchase of N95 masks for frontline workers in need.
Stay safe by practicing social distancing and using masks when stepping out.
Get your masks now (affiliate link) and flaunt the unique designs!
2. Promoting Korean culture and heritage
Another cool thing about KORE’s designs is the usage of various traditional motifs such as:
- The Korean dragon that’s symbolic of wisdom, serenity, justice, and fortune;
- Trigrams or stripes and colours from the Korean flag;
- The Goryeo design, based on the royal flag 봉기 (bong-ki) from the Goryeo dynasty, one of the Korean kingdoms that lasted from 918 A.D. to 1392 A.D.;
- The Korean tiger, which is often found in Korean folklore. It is considered a sacred creature that symbolizes good luck and protection from evil spirits;
- Mugunghwa, the national flower of South Korea.
All of these make for very interesting designs that you cannot help but adore and adorn! The Goryeo design and the Mugunghwa are my personal favourites.
Fun fact: The Goryeo/Joseon and the Korean dragon designs were prominently displayed in the famous 2016 K-drama Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo and more recently in the K-drama, The King: Eternal Monarch as well as BTS’ Suga’s music video for 대취타 (Dechwita), the title track of his mixtape, D-2. Scarlet Heart Ryeo (the word Ryeo stems from Goryeo) holds a very special place in my heart as that drama was where my fascination with K-culture began. I remember being awestruck when I saw the lead actors wear those glorious-looking robes with the motifs!
No matter your personal style, KORELIMITED has something for everyone.
Get your K-culture inspired apparel now (affiliate link) and flaunt the unique designs!
3. Design collabs with rising artists
KORE frequently collaborates with various Korean artists weaving their personal style, inspiration, and designs to their own clothing line.
Some key collabs include:
- street_saint_art: For the retro designs with Korean crime-fighting robot, Taekwon V.
- Artist Kim Jung Gi: For reproducing one of his popular Korean flag drawings.
- Artist and photographer, Johnson Le: For the 80s-inspired, KOR3 Retro designs.
- Musician, JinJoo: For the 닥치시오 (or STFU) and 꺼지시오 (GTFO) designed-apparel.
- Dokgo, a rising tattoo artist in Seoul: For the ‘Falcon’ design.
- Professional dancer, Sori Na: For the ‘Fry Day’ design.
- Musician blogger and YouTuber, Ahn Jun Sung: For the ’93’ shirt design, symbolising his birth year.
- Artist, Gil So Ra: For the ‘Girl in Hanbok’ collection.
Where to buy KORE apparel?
All KORE clothing and accessories are currently available online only through their official website: www.KORELIMITED.com. Founder, Matthew Kim says that they do have plans to open physical stores in the future. So keep an eye out for that! Meanwhile, you can follow them on Instagram to stay up-to-date with their latest collections, sales, and offers .
Head over to KORELIMITED now to explore their amazing designs!
I hope you enjoyed reading this post. Stay tuned for upcoming articles on other aspects of K-culture. You can sign up now to get email alerts for all new posts.