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‘Minari’ Showcases Today’s South Korean Fashion


A trend called “newtro” is cool in Seoul.
The costumes in Minari, a film by Isaac Chung, include midcentury-style button-downs and slim dresses with straight, conservative lines. These looks from the 1970s and ’80s are part of a trend in present-day South Korea called “newtro” or new retro, which is seen in popular neighborhoods of Seoul like Hongdae and Euljiro; music videos like “Dynamite,” by BTS, and “Woowa,” by Dia; and television shows like “Mr. Sunshine.” Susanna Song, the costume designer for “Minari,” selected the characters’ outfits by looking through old family photos and watching Korean dramas like “Reply.” Ms. Song,35, who grew up in California, said her style has been influenced by her heritage and in particular her mother, who emigrated from Korea to Los Angeles in the ’70s. “My mom had this boat neck top with polka dots that always stuck out to me,” said Ms. Song. “She was always so sophisticated and classy.” The trend is not limited to fashion, it has been used to describe young people’s interest in trot (Korean popular music from the ’50s,) as well as hip coffee shops with visual cues from ’70s design trends. Choi Ji-hye, an analyst at Seoul National University’s Consumer Trend Research Institute, said pinpointing what newtro is can be tricky because it can be applied so widely, but said part of its definition is “reinterpreting elements from the past to create something new.” Ms. Choi said that the trend is not just about imitating a specific time period; it is a term normally applied to younger generations looking for inspiration in time periods that they did not live through.

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