If you haven’t watched Squid Game yet, take this as your sign too, as the Squid Game effect is real.
The series is a South Korean dystopian drama in which hundreds of contestants compete in children’s games for a cash prize, but the risks are deadly. It has been titled Netflix’s biggest launch yet, and has since received 100% on Rotten Tomatoes. Not only has it sparked mass interest in learning Korean but it’s also now taking over our wardrobes, and not just for Halloween...
The popularity of the show has caused a new hype towards minimalistic retro fashion, such as the boilersuits and tracksuits worn throughout the series. Combining this with an influx in merchandise and a considerable amount of interest from luxury fashion brands, the influence is undeniable.
Chae Kyung-sung, the show’s art director, spoke about the 70’s jumpsuit choice and retro aesthetic in the show, saying it was to refer nostalgically to old children’s books and publications. The colour scheme choice of pink and green was decided early on; intended to highlight the contract between the guards and the contestants, using pink for this implied something unusual.
The style choices made by Kyung-sung and the rest of the production team clearly paid off as the show has had a massive impact on the fashion industry, and well-timed Halloween costume sales. The Wall Street Journal had reported that a wave of costumes inspired by the show had appeared on Amazon, complete with boilersuits and black masks, and a green tracksuit costume, like the players wore, is currently the top seller in men’s Halloween costumes.
The show’s influences aren’t just confined to Halloween, they are making their way into our everyday wardrobes. For example, the white slip-on Vans, worn by all of the 456 contestants, has increased by 7,800% since the show’s release, according to Sole Supplier, and the general search for ‘white slip-ons’ has spiked by 97% globally. The same goes for tracksuits; according to Lyst, searching for ‘retro-style tracksuits’ has jumped by 97% and red boilersuits by 62%.
Netflix has also released a bunch of merchandise for the show in the form of t-shirts and hoodies, including important and specific references to the show that are recognisable to anyone who has watched it. Walmart has also followed suit and, working with Netflix, has created a line of exclusive pieces inspired by the show.
On the luxury end of the fashion-influence scale, Louis Vuitton has secured one of the stars of the programme, Jung Ho-Yeon, as their new global house ambassador. She is not the most followed South Korean actress on Instagram due to this collaboration and the success of the show and managed to gain millions of followers overnight.
Whether you’ve watched the show or not, you will see the waves of merchandise and influences filling our online feeds and retailers. If you haven’t watched the show, we recommend you do!
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