As Chief Researcher of the Korean Royal Costume Research Institute, I’m always looking for opportunities to introduce Korean tradition to younger generations or other cultures. An interesting event I wanted to share here on this blog is an “Into the royal wardrobe” event hosted at the Korean Royal Costume Research Institute three years ago(I can’t believe it’s already been three years!) as part of a private organization support business plan in 2014 by the Hanbok Advancement Center.
Since the Korean Royal Costume Institute is a non-profit organization, I had to register an application to the Korean Ministry of Culture during February and March of 2014 to get funding for the event to happen in October. After presenting my plan to them, we were able to start planning for the event.
The institute is located in the ‘Insa-dong’ area, where Korean han-bok makers are spread into in every corner, keeping tradition alive for the whole of Seoul. The famous Kyeong-bok Palace is also close by, where you can see tourists or native Koreans wearing han-bok to enter the palace for free.
It’s important to share the work that I’ve accumulated over the years, especially when it’s linked with tradition. When foreigners and tourists showed up to experience Chosun dynasty kings’ and queens’ han-bok(Korean traditional clothing), they were intrigued at the beauty of Korean royal clothing and the intricacy of each of the outfits we showed them.
The costumes weren’t just regular han-bok but royal outfits, so everyone who participated in the event got the chance to relive what Chosun dynasty kings and queens would have done every day- try on layers and layers of royal han-bok and get the heavy head garments and decorations put on too.
I remember how fun the event was- sharing one’s own culture so thoroughly, taking people who are accustomed to different lives and different cultures through each step of becoming a Korean traditional king or queen is not an opportunity that is easy to have. The beauty of han-bok is unique and preserving it is an important job to do.
The event was featured several times in Korean press, too: