North Korea bans tight jeans, dyed hair, Western fashion

Kim Jong Un’s regime is ramping up its crackdown on “decadent” Western fashion trends in North Korea, including dyed hair, tight jeans and piercings, according to a report.

Radio Free Asia says North Korea’s Socialist Patriot Youth League is now directing its repressive efforts at women in their 20s and 30s who wear long hair down to their waist, dye their locks brown, or don clothing emblazoned with large foreign letters.

An unnamed resident of the city of Hamhung told the US government-sponsored nonprofit news outlet that North Korea’s regime is also going after women who wear curve-hugging pants.

Those who are spotted wearing styles showing “capitalist flair” outdoors are forced to wait on the side of the road until a youth patrol is finished searching the area for other violators.

All the offenders are then taken to the Youth League’s office, where they must confess their crimes in writing, according to the report. They can only be released to their homes if someone brings them more appropriate clothing.

Kim Jong Un.
Kim Jong Un has taken aim at styles exhibiting “capitalist flair.”
The Asahi Shimbun via Getty Images
North Korea’s Socialist Patriot Youth League is directing its repressive efforts at women in their 20s and 30s with waist-length or dyed brown hair.
Getty Images/Mint Images RF
Skinny jeans.
North Korea’s regime is going after women who wear curve-hugging pants.
Getty Images

RFA’s anonymous source said the stepped-up crusade against Western trends was announced last month during a nationwide educational session, at which Youth League officials said that wearing clothes and hair like people in capitalist countries was in violation of North Korea’s socialist practices.

North Korea first announced a crackdown on skinny jeans, piercings and certain hairstyles, including mullets, a year ago after Kim slammed foreign style and speech as “dangerous poisons,” according to a BBC report at the time.

The Youth League has since redoubled its efforts to weed out people imitating foreign fashions and customs.

Patrols in the city of Chongjin have been targeting a local marketplace known as a popular hangout spot for young people, according to another source who spoke to RFA on condition of anonymity.

If youths there are caught doing anything forbidden, their employers will be notified of their violation.

“They are then subject to criticism, and in the most severe cases, the violator’s name, home address and workplace will be revealed publicly on the Third Broadcast,” the source told RFA, referring to government-controlled loudspeakers placed throughout the country to spread propaganda.

But the source added that despite the punishments, North Koreans “do not stop trying to look and dress like people in foreign films and TV.”