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Be it BTS' Jimin and V or SHINee's Taemin in 'Advice', K-pop idols defy fashion gender norms

Kpop idols don't get as much attention as their Western counterparts when it comes to gender-defying, androgynous looks in fashion. Here is a look at the recent path-breakers
A screenshot of Taemin in 'Advice' video, a picture of Taehyung from 'Boy With Luv' performance, and concept photos of Jimin for MAP OF THE SOUL: 7 album (Twitter/BigHit)
A screenshot of Taemin in 'Advice' video, a picture of Taehyung from 'Boy With Luv' performance, and concept photos of Jimin for MAP OF THE SOUL: 7 album (Twitter/BigHit)

The West celebrates Harry Styles for breaking gender conformity within fashion. His brilliant styling for some of the popular magazine covers has impressed many. But he also received some backlash. Who could forget his gender non-conforming choice for Vogue magazine? However, Styles' gender-neutral choice is a far more recent phenomenon compared to say BTS, or G-Dragon, and other Kpop idols who have chosen to sport clothes that break gender stereotypes pretty early in their careers. 

In fact, BTS even worked on a song that was 'coded' as gender-neutral rather than a typical heterosexual love song. Korean idols choosing to break gender stereotypes within fashion has in many ways helped many kids feel comfortable in wearing clothes that they feel comfortable in. Here are the stars who did it best from the most recent feature of SHINee's Taemin in his sole MV 'Advice'. 

SHINee's Taemin 

Taemin recently released his single called 'Advice' in which the star made some impressive fashion choices that also included sports bra, which was accentuated further by his choreography. He was also seen wearing fishnet stockings. However, this is not surprising considering he chose to sport clothes that break gender stereotypes as early as 2017 with 'Move'.

He has also broken gender stereotypes in terms of choreography. Speaking about this to Billboard, he said, "My aim was to find a middle ground, mixing both masculine and feminine movements into the choreography together.”

He also added, "It’s not too masculine or overly muscular and I wanted to take advantage of that. I thought I could show the soft lines like the dance movements of a ballet dancer by adding subtlety to my choreography. I wanted to break the idea of what male performers are supposed to show, what performances girl groups are supposed to show. I really wanted to break those labels, showing that dance is a form of art.” 


It is difficult to pinpoint one artiste's influence when it comes to this band as V, Jimin, Jungkook, RM, J-hope, Suga, and Jin have all made androgynous fashion choices. They have all spoken up about breaking gender stereotypes, be it through fashion or beyond it. For instance, for a performance of the popular number 'Boy With Luv', V sported a red Fendi dress and his performance was enjoyed by many, especially the way he held up his dress. 


However, this was not the only time V has sported clothes that would have otherwise been seen as 'feminine'. He has sported a lace undershirt, a jacket from Chanel’s Fall-Winter 2019 collection for women, and even a pearl-embellished cardigan, again from Chanel's line for women. Also, who can forget the pink feather boa that he once wore for 'Boy with Luv'. 


But we can't forget Jimin, J-Hope, Jungkook, RN, Jin, and Suga. Jimin has been seen in many outfits that break stereotypes but one memorable image is when he and Jungkook had sported a black corset for 'MAP OF THE SOUL: 7' album concept pictures.

J-hope sported a satin blouse, half-skirt, and lace socks for 'LOVE YOURSELF: Answer' concept pictures. The band went all out when they shot for a cover for popular magazine Singles when all of them chose to wear clothes that were typically seen as women's clothing like fishnets stockings, skirts, corsets, chokers, and stockings.

Even their accessories are out of the box choices, be it Jimin's earrings, Suga's sneakers from Gucci's women collection to J-Hope's bags. Jungkook was asked what great style is during an interview with Vanity Fair and he answered, "Wearing anything you like, regardless of gender.”


G-Dragon has been popular among designers and has been a fixture at Chanel shows. He was even considered to be a favorite of late Karl Lagerfeld. Some of the clothes that he has rocked include a women’s tweed jacket and furry trapper hat. He has also used accessories such as pearl and chain necklace, signature Chanel camellia brooch among others. This was in 2019 before the star enlisted in the army. 

NU’EST’s Ren

NU'EST's Ren broke barriers in 2016 when he decided to be a part of an advertisement campaign for a Chinese shopping brand that was gender-neutral. He modeled skirts and dresses, sported long hair. There was severe backlash at the time, and many even questioned his sexuality among other things. However, Ren is blunt and direct when it comes to the clothes that he wears and who he is. He had posted on Twitter "Am I a boy or a girl? I am a man. Fashion makes a person and its impression."


He was also chosen to play the lead role in Asia's production of 'Everybody's Talking about Jaime' in which he played the role of a wannabe drag queen. 


2AM's Jo Kwon

2AM's Jo Kwon is another idol who has defied gender stereotypes in many ways. Jo Kwon in a recent interview also confessed that they identify as genderless or gender-neutral and said "Being genderless is my weapon. In the past, I was afraid of having a neutral image. If people said I looked like a woman, I would pretend it wasn’t true. But now, I’m fine with it. I’m okay with people saying I look like Choi Ji Woo or Tae Yeon."


Jo Kwon also continued, "I have come to accept who I am. I have a weapon that will help me keep going for a long time, ahead of an era without gender.” 

Jo Kwon is represented by the same agency as that of BTS -- BigHit Entertainment. Speaking of how BigHit Entertainment's CEO reacted to his choice, they revealed, "Bang Shi Hyuk (Big Hit CEO) asked me if I wanted to opt for a full commercial route for my promotion, or if I wanted to do the concept I wanted to do. I told him that I wanted to do what I want, like Lady Gaga.”

Jo Kwon then added, “Bang Si Hyuk then said ‘Jo Kwon, listen to your hyung (brother). If you try to throw a curveball (drag concept) into a still lake (cookie-cutter K-Pop image), there will still be an impact but it will require a long time. But still, he bought me my first pair of high heels.