I was always intrigued by the K-town style, the hair, the make-up, the clothes; it didn’t make sense to me. I was always brought up to dress in an appropriate manner. My mom used to yell at me for wearing slippers, due to the exposure of my feet. I never understood why and how some kids were able to walk out of their house, looking the way they did. My knowledge of the Korean culture was very narrow and oblivious. However, my first experience in Koreatown was shocking! I was encountering a tough intimidating appearance that was completely different from my knowledge of other Koreans. Nevertheless, I have also seen a gradual change of style in Koreatown. This gangster tough image is not prevalent in Koreatown anymore, and has changed to a more chic and trendy look. I wanted to see what kind of reactions I would receive if I brought this character back into Koreatown. I thought that this was my one and only chance to re-capture what I had seen, and on what I might have missed out on.
The heavy make-up and the casual sporty look is something I would never consider wearing. Although my interpretation of the “K-towner” look is weak, it was the best that I could do.
Some would not have recognized an extreme change, but my uncomfortableness and embarrassment was very overwhelming. It was genuinely hard for me to step out of the house looking the way that I did. I felt as though everyone was staring, and criticizing me. I had never experience such an emotional breakdown over my appearance.
During my day as a “K-towner” I decided to go visit my friend Grace. She had lived through and experience the “K-town” style, and have been a friend of mine since high school. She was impressed with my portrayal, but thought that I needed to take it another step further.
AH! After Grace re-vamped my look, I was speechless, stunned, dumbfounded, and incredibly disorientated. It took me a while to step out of her house. I didn’t know what I was complaining about before, I would have loved to go back to my original look.
REFLECTION: This whole experience has been quite an adventure. Through this brief transformation I have learned how dress truly influences and interprets one’s personality and character. I have also learned that although breaking out of our comfort zone is daunting and traumatic, an outsider or stranger wouldn’t notice any different. I was surprised to see how much I cared about what other people thought of me. These people were strangers, people I probably wouldn’t see again, but their impression of me was so valuable. The majority of the reactions that I had received were scared and distant. I had never experienced that before, I was always branded as being innocent and approachable. This look was extremely hard to portray, but I’m glad I went through with it. This experience is something that I will remember for the rest of my life. Overall, it was a lot of fun.