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Requirements as a model in the Korean fashion industry

What are the requirements for a model in the South Korean fashion industry? Are you ready to navigate the specifics that make or break a modeling career in this vibrant market? If you’ve been following our journey through the fascinating world of fashion modeling in Korea, you already know some basics from our articles on:

How to become a model in South Korea with no experience and;

How to find a job as a model in South Korea?

Now, let’s dive deeper into what truly sets you apart in the competitive South Korean fashion scene. From understanding the critical physical and aesthetic prerequisites to mastering the art of portfolio creation tailored for K-fashion, this article is your next step toward modeling success in South Korea. Are you ready to explore the requirements of a model in the Korean fashion industry?

South Korea has established itself as a force to be reckoned with in the fashion industry, captivating fashion enthusiasts around the globe with its captivating fusion of traditional aesthetics and contemporary trends. The industry has experienced impressive growth, thanks in part to the global popularity of K-pop and Korean dramas, which have showcased Korean fashion on international platforms.

Designers in Korea are fearlessly pushing the boundaries of style, experimenting with bold colors, textures, and silhouettes. They are redefining industry norms, from streetwear to haute couture, with their innovative approach. This innovation is fueled by substantial governmental investments in fashion education and infrastructure, fostering the growth of a new wave of talented individuals.

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With the ever-evolving landscape of Korean fashion, models are presented with exciting chances to collaborate with avant-garde designs and stay ahead of the swiftly shifting trends. The industry’s dedication to impeccable craftsmanship and attention to detail requires models to embody a level of professionalism and adaptability that places them at the forefront of the global fashion scene.

Understanding the Korean modeling scene

So, if you were hoping to rock that edgy purple pixie cut, you may want to think again. And before you start counting down the days until your 30th birthday, keep in mind that age restrictions are also a factor in the Korean fashion industry. Youth is celebrated and revered, with most models starting their careers at a young age.

To begin, here is a rundown of what the local modeling scene is like. As Tatiana Kurnosova said: In South Korea, the two primary forms of modeling are:

  • Standard modeling is the conventional form of modeling with which we are all acquainted. It functions similarly to modeling businesses in other nations.
  • Local modeling pertains to models who are situated in Korea, often for an extended duration, facilitated by specific visa categories, such as the F4 visa for individuals of Korean ethnicity or visas for spouses of South Korean nationals. Depending on their visa status, models have the option to work with one or more agencies or choose to work independently as freelancers.

Runway models are expected to be at least 5 feet 8 inches tall, barefoot. Male editorial models may be any height from 5’11” to 6’3″, while female models normally fall between 5’9″ and 6″.

Model requirements in the Korean fashion industry

Have you ever dreamed of strutting down the runways of Seoul, showcasing the latest trends in the Korean fashion industry? Before you pack your bags and book that flight, you should familiarize yourself with the model requirements in this ultra-competitive industry.

Models with a fresh, innocent look are in great demand here, as they are across Asia. Additionally, agencies value a style that is adaptable to both Western and Asian aesthetic preferences.

Height (cm)Weight (kg)Waist (cm)Height (ft in)Weight (lb)Waist (in)
15040.055.54’11”88.022.0
15241.656.25’0″91.522.0
15443.257.05’0.5″95.022.5
15644.857.75’1.5″99.022.5
15846.458.55’2″102.523.0
16048.059.25’3″106.023.5
16249.659.95’3.5″109.523.5
16451.260.75’4.5″113.024.0
16652.861.45’5.5″116.524.0
16854.462.25’6″120.024.5
17056.056.05’7″123.524.5
Korean body measurements. Inform us how to improve this if you think this is an issue.

In the world of Korean fashion, physical attributes are key. Height, weight, and body measurements are meticulously scrutinized to meet the industry’s standards of perfection. Forget about embracing your curves or standing out from the crowd; here, conformity is the name of the game. But it’s not just about how you measure up on the scale. Skin complexion and hair type are also taken into consideration, with a preference for porcelain-like skin and sleek, shiny locks.

It is essential to have a solid grasp of industry standards, including ideal body measurements and the expectations for various types of modeling. For example, in the professional modeling scene, women are often expected to have a height between 175 cm and 180 cm, while men typically range from 185 cm to 195 cm.

Contrasting beauty ideals: Korea vs. the West

It’s clear that when it comes to beauty standards, Korean and Western cultures each have their unique ideals that are shaped by their societal values and historical influences. Get ready for an in-depth analysis of how beauty standards vary between these two fascinating cultures.

In order to achieve success, it is crucial to have a comprehensive understanding of the fashion and modeling industry, including market specifics, agency requirements, and preferred body measurements. Understanding various markets and what agencies are looking for enables models to focus their applications strategically.

As an illustration, height preferences can differ by region. In Western markets, women’s heights around 178-179 cm may be favored. In addition, although traditional body measurements such as “90-60-90 cm” are commonly referenced, the specific requirements can be more adaptable and differ depending on the market.

Moreover, the industry is evolving to be more inclusive in terms of age and body types, showcasing a growing focus on diversity. It’s important to keep up with the latest updates and be flexible, as industry norms and standards can change quickly.

What is the ideal Korean model look

In Korean culture, people tend to appreciate certain physical features like a small, v-shaped face, fair skin, symmetrical eyebrows, a slim body, and double eyelids. Overall, these features give them a relaxed and carefree feel.

Types of Looks Favored in Korea

The Korean modelling industry has a pronounced inclination towards certain facial attributes that conform to both conventional and developing beauty ideals prevalent across Asia.

  • Baby Faces

Young and innocent faces are incredibly popular in the Asian market.

  • Mixed models

There is a high demand for models with a diverse heritage, including European-Asian, Black-Asian, or Latina-Asian backgrounds. These models have a wide range of features that make them adaptable to different styles and appealing to a broad market.

  • Unique and adorable looks

The appreciation is in the blend of distinctive, unconventional physical attributes and a young visage. This combination often exhibits a captivating and otherworldly visual quality that is very attractive to consumers.

These choices show how Korean beauty standards affect the modeling business. These are contemporary tendencies, yet the industry is developing and embracing diversity. This move allows models who don’t meet these criteria to succeed in Korea and abroad.

Desirable facial characteristics in Korea

  • Models exhibiting characteristics such as red hair and freckles are often seen as enchanting and ethereal.
  • Petite face features resembling dolls are highly favored, exemplifying a fundamental element of Korean beauty ideals.
  • Curly hair and V-shaped features are also considered attractive since they provide distinct characteristics that contribute to a model’s appearance.
  • Traditional beauty values emphasize youth and purity, often favoring individuals with large, expressive eyes and light skin.

How Western standards differ

Western beauty standards for models have long been criticized for promoting a narrow and unrealistic idea of beauty. The industry tends to favor tall, thin models with symmetrical facial features and clear skin. It also prefers long hair, typically in a lighter shade and straight texture.

  • There is now a higher level of tolerance for different skin tones, and having a tan is typically seen as a sign of good health and energy, which is in direct contrast to the Korean predilection for lighter skin.
  • Facial characteristics such as plump lips, prominent cheekbones, and wider facial proportions are often seen as appealing. The focus on the contour of the eyelids or the size of the eyes is reduced.
  • Body shape: The concept of the ‘perfect’ body shape has changed throughout time. Presently, there is a focus on being physically active and having well-defined muscles, with curvier bodies being more appreciated compared to Korean culture.
  • Fashion and grooming: Western beauty standards include a wide range of styles, including casual and extravagant appearances. Makeup may range from subtle to dramatically altering, showcasing individual flair.

A short recap: Korean model requirements in the fashion industry

Getting a grasp of the requirements of a model in the Korean fashion industry means dealing with high standards that are based on particular beauty ideals. Although there is still a strong emphasis on conformity and youthfulness, there are indications of encouraging progress.

The industry is slowly embracing a more inclusive mindset. To thrive in this ever-changing industry, aspiring models, particularly those from different countries, need to find a harmonious blend between classic standards and a sharp awareness of emerging fashion trends. By staying up-to-date, being open to change, and appreciating their individual qualities, models can leave a lasting impression on the captivating world of Korean fashion.

FAQs: Essential requirements for Korean fashion modeling

What is the height requirement for models in Korea?

Height standards for models in South Korea are often stringent. Typically, female models are required to have a minimum height of 5 feet 8 inches (173 cm), while male models should fall between 5 feet 11 inches (180 cm) and 6 feet 2 inches (188 cm). The standards may exhibit modest variations based on the modeling category, either commercial or high fashion.

Do you have to fit the Korean beauty standards to audition?

Traditional Korean beauty standards place a strong emphasis on the following features:

  • Oval face shape
  • Straight eyebrows
  • Double eyelids
  • Aegyo-sal
  • Large eyes
  • Straight nose
  • Heart-shaped lips
  • Small mouth
  • Plump lip
  • V-line Jaw
  • Innocent and elegant
  • Fair and clear skin
  • 50 kg or less
  • 160 to 175 cm tall
Does Korea accept foreign models?

Of course! South Korea welcomes foreign models into its fashion industry, showcasing its wide-reaching cultural impact. Foreign models have the chance to explore various opportunities in runway shows, commercials, and print ads. However, they need to fulfill certain agency requirements, such as height and body measurements. In some cases, they may also need to align with Korean beauty standards. Foreign models may face challenges such as language barriers, cultural differences, and the process of obtaining work visas, which modeling agencies often facilitate.

How tall are Korean models?

The average height of Korean female models is 5’7″.


Source: Ling website, Izabela Ludwiczak thesis, Quora community, Tatiana Kurnosova

Image by pressfoto on Freepik.

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