Tracing Liberty to a Pair of Denims

On arrival, defectors devote up to 3 months staying investigated by South Korea’s Nationwide Intelligence Provider whilst dwelling at an isolated constructing in the mountains. If they are accredited, they move to a settlement assistance heart termed Hanawon, where defectors are taught the basics of banking, technological know-how and browsing.

Element of this schooling typically consists of a subject vacation to a office retail outlet, where Hanawon pupils are offered purchasing revenue. Even though North Korea reportedly has a handful of section outlets stocked with Western manufacturers for the 1 %, the Hanawon trip is a 1st for most defectors.

Kang Nara, who shed all her garments while crossing the Yalu River in 2014, claimed she remembered selecting out a K-Swiss padded vest lined with raccoon fur, an item her teacher instructed her was classy for kids her age. Ms. Yoon described the mall she attended, Shinsegae (which means “new world”), as “an amazing, alternate globe.” She recalled purchasing a pair of small cotton pajamas with frilled trim she experienced found on the Korean drama “Stairway to Heaven.”

When they left Hanawon, all 3 of the girls located that everyday South Korean daily life rarely resembled what they experienced seen on tv when they lived in North Korea. Jihyun Kang, who defected in 2009, mentioned it was the initial time she genuinely imagined about the fees of dressing well and observed each day South Korean fashion disappointing.

“The far more I looked at apparel, the more I understood high-quality,” she stated. “I needed far more attractive matters, but I could not afford to pay for them. In Korean dramas, everyone wears vibrant, pricey outfits and variations generally, but in real lifestyle, it wasn’t like that at all.”

Kang Nara stated she could not recognize why people with income dressed so plainly and that she experienced a tricky time swallowing some tendencies her initial calendar year. “I was horrified by all those reduced-hanging, Justin Bieber-fashion trousers,” she said.