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Make Break Remix

Fiona Bae's book on Korean culture's exuberant coming-of-age

Published by Thames & Hudson 303 pages, €21.35

Date:

14th December 2022

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The rise of K-style

You may have heard of, or indeed be a fan of, K-Style. It’s been around for a while, this exuberant flowering, a sort of coming-of-age within Korean culture that differentiated it from all the international influences. Putting a start point on it is hard, but has been building increasingly powerfully over perhaps the past 30 years, emerging with democracy and the maturing of postwar South Korean society as a whole. This evolution, writes author/editor Fiona Bae, saw Korea move from exporting cars to exporting culture. She goes on to say: “Ultimately K-style is a bold and brave attitude pioneered by young Koreans remixing everything they find to be cool with zero inhibition … K-style celebrates new-found confidence, pride and independence.” That quote encapsulates the slightly breathless hype that the book brings to the subject but which is perhaps to be expected. The subject is rich in hyperbole, that is its essence. Somehow that makes it so very much of its time, these times. Make Break Remix could be a useful manifesto for a culture ministry in some other small nation wanting to punch above its weight. Although don’t forget to have the economic muscle that South Korea built up first.

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The rise of K-style

You may have heard of, or indeed be a fan of, K-Style. It’s been around for a while, this exuberant flowering, a sort of coming-of-age within Korean culture that differentiated it from all the international influences. Putting a start point on it is hard, but has been building increasingly powerfully over perhaps the past 30 years, emerging with democracy and the maturing of postwar South Korean society as a whole. This evolution, writes author/editor Fiona Bae, saw Korea move from exporting cars to exporting culture. She goes on to say: “Ultimately K-style is a bold and brave attitude pioneered by young Koreans remixing everything they find to be cool with zero inhibition … K-style celebrates new-found confidence, pride and independence.” That quote encapsulates the slightly breathless hype that the book brings to the subject but which is perhaps to be expected. The subject is rich in hyperbole, that is its essence. Somehow that makes it so very much of its time, these times. Make Break Remix could be a useful manifesto for a culture ministry in some other small nation wanting to punch above its weight. Although don’t forget to have the economic muscle that South Korea built up first.

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