Wednesday, August 18, 2010


Kim Jong Il's trademark attire is instantly recognizable. Some see it as sending a signal that Kim is not overly concerned with luxury or appearance. The leader of the people cares more about the people than about looking good.

Some, most notably Brian Myers (here and more recently in his new book), takes it a step further by arguing that Kim's trademark suit is an exercise in gender-bending, making Kim both the Fatherly and Motherly leader of his people.

What, then, are we to make of the allegation that there is more luxury and comfort to Kim's duds than meets the eye?
"In the early 1990s, I was ordered to buy fabric for the dear leader and went to France to buy 60 yards of high-quality, cashmere and silk fabric produced by Scabal of London," he said. "I paid US$300 per yard, which came to $18,000."

About four yards of fabric are needed to make a suit, so the price of the cloth alone for Kim's suit amounted to $1,200."
One should, of course, take this story with several grains of salt--anonymous defector, Chosun Ilbo etc. etc. Still, if true, this puts a somewhat different spin on things, not to mention making those concerned with fashion cringe just a bit: what a waste of fabric!

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