Whether you’re a certified girl group stan or just an enthusiast of all things Kpop, you’ve most likely heard the term girl crush concept’… But what exactly qualifies as a Kpop girl crush concept? And amongst Kpop royalty, who is known to absolutely slay it?

Today, we’ll be educating you about what defines a Kpop girl crush concept, how it’s evolved over the years, and which groups and/or artists are better known for it. Plus, we’ll be sharing some tips and outfits that will surely inspire you to give the girl crush look a go.

Curious yet? Then let’s get started!

  1. What’s a Kpop girl crush concept?
  2. Artist/groups known for the girl crush concept
  3. Get the girl crush look!
  4. Kpop Girl Crush F. A. Q.
@mamamoo_official

What’s a Kpop girl crush concept?

In short, a Kpop girl crush concept is marked by themes of confidence and female empowerment. It can feature more mature and edgy fashion, yes, but it seems to be more about how the message of a particular song resonates with the female audience. Still, it may be interpreted in a number of ways…

Some people like to throw words like ‘sexy’ or ‘badass’ around when defining the concept. They might not be wrong, but that’s a very limited way to put it… In reality, a girl crush concept in Kpop is better described as a confident and empowering statement. The fact that these girls perhaps look extra attractive is only the natural aftermath of a more mature portrayal.

Now, it’s important to point out that there’s a distinction between a sexy and a girl crush concept, and that’s the targeted audience. The first caters mostly to guys (think Girl’s Day, AOA, or Stellar), whilst the second resonates better with female fans. So it should come as no surprise that groups like BLACKPINK or EVERGLOW have gained momentum in the Kpop scene.

Essentially, instead of marketing the artists in a way that would inspire affection or attachment, they’re portrayed in a more aspirational, role model-like type of way.

Artist/groups known for the girl crush concept

Over the years, there have been some idols who stood out within the theme. Some are considered the quintessential girl crushes, others proved to fit the aesthetic through unlikely comebacks. 

Let’s go over all the girls who, for one reason or other, have made it onto this list:

1. 2NE1

@chaelincl

One can’t possibly talk about ‘girl crush’ without mentioning 2NE1 – after all, they might be the concept’s pioneers. These girls paved the way for some of our favorite idols today. In fact, they debuted in an era that only knew cute or sexy girl concepts.

Their edgy style and bold lyrics have granted them the much-deserved legendary status.

2. Hyuna

@hyunah_aa

Hyuna is the perfect example of someone who blurs the lines of the girl crush concept. After all, she’s beloved by men and women alike. 

Her debut in Wonder Girls made it seem like she was set to go on a much different path. However, it was 4Minute that propelled the charismatic, charming person we’ve gotten so used to. And the OG bad girl still reinvents herself with every comeback! 

Hyuna truly is the gift that keeps on giving…

3. MAMAMOO

@mamamoo_official

Although they don’t fit the stereotypical imagery, MAMAMOO definitely bears the essence of girl crush. Be it because of Hwasa, whom we all wish we could be; Moonbyul, who entices us all; Solar, who lights us up inside; or Wheein, to whom we can all relate to; there is definitely something about them that draws (particularly) the girls in.

When it comes to role models, I think every person can find one in these four unbelievable women. And for this reason, they’ve made it onto the list.

4. (G)I-DLE Soyeon

@official_g_i_dle

Who would have guessed that charming Produce 101 Soyeon would grow to become one of the fiercest women in the Kpop industry. A singer, rapper, composer, and producer – there’s nothing this girl can’t do. And she always does it with style, too! Even though she’s our youngest entry on the list, she’s a force to be reckoned with.

From her remarkable participation in Unpretty Rapstar, to securing the runner-up position in Queendom (as a rookie artist, nonetheless) and producing for the biggest e-game in the world, there’s no denying that Soyeon is someone to be on the lookout for.

5. EVERGLOW

@official_everglow

The EVERGLOW girls debuted with a big boom! Or should I say Bon Bon… And their definition of girl crush is quite different from other entries on this list. Although it’s true that not all of them properly fit the ‘badass, fierce’ mold, it wouldn’t be right to place them in the ‘cute’ category either.

They’ve stuck with the concept since the very beginning and every comeback seems to top the previous one. Their empowering lyrics and one-of-a-kind drops also add to what sets them apart. But they’re still a ‘girl crush’ group – and for all the right reasons.

6. BLACKPINK

@blackpinkofficial

Lastly (but definitely not least), we’ve got the girl group that popularized the concept and made it cross boundaries – BLACKPINK! These girls need no introduction – their following count, streaming records, and stage presence do all the talking!

Just as their name is meant to reflect both their sweet and edgy natures, the group’s identity is undeniably the embodiment of the girl crush concept in Kpop. Which girl doesn’t want to be pretty and savage, right?

Honorable Mentions

Although these Kpop groups aren’t exactly known for the girl crush image, they’ve nailed the concept in some of their comebacks. They’re, at the very least, worth an honorable mention.

Red Velvet [Peekaboo, Bad Boy, Psycho]

@redvelvet.smtown

TWICE [Like Ooh-Aah, Fancy, I Can’t Stop Me]

@twicetagram

CLC [Hobgoblin, Black Dress, No]

@cube_clc_official

Apink [I’m so sick, Eung Eung, Dumhdurum]

@official.apink2011

Get the girl crush look!

We’ve gathered a few of our favorite girl crush outfits that would be easily recreated and worn off the stage, too. Get inspired and give this empowering concept a try!

@_mariahwasa

Hwasa’s look only goes to show that a sporty crop top and a fun pair of jeans go a long way.

@official_g_i_dle

Sometimes, all a bad girl needs to shine is a little black dress.

@_imyour_joy

The girl crush starter pack? That’s easy! A crop top, denim, fishnets, and a pair of hoops.

@_zziwooo0

It’s said that KARD’s Jiwoo is amongst the most crushed-on girls in Kpop. It’s easy to see why…

@hyunah_aa

And whoever said florals aren’t badass, clearly never met Hyuna!

Kpop Girl Crush F. A. Q.

What is the difference between girl crush and teen crush concept in Kpop?

Whereas a girl crush concept may feature more mature and bold imagery and lyricism, teen crush concepts seem to cater more to younger audiences. A good example of the teen crush concept would be the schoolgirl/schoolboy aesthetic. It is typically a more jovial concept, which caters to male and female audiences alike and is perhaps less ‘rebellious’. Girl crush, by definition, is marketed mostly for girls and women.

Who invented the girl crush concept in Kpop?

This is an arguable topic. Nevertheless, it is safe to say that the expression first started to be used following 2NE1’s debut. The positive response from female audiences might have then prompted concept changes in other 2nd generation Kpop girl groups and girl idols.

Which is the best girl crush Kpop girl group?

Some of the most popular and publicly acclaimed girl groups who are known for the ‘girl crush concept’ include 2NE1, Mamamoo, Blackpink, Red Velvet, and most recently, TWICE.

When was the prime time of the Kpop girl crush concept look and is it still today?

While it seems to have originated with 2nd generation Kpop groups, the girl crush concept is absolutely timeless. Recent releases feature the theme and, considering how popular it is among fans, there doesn’t seem to be an expiration date on it.

Hopefully, you’ve understood what the ‘girl crush concept’ is and who’s doing it best. Let us know in the comments who your favorite is and which look you’ll be trying to recreate.

Also, if you’d like to know which Korean fashion trends are popular this season or are looking to get inspiration for a Kpop concert, check out these two articles:

Until next time!