17. May 2021
Kpop Harness Trend: Origins & Adaptations
The Kpop harness trend is one that is constantly recycled and never really feels out of place. It is a popular performance accessory that aids style cohesion for the different outfits Kpop group members wear.
Unlike the practical use that activities like bungee jumping or rock climbing attribute to a harness, Kpop uses it merely for its aesthetics and connotations. Although it can mean many things to different audiences, most fans seem to agree that it is not quite a cute or juvenile accessory. In fact, it is quite often used in more active or even sexier concepts.
But where exactly did this trend originate? Who first translated the functional piece into statement fashion? And how prominent is harness fashion in Kpop?
These are all questions that we aim to answer with today’s post. To better understand how Kpop trends originate and are able to stand the test of time, we have put together a short history lesson.
And if you would like to give the trend a try and incorporate it into a wearable look, stay tuned until the end. We have put together a little outfit inspiration section for you!
A brief history of the harness in fashion
Despite the harness being a useful tool in many active pursuits or just to ensure safety, much like many mundane objects, it has served as inspiration for the great fashion houses. It was of course inspired by fetishwear. But like stilettos or tight-fitting lace garments, the harness broke the confinement of its original label.
We’ve seen big stars like Timothée Chalamet and Michael B. Jordan sport the fashion piece in recent fashion editorials on red carpets. This is partially thanks to big house names like Virgil Abloh and Shayne Oliver.
But it was Vivienne Westwood, the godmother of punk fashion, who first redefined the risqué undertone of the harness in the 70s. Westwood utilized the shaping properties of the harness, and how the leather material just fits seamlessly with the steampunk and goth fashion movement that had only begun to surge back then.
Harnesses became a symbol of irreverence and recklessness while still maintaining a certain intriguing appeal. They were brought back to menswear runways in the 2000s, as a contrasting feature in sharp tailored suits and incorporated into otherwise ordinary pieces.
The harness continued to be reimagined a few times throughout the decade. But it was only in 2012 that Kpop stylists made the harness trend their own, keeping it a popular highlight to this day.
How Kpop reimagined and relaunched the harness trend
Leather, ribbon, and strap harnesses are a great way to coordinate different outfits of members in the same Kpop group. And we have seen so many variations over the years. From intricate torso pieces to waist and thigh garters and some reminiscent of military/police belts.
The beauty of Kpop fashion is that there are not many limitations. The 2nd generation idols were true music and style pioneers. They were able to experiment with sounds and trends that were maybe too ahead of their time, as nowadays we see them not only pop up on stage but in daily wear too.
One of the names that stand out is BIG BANG, with G-Dragon deserving some recognition of his own. His personal style is described as ‘eclectic punk’, which is essentially a more colorful spin on punk rock fashion. Much like his music, his style is very authentic to his own persona. It is no coincidence that he is considered by many the ‘fashion king of Kpop’. Besides, he has made a name of his own in the industry by launching the clothing brand peaceminusone.
Even the Korean nation’s girl group Girl’s Generation experimented with the harness trend. In 2015, we saw these girls don up leather and metal-plated harnesses for the music video and live performances of ‘You Think’. This style choice was an obvious continuation of the cool yet mature image that was first displayed in ‘Catch Me If You Can’.
Girl Generation’s more confident style was very much loved by many fans. However, the group didn’t get to showcase it so often since the groundbreaking ‘Run Devil Run’ era.
Over time, the body harness gained a connotation of maturity and toughness in Kpop. It is very widely used in dark and girl crush concepts. Though admittedly, sometimes the fashion does not exactly mash up with the essence of the song or comeback.
A few trends have become staples in Kpop stages, such as schoolboy/girl looks, colorful sportswear, and the ultra-feminine aesthetic. The Kpop harness trend is yet another go-to, as it is sure to drive the fans wild. So much so that it is a common topic of discussion in fan blogs and even makes stars go viral for it.
Where have we seen the Kpop harness trend
First up, we have got Wanna One’s Ong Seongwoo. Following the 2018 MAMA (Mnet Asian Music Awards), the star went viral as ‘the boy in the harness’.
Blackpink‘s Lisa and Jennie also made headlines during the ‘Kill This Love’ area. The two sported garter/thigh harness combinations. While Jennie’s was obviously inspired by video game character Lara Croft, Lisa’s had more of a military feel, featuring pockets and attachable straps.
Another interesting variation of the body harness in Kpop was the one worn by Wonho (formerly of Monsta X). His piece attached to a leather sleeve that matched his pants. Although the white turtleneck seems like an odd fit, it definitely softens up the overall ‘bad boy’ imagery.
More recently, Sunmi chose a red vinyl harness bodysuit for her comeback ‘TAIL’. The accessory was once again reimagined and helped convey the sultry essence of the storytelling in this song.
And, of course, we could not forget about BTS. They have worn harnesses for many of their comebacks, but it is the custom-made featured in ‘Fake Love’ that gained the most praise from fans and fashion lovers. The white harness worn by V was one of the most interesting ones, which even inspired people to attempt a DIY version for themselves.
Body Harness Styling Tips
Not every Kpop stage look is easily adapted to daily wear. Still, we have a few ideas for how to wear Kpop harnesses without making an outfit look too out of place.
- Over A White Top
This one works especially well if the harness is black. Any button-up or long-sleeved white shirt will do. Because the top is a very muted and traditional piece, the harness can help enhance your natural body shape and give the overall look an edginess sit didn’t have before.
- Black On Black Dress Shirt
Another really cool option is to wear your harness over an oversized black t-shirt or dress shirt. It works especially great if it is a corset or belted harness. You can pair it with some platform laced-up leather boots or with sneakers, whichever you prefer.
- Thigh Garter Belt Harness
If you have a belt-type harness that connects to a garter, it works especially best with mini skirts and shorts. You can also wear it over skinny jeans when it gets a bit chillier.
We can only hope that you enjoyed learning about the history and integration of harness fashion in Kpop. Let us know which looks are your favorites and if you would give the harness trend a try in the comments!
Happy reads and happy shopping!