K-dramas and fashion go hand-in-hand, and for anyone doubting that, the characters'designer wardrobes are enough to clue us in. But in some cases, fashion isn't just something to beautify a character—it's a living, breathing setting itself.
For instance, Korean series aren't strangers to delving into the nitty gritty of the supposedly glitzy business of fashion. From fashion magazines à la The Devil Wears Prada to the behind-the-scenes of budding designers, here are 10 K-dramas that peek into the lives of the fashion industry's key characters.
LIST: 10 K-Dramas About the Fashion Industry
The late aughts drama takes a Seoulite spin onTheDevil Wears Prada, as Lee Seo-jung (Lee Ji Ah) finds a job at a fashion magazine, where she encounters her terror boss Editor Park, a figure feared by her employees. As Seo Jung attempts to climb up the company ladder, she soon grapples that the fashion industry isn't the glitz and glamour that it seems.
Starring: Kim Hye Soo, Lee Ji Ah, Ryu Si Won
2.Baby Faced Beauty (2011)
Now in her mid-30s, So-young (Jang Na Ra) has few prospects with her lack of a college degree. After getting fired from her longtime job, she takes the place of her younger sister, who rejects an offer to work at a fashion design company called The Style. Thanks to her young appearance, So-young is now en route to becoming a fashion designer, but a potential romance soon sparks with her two suitors—the company president Seung-il (Ryu Jin) and marketing director Jin-wook (Daniel Choi).
Starring: Jang Na Ra, Daniel Choi, Ryu Jin, Kim Min Seo
An aspiring fashion designer named Han Se Kyung (Moon Geun Young) believes that hard work can take her anywhere, but her world seems to shatter day by day. When she finally lands a job as a designer at a ritzy fashion company, she gets the shock of her life when she finds out what her real work entails—acting as a personal assistant to the president's wife, her high school classmate and rival.
Starring: Moon Geun Young, Park Si Hoo, So Yi Hyun, Kim Ji Seok
4.Fashion King (2012)
Where to watch: Viki
Kang Young-gul (Yoo Ah-in) is the rags-to-riches story. With virtually nothing in his pockets, he starts a fashion business as a vendor in a Seoul market. Later on, he finds inspiration with Ga-young (Shin Se Kyung), an orphan who happens to be an up-and-coming fashion designer with a natural knack for clothes-making. Soon, they get entangled with chaebol Jung Jae-hyuk (Lee Je-hoon), who has set his sights on Ga-young, despite her now having fallen for Young-gul.
Starring: Yoo Ah In, Shin Se Kyung, Kwon Yuri, Lee Je Hoon
5.Be Arrogant (2014)
Where to watch: Viki
After making ends meets in the fast fashion mecca of South Korea, Dongdaemun, business partners Hong Hara (Yura) and Do Ra Hee (Shin So Yool) decide to open up an online shopping mall. With a cutthroat industry packed with competitors, the two women deal with the toils and troubles of making a small fashion business work.
Starring: Shin So Yul, Yura, Yoo Min Ky
6.She Was Pretty (2015)
Where to watch: Netflix, iQIYI, Viu, Viki, WeTV
Growing up, Sung-joon (Park Seo Joon) was deemed by society as unattractive, with only pretty Hye-Jin (Hwang Jung Eum) willing to befriend him. Years after, they reunite, only for Hye-Rin to find a reversal of their fortunes, with Sung-joon having developed into a handsome young man, while she's grappling with her low self-esteem. Despite Hye-Jin avoiding him, fate forces them to meet again, when Hye-Rin, about to start an internship at a fashion magazine, finds out he's its chief editor.
Starring: Park Seo Joon, Hwang Jung Eum, Go Joon Hee, Choi Si Won
Where to watch: Viu, Viki
After discovering her husband's affair, middle-aged housewife Min Jae-hee (Ha Jae Sook) finds a mysterious package with a magic perfume which turns her into a younger and more radiant version of herself. With her new look, she starts working as a model under the name Min Ye-rin, and eventually meets Seo Yi-do (Shin Sung Rok), a successful fashion designer with a severe case of allergies.
Starring: Shin Sung Rok, Jae Sook Ha, Ko Won Hee, Chae Ye Ryun, Kim Min Kyu
8.Record of Youth (2020)
Where to watch: Netflix
The handsome Sa Hye-jun (Park Bo Gum) is the model to watch out for, but all he really wants is to fulfill his dream to become an actor. Meanwhile, Hye-jun's self-proclaimed fan Ahn Jeong-ha (Park So Dam) is a makeup artist with a positive attitude, despite being on the receiving end of criticism from her beauty salon boss. Capping off the trio is Won Hae-hyo (Byeon Woo Seok), a model-turned-actor who happens to be Hye-jun's best friend. Together, they navigate the contemporary fashion industry, while trying to reach their seemingly far-fetched—but entirely possible—dreams.
Starring: Park Bo Gum, Park So Dam, Byeon Woo Seok, Kwon Soo Hyun
9.Now We Are Breaking Up(2021)
Where to watch: Viu
In a dreamlike series of love and breakups, Yeong-eun (Song Hye Kyo) is the leader of a design team for a fashion company, a so-called realist who's just looking for stability. On the other side is Yoo Jae-guk (Jang Ki Yong), a wealthy freelance fashion photographer who soon falls for the cold-hearted Yeong-eun.
Starring: Song Hye Kyo, Jang Ki Yong, Choi Hee Seo, Kim Joo Hun, Park Hyo Joo
Where to watch: Netflix
Freelance photo editor Ji Woo-min (Choi Min Ho) is the fashion scene's resident behind-the-scenes dreamboat, but he isn't exactly pleased to be there. On the flip side is Pyo Ji-eun (Chae so Bin), a luxury brand's PR manager who's always dreamt to work in the fashion industry. The two could soon find love, all the while dealing with their demanding jobs and romantic dilemmas.
Starring: Choi Min Ho, Chae Soo Bin, Lee Sang Woon, Park hee Jung
This story originally appeared on Preview.ph.
* Minor edits have been made by the Candymag.com editors.