“Korean fashion” as a distinctive and affordable clothing style began to spread throughout East Asia around the mid-2000s. While the emergence of Korean fashion is inevitably associated with the nearly co-terminous rise of the Korean Wave, consumers and clothing business operators have primarily constructed its meanings in the Korean fashion marketplace. This article is a study of the translocal activities of small business owners from Taiwan who make regular buying trips to Seoul and other East Asian garment markets. It presents ethnographic narratives of the ways these business operators have sourced, tapped, appropriated, and negotiated with “Korean fashion.” I argue that the meaning of Korean fashion is formed through a series of transnational, inter-Asian practices. As the business operators have seized new opportunities, they also voiced ambivalence because they view their actions as possibly undermining the industrial and cultural sustainability of fashion in Taiwan. Such reflections offer insights into the hegemonic making of Korea’s soft power in the region and indicate a concern with the longterm trade-offs set off by fashion trade.
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