North Korea has now banned leather coats that copy the style of its leader Kim Jong Un in the latest crackdown of expression in the East Asian country.
Kim popularized the leather jacket in 2019, which was first worn by wealthy elites who could afford the expensive item. People in North Korea loved the look and started copying Kim. A military parade in North Korea also showcased high-ranking officials donning leather jackets, sparking further interest in the material.
Fake leather was soon imported so the jacket could be worn by people with less money, which frustrated Kim. Fashion police have now mobilized to confiscate the artificial leather jackets in markets and from "pleather" wearers.
Authorities in North Korea felt that imitation is not the sincerest form of flattery, ruling that Kim should have a monopoly on his own style of fashion.
According to The Hill, one source stated, "When these leather coats became popular, the law enforcement authorities went after the companies that made the coats that look too much like the Highest Dignity's."
Another source corroborated the other source's statement, saying:
"The police respond to the complaints, saying that wearing clothes designed to look like the Highest Dignity's is an 'impure trend to challenge the authority of the Highest Dignity.' They instructed the public not to wear leather coats, because it is part of the party's directive to decide who can wear them."
North Korea has also made national headlines for reportedly executing infected patients in order to stop the spread of COVID-19 within the country.