North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has been cracking down on people wearing leather coats after they became popular because he and other dignitaries have been spotted wearing them, according to sources from within the Asian hermit kingdom.
Talk about calling the fashion police.
Except in this case, the North Korean supreme leader has been using the actual police to stop people from copying his style.
According to a resident of Pyongsong, which is not far from the capital Pyongyang, the coats have been popularised by Jong-un himself, as well as other leading figures such as his sister Kim Yo-jong, who has been spotted wearing one.
The source - who, for obvious reasons, hasn’t been named - told Radio Free Asia: "Now the leather coat has become a symbol for powerful women too.
"As leather coats began to be recognised as a symbol of power, private clothing merchants asked trading company officials to import synthetic leather since September of this year.
"They copied the design of the leather coats worn by the Highest Dignity and the officials and now they are being sold in the marketplace."
The citizen said that police officers in Pyongsong recently started a crackdown on people selling the jackets, as well as demanding them from people who are wearing them.
Apparently, they’re quite literally taking the clothes of someone’s back.
The authorities have – the source claimed – described the leather coat trend as an ‘impure trend to challenge the authority of the Highest Dignity’.
Leather jackets have actually been a popular fashion choice in North Korea since the early 2000s, when they became popular from smuggled South Korean films that were in circulation.
The coats are either imported directly from China or made domestically, according to another source.
The second citizen said: "Rich entrepreneurs are able to import the fabric for the coats by placing an order with state-run trading companies who have partially resumed maritime smuggling.”
Covid-19 forced North Korea to stop trading with China in January 2020, but it would seem that ‘official smuggling’ by state-run companies started up again this April.
The radio station confirmed that they’ve seen a document from China showing that loads of leather was imported into the country last month.
Only the very wealthy can reportedly afford these products, as the average salary is around 50p per month, whereas the cost of a jacket is about £12 for a faux leather coat and £25.50 for a real one.Featured Image Credit: PA