"It's Unhealthy!" An Increase In Young K-Pop Idols Becoming Designer Brand Ambassadors Sparks A Heated Debate Online

“It’s Unhealthy!” An Increase In Young K-Pop Idols Becoming Designer Brand Ambassadors Sparks A Heated Debate Online

It is a hot topic in Korea being debated by netizens and academics!

The past few years have seen the rise of fourth-generation girl groups! Each time a group debuts, the members become a hot topic and amass fans from across the world.

Considering how young many of them are, it isn’t surprising that many of the fans are only children or teenagers themselves.

The members of IVE | @IVEStarship/Twitter
The members of NewJeans | @NewJeans_ADOR/Twitter
The members of LE SSERAFIM | @le_sserafim/Twitter

Yet, netizens have raised concerns after the rising number of young idols from fourth-generation groups who are representing designer brands and their influence on young children.

In particular, they pointed to female idols, including IVE’s Jang Wonyoung, aespa, and the members of NewJeans.

IVE’s Jang Wonyoung is an ambassador for many designer brands, including MIU MIU | @for_everyoung10/Instagram
NewJeans’ Minji represents Chanel
NewJeans’ Danielle is an ambassador for Burberry
Aespa are ambassadors for Givenchy | Marie Claire

It is a topic that has been hot on Korean forums, and one particularly gained a lot of attention after a photo was posted of the NewJeans’ members wearing designer goods of the brands they represent.

The NewJeans’ members and their designer goods | theqoo

In the comments, some netizens agreed that it was to do with the companies they represent. Others shared their wishes that younger idols didn’t represent designer brands. While some think it isn’t healthy for the idols, others explain that idols are role models to children and what they wear or own will influence their fans.

| theqoo
  • “It’s not like the brands are bending over backward for (the idols), but I think they have a connection with the label.”
  • “I just wish teens aren’t appointed as ambassadors. Children follow (celebrities) so that when celebrities started using iPhones, (the children) started asking for iPhones.”
  • “It’s one thing is (the ambassador) is a model, but I think it’s unhealthy for minors to be models for luxury items.”
  • “I think society is becoming consumed by toxic capitalism. ”

While it became a hot topic amongst netizens, it continued on Korean media outlets. It was shared that the “luxury culture” has become more common, with more teenagers purchasing and sharing videos of unboxing designer goods.

Unboxing videos posted by Korean teenagers on YouTube | Daum

Lee Eun Heea professor of consumer science at Inha University, explained why the worries of netizens are so profound. While many might not be influenced by idols, the constant promotion of young stars and designer brands will undoubtedly influence them and could lead to bad habits when they are older.

In the case of Elementary students, it isn’t like they are making money, but if they are exposed to spending a lot of money while young, there is a heightened chance that when they grow up, they will have bad spending habits.

Even if in the media teens are shown buying expensive designer goods, it is important that, when needed, that we show a frugal attitude. In the case someone, while young, has a need to show off or has a spending habit that exceeds their financial situation, there is a chance that later on they will have issues regarding their consumer habits.

— Lee Eun Hee

| Daum

While there is no guarantee that the rise in spending on designer goods from teenagers is directly correlated with idols and their brand deals, netizens continue to share their worries.