[INVESTIGATION] South Korea: When Western luxury courts K-pop (Part 5/5)

The conquest of luxury in Korea is largely based on the soft power promised by Hallyu. A Korean wave so popular worldwide that it has even given rise to a new function: luxury sponsorship. Some production companies, such as SG Entertainment, even specialize in this field.


The final leg of our special summer series in Korea, and in the wonderful world of K-pop.


At the end of our journey, let’s take a closer look at the intimate relationship the luxury goods industry has developed with this musical medium, once considered a niche and now a global phenomenon. We take a look back at the BlackPink turning point and its most recent iterations, including Alpha Ray, a k-pop group about to be launched by SG Entertainment.


Luxury and K-pop: a changing relationship


2023 undoubtedly saw a record number of luxury brands announce the recruitment of stars from the K-pop music movement as brand ambassadors.

Yet the phenomenon is not as sudden as it might seem.

It all began in 2003, when Emporio Armani approached the BoA group.

The beginnings were rather timid and discreet.

Eleven years later, PSY’s Gangnam Style flooded the airwaves, and it was a tidal wave. K-pop gained unprecedented visibility.

The phenomenon is big enough that the following year (2015), Chanel calls on BigBang’s GDragon to launch a pair of sneakers.

It wasn’t until 2018, however, that the same luxury House chose its brand ambassador from the Korean music scene.

A certain Jennie from the group BlackPink landed the coveted title. This act marks the beginning of the idyll between luxury and k-pop, which accelerates with the international recognition of the group BTS.


But it was BlackPink that emerged as the reigning champion, with all its members taking part in the movement.


BlackPink or the birth of luxury sponsorship


Before being a breeding ground for ambassadors for the biggest international luxury brands, BlackPink is first and foremost a girl band founded in 2016 by YG Entertainment that can boast of having sold three million albums and recorded 12.6 billion streams, including 276.3 million in France.


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Extend your K-pop adventure with an exclusive interview with Lisa, member of the BlackPink quartet and ambassador for jeweller Bvlgari.

The interview can be found in our Print magazine – which complements your reading experience on the site – and is available to our subscribers in paper or digital versions.


Front cover photo: © Tiffany & Co




Picture of Victor Gosselin
Victor Gosselin
Victor Gosselin is a journalist specializing in luxury, HR, tech, retail, and editorial consulting. A graduate of EIML Paris, he has been working in the luxury industry for 9 years. Fond of fashion, Asia, history, and long format, this ex-Welcome To The Jungle and Time To Disrupt likes to analyze the news from a sociological and cultural angle.

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