Wear a hanbok in this Seoul district and pay less for food
JONGNO, a district in Seoul most popular among tourists, wants to help fuel the comeback of the hanbok. It is mobilising more than 100 eateries in its zone to offer discounts to customers who turn up in the traditional Korean attire which few wear nowadays.
According to the Jongno District Office, the project's organiser, the hanbok has been creeping back in recent years.
It can be seen from the higher number of people who come to take pictures with its tourist attractions dressed in it, the Asia-e business news website reported.
The vibrant-coloured outfit is now a common sight in the district's Samcheong and Insa neighbourhoods, the ancient Bukchon Hanok Village and the historic Gyeongbok Palace, Asia-e pointed out.
"I hope this (discount) project would contribute to bringing (the) hanbok more into our daily lives, as well as help to boost the local economy," the Yonhap news agency quoted Kim Young Jong, the head of the office, as saying.
His office reckoned that each year more than 40 million people, including local Koreans and foreigners, come to Jongno - which is about the size of five Sentosas.
Early this month, Mr Kim and his men started surveying eateries to find suitable participants in the project.
They focused on the shops in and around Insa, Bukchon, the Sejong Centre and along Daehangno - which is better known as College Street for being a university hub.
Eateries are chosen according to the standards of their service, including the tastes of their food and cleanliness of their premises.
The project will kick off next month and the office hopes the chosen eateries would lead the way for future participants, turning the experiment into a sustainable business model, reported Asia-e.
Under the project, hanbok-garbed patrons will enjoy 10 per cent discount at the eateries designated "Hanbok Love in Action".
They enjoy an additional 10 per cent off for certain dishes.
Incentivised to put on the hanbok, people would gradually come to appreciate its beauty and feel less self-conscious about wearing it in public, said the Jongno office.
The project also urges pictures be uploaded to social media to highlight the elegance of the costume and to promote the eateries.
The hanbok was once considered a sartorial nuisance, as putting on the ensemble can be tedious and uncomfortable, The Korea Herald pointed out.
However, the hanbok is now seen as a delightful and aesthetic fashion item, especially among the young, who are always keen to present a unique and cool image on social media.
Also, non-governmental organisations, like the Voluntary Agency Network of Korea, which is fanatical about reviving the hanbok, have helped to spur the trend.
There is even a government-run Hanbok Advancement Centre, whose role is to adapt the costume - which was discarded by Koreans some 100 years ago - to modern practical needs.
"A new wardrobe culture has emerged among the young as they re-discover and appreciate the value of the hanbok," researcher Kim Jung Soo from the centre told Yonhap.