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Flour power: Hipsters warm to retro gimmicks

Retailers roll out themed goods as established brands aim to refresh identities

Gompyo jacket (Daehan Flour)
Gompyo jacket (Daehan Flour)


An unusual brand produced the fashion hit of the winter in Korea last season.

White padded jackets with the Gompyo logo splashed across the chest sold out almost instantly when they were released in November. Logos have been a fashion mainstay for decades, but the difference here is that Gompyo is a brand of flour.

The jacket, a limited edition item released by Daehan Flour’s 68-year-old household brand Gompyo in collaboration with e-commerce platform 4XR, retailed online at 145,000 won ($120), and won fans with its quirky presentation of an everyday household brand as a trendy designer label.

Gompyo jacket (Daehan Flour)
Gompyo jacket (Daehan Flour)


Established brands like Gompyo have recently been maximizing their traditional brand power through collaborations with other industry sectors, hoping for the “unexpected” factor to appeal to the younger generation and their curiosity.

Since the Gompyo padded jacket, the company has been rolling out more Gompyo-themed goods in collaboration with other retailers, such as Gompyo toothpaste with Aekyung Industries and detergents with LG Household and Health Care.

“The retro trend triggers the curiosity of younger consumers, who find novelty interesting, and are more open-minded to things that stand out,” said Park Jae-jung, an official at Daehan Flour.

The marketing trend targeting young consumers is changing the work culture at the old companies, which have been duller to change, industry watchers said.

Mc Col slippers (Ilhwa)
Mc Col slippers (Ilhwa)

Last month, Ilhwa, a food and pharmaceuticals company, unveiled limited edition slippers bearing the colorful logo of Mc Col, its flagship soda, to be offered as a perk for those buying six-bottle packages of 1.5-liter Mc Col.

Mc Col is the country’s first soda pop made from barley. It was launched in 1982 by Ilhwa, which started as a pharmaceuticals firm in 1971.

“Millennials have risen as the core consumer group with their spreading power, and many companies are working to come up with the marketing strategies to draw their attention,” an Ilhwa official said.

“We hope the Mc Col limited slippers also gain popularity among young consumers with their unique design triggering the hipster sentiment.”

Chamisul backpack (HiteJinro)
Chamisul backpack (HiteJinro)

HiteJinro, a liquor maker, also rolled out backpacks designed to resemble a carton of its flagship soju Chamisul in collaboration with fashion e-commerce platform Musinsa. It came complete with a key ring of a toad, the Jinro emblem.

Encouraged by its popularity, HiteJinro has since made limited releases of backpacks, T-shirts and phone cases in January, this time in collaboration with casual fashion brand Covernat.

By Jo He-rim (herim@heraldcorp.com)
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