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Fuzzy, bright and classic coats are hot this winter: After dark long padded jackets dominated the streets last year, outerwear gets colorful and cozy in time for the cold

Dec 11,2018
This year, padded jackets can be found in different colors and styles - from bright yellow to light pink and silver. [DISCOVERY EXPEDITION]
The so-called “teddy bear coats” have spread like wildfire in Korea. According to stylist Han Hye-yeon, they are a fashion must-have this year.[MAX MARA, ILGAN SPORTS]
Mustang jackets continue to be a hit item this year. [ILGAN SPORTS]
As temperatures dip below freezing across the country, people have started to pull out their long padded jackets from last year. But this year’s winter is shaping up to look quite different from last year - those tired of wearing their so-called “long padding,” last year’s ubiquitous fashion item, are turning towards other fashionable replacements: colorful padded jackets, fluffy “teddy bear” coats and the all-time favorite ‘mustang coats.’

Padded jackets

Last year, long padded jackets were a must-have during winter. The craze over the jackets surged again in August when online shopping mall Gmarket saw sales of long padded jackets jump by 286 percent.

Outdoor clothing company Black Yak sold 50,000 padded jackets in October alone, and sportswear company Head Korea made around 1.4 billion won ($124,452) after their 30-minute TV ad started airing in early November.

However, the designs and colors of this year’s padded jackets are more diverse than last year.

“This year, [padded jackets] have become shorter, colorful and more stylish,” Kang Ju-yeon, head of the women’s team at online retail store W Concept, told the JoongAng Ilbo, an affiliate of the Korea JoongAng Daily.

Popular padded jacket colors include vivid red, yellow and blue, and even loud colors like pink and fluorescent yellow. Some jackets make a statement as they are coated with gloss or glitter, while others are made with metallic fabric and are patterned with checks and aurora designs.

“Sales of padded jackets have soared this year - two to four times greater than the previous year,” said Kim Gyeong-hui, head of the fashion and beauty team at shopping website Gmarket. “Most of these sales are from short, colored padded jackets. Those who already have long, black padded jackets are looking for jackets of different sizes and colors this year.”

Although short puffers first appeared during the ‘90s, their popularity on the runways resurged last year, especially after fashion brand Balenciaga presented their short padded puffers in a variety of vivid colors as part of their 2017 F/W collection. Since then, other fashion brands have followed suit, including Moncler, Maison Margiela and Herno. Zara also offered its own red oversized short puffer jacket made of vinyl this fall.

The style became popular among celebrities like Bella Hadid and Kendall Jenner, who were spotted wearing the short and stylish padded jackets in the streets.

In Korea, outwear company The North Face has brought back its Nuptse collection: puffers that were once hugely popular among middle and high school students in the early 2010s. Sportswear brand Discovery Expedition, which sold around 600,000 long padded jackets last year, has also come out with shorter puffers - some in fluorescent yellow and some made with metallic fabrics.

One other characteristic of this year’s puffer collections is that many of them are specially designed for women’s wear. Unlike last year’s long and unisex black padded jackets, this year’s jackets are characterized by feminine flairs like bright colors and flattering fits.

“We have prepared 56 percent more puffers specially for women compared to last year,” said Lee Jong-hoon, the executive director of Discovery Expedition in Korea.

Pastel pink, specifically, is the new black this year. Sportswear brands like K2, New Balance and The North Face all have pastel pink puffers in their ads this season. Many of the clothes in display windows across Seoul are also in various shades of pastel pink. This year’s Agnes puffers from brand K2, for instance, also features fur hoods in pink or blue.

Teddy bear coats

According to American e-commerce company eBay’s “2018 Shopping Report,” sales of faux fur (fake fur) coats have quadrupled in the United States between September and October and are among the most-sold items of the year.

The coats that have become popular worldwide are the so-called “teddy bear coats,” named after their teddy bear-like look, and are currently in demand all over in Korea. They are characterized by their thick and warm look.

Italian fashion brand Max Mara was one of the earliest brands to feature the look as part of their collections. At the brand’s 2013 Fall show in Milan, models were seen walking down the runway with brown, oversized fluffy coats called the Max Mara Carrara Coats. Fashion magazine Vogue referred them as “camel-hair overcoats” which looked like “closely cropped shearling.” Popular celebrities were then spotted wearing similar coats the following year, including Kim Kardashian, Carine Roitfeld, Lily Collins and Alexa Chung.

The coats have spread like wildfire in Korea this year, especially after big name celebrities like actors Han Ye-seul, Lee Yu-ri and singer Sunmi began uploading photos of themselves wearing thick teddy bear coats on social media.

The most common teddy bear coats come in colors like brown, beige and camel. But they are now being produced in a variety of colors including pink, white, orange and red, and in different sizes too. The textured fabric has also been used in different outwear styles like coats, jackets, bombers and even hoodies.

The style has spread as the fur-free movement continues to rise through the fashion industry, as more brands refrain from using once-popular mink, rabbit, raccoon and fox furs. Fashion brands have instead started using eco-friendly replacements like polyester and shearling. Some furs are thick and curly, while others are thin, straight and soft.

According to stylist Han Hye-yeon, teddy bear coats will be the vital fashion statement of this winter.

“Teddy bear coats are light because they use fake fur and are very cute and warm,” she said during an appearance on SBS radio program “Cultwo Show” on Dec. 7. “They will be the popular look this winter.”

“I feel fancier than when I wore my long padded jackets,” says student Kim Yi-seon, who recently bought a white teddy bear coat. “It’s fluffy, stylish and warm.”

Mustang coats

Shearling coats are made with sheepskin. The outer part of the coat is a leather pelt, while the inside is covered in sheep fur. Due to the shearling’s heavy weight, they are another warm option during the cold winter months.

In Korea, the coats are commonly referred to as “mustang” and have been a hit item over the years. Although short mustangs have been the all-time best sellers for years, their sales had slowly decreased during the past two years due to the surging popularity of long padded jackets.

This year, the jacket’s popularity is resurging. Fashion brands are launching different colors and styles of mustangs. The jacket typically comes in black, beige and brown, but this season’s standout colors include khaki, toned down pink and grey. Lengths can also vary from short to long.

According to fashion retailer Shinsegae International, women’s wear brand Voice of Voices (VOV) had sold 50 percent of their mustang supplies within a month since the item’s launch this year, twice as much from last year. It is a remarkable record considering the fact that each mustang costs more than one million won. The brand is set to make an additional 1,100 mustangs by this year.

It also made new orders of five mustang styles this year, including mink mustangs, zip-up mustangs and leather belted mustangs.

Fashion company Sisley has also launched more models of their signature mustangs. They will be increasing their supplies by 20 percent and their prices by 5 percent by the end of this year.

BY YOON KYUNG-HEE, YEO YE-RIM [yeo.yerim@joongang.co.kr]