J-Hope:When, in the summer of 2022, the world learned that BTS would be going on a break, debates raged on Twitter about what would be next for each of its seven members. For its part, Vogue suggested that J-Hope – also known as Hobi – might well set his sights on conquering the fashion industry. “He sports the most experimental fits in BTS, combining everything from streetwear to luxury brands,” journalist Taylor Glasby wrote back in June. “His influence has expanded so much that Etsy has a bank of creators and sellers whose wares are listed under ‘Hobicore’, so an organic step for him would be a collaboration with a rising brand that complements his eclectic and forward-thinking tastes.”
Cut to the menswear collections in Paris this month, and Hobi is proving he’s well on his way to infiltrating the upper echelons of the industry. For his first outing on 19 January, the “More” musician popped up at Louis Vuitton in an abstract suede patchwork look to see guest designer Colm Dillane, stylist Ibrahim Kamara and film director Michel Gondry’s collaboration for the house – causing a frenzy in the process. (A variation of the print on J-Hope’s jacket and trousers later cropped up on the LV runway – making him one of the first to wear it.) As a group, BTS has a longstanding relationship with Louis Vuitton, even wearing the brand to the Grammys in 2022, but Hobi’s solo appearance cemented his status as a high fashion poster boy in his own right.
The following day, he joined bandmate Jimin – Dior’s newest global ambassador – on the front row to admire Kim Jones’s The Waste Land-inspired offering, pairing a CD Silver Choker with a grey pleated look. And on Saturday? He bundled up in a shearling-lined jacket by Hermès to step into the French maison’s “cave of wonders” for autumn/winter 2023. If Blackpink’s Jennie, Lisa, Jisoo and Rosé have become regulars at Paris Fashion Week, it’s only fair that the menswear collections should have some K-pop stardust, too – and who better to lead the charge than Hobi?