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#wearagain : In South Korea, a sustainability activist promotes clothes recycling

In collaboration with Sejeong Kim of #The Korea Times

Ju-yeon Jung is an activist in sustainable development, unlike many in South Korea. She recently launched #WearAgain: second-hand fashion culture, a whole new genre of clothing recycling awareness and information program that will be a landmark in the Land of the Morning Calm.

#wearagain | Web magazine | Atelier Insadong

Seoul’s 1st recycled clothing competition

Committed to this cause for several years via her blog and Instagram account, Ju-Yeon wanted, this year, to go even further in her awareness campaign and carry out new actions with the public. Both by developing concrete actions on the ground around the recycling of clothes, but also by raising awareness among Koreans more about the disastrous ecological and human consequences of fast-fashion for our planet. She thus had the idea to organize this fall, the 1st fashion competition for second-hand clothing in Seoul, as well as to program events organized around evenings of solidarity exchanges of second-hand clothing.

#wearagain | Web magazine | Atelier Insadong

Because according to her: “Wearing second-hand clothes is not sufficiently anchored in South Korean mentalities and habits. However, my experiences abroad, as well as the worsening environmental and ecological problems caused by the textile and fashion industry, have gradually made me aware of the consequences and the impact of continual purchasing. new clothes for our planet. This is what convinced me to do something really concrete and useful to educate South Koreans on this serious problem ”.

#wearagain | Web magazine | Atelier Insadong

Inform, raise awareness

the South Koreans

about ecological consequences

related to fast-fashion.

In its daily information and prevention work, particularly through social networks, Ju-Yeon does not hesitate to rely on the many international studies which show that the fashion industry represents more than 10% of emissions of greenhouse gas and nearly 20% of river pollution.

In her eyes, the Koreans do not take sufficient measure of the urgency, to integrate the recycling of clothes into their lifestyle.
“There is an urgent need to rethink our fashion consumption habits, to include more second-hand clothes, and more broadly, to wear them as long as possible after purchasing them.”

Garment recycling: Ju-Yeon's French discovery

It was in France, where Ju-Yeon lived for almost eight years, that she first became aware of the phenomenon and the growing interest of the French in recycling clothes. She recalls: “At first, I was very surprised to see how the purchase of second-hand clothes was already well established in French habits, unlike Korea. It is thanks to this that I was able, little by little, to familiarize myself with the idea of buying second-hand clothes, then to be finally totally won over by this approach, which then turned into a real militant commitment. ”

Looking into the matter, she is amazed to discover that only 30% of the clothing manufactured in the world ends up being worn and that the remaining 70% ends up being thrown away, buried or cremated. And not to mention that, on average, people only wear them seven times before getting rid of them. With this in mind, she decides to make clothing recycling the great cause that she now wants to defend in her country, which is known to be a big consumer of fast-fashion.

En Corée du Sud, il devient plus qu'urgent de repenser nos habitudes de consommation en matière de mode!

Ju-Yeon Jung@wearagaincampaign
#wearagain | Web magazine | Atelier Insadong

In South Korea:
to change the mentalities
regarding second-hand clothes

While living in France, thanks to the awareness of the ecological consequences that they entail, Ju-Yeon saw that it was quite possible to change her consumption habits, it turns out to be much more difficult in South Korea, until today …

So she decided to investigate and learn more about the reasons for such disaffection for the second hand on the part of the South Koreans. She thus had the idea to directly question the Koreans on the subject: “Thanks to a large survey #WearAgain, which we recently conducted in partnership with the city of Seoul, I learned a lot about the reasons for which people don’t like second-hand clothes in Korea. It was very informative and revealing about the current mentalities and beliefs of my country on this subject ”.

Old habits are tough

Indeed, this survey enabled her to better identify the main obstacles to the purchase of second-hand clothes, revealing finally quite disparate reasons. Most often motivated both by economic aspects, such as easy access to new clothes in Korea, by reference to cultural norms dictated, or, among other things, by the belief that the reuse of old clothes that have been worn by others, could be a source of bad luck.

#wearagain | Web magazine | Atelier Insadong

#WearAgain: awareness campaigns in Seoul neighborhoods to schools

Ju-Yeon is running their #WearAgain program, actively organizing different types of clothing recycling awareness campaigns. From the district of the South Korean capital where she lives, through schools like the one her son attends, she knows that she must reach as wide an audience as possible, adults and children alike. Like the fall season, when the city is invaded by many outdoor markets and other outdoor festivals.

More than ever, Ju-Yeon believes in the imperative need to move and change the mentalities of her fellow citizens regarding their frenzied fashion consumption habits.. Her personal approach, initially private, has now turned into a large-scale sustainable development project, up to the challenges they face and which have now earned her the support of Seoul City Hall.

Ju-yeon’s tips about the Seoul second hand market: Beautiful Store, Market in U, flea market…

For more information on the #WearAgain campaign (in Korean), the website or the blog. Instagram:

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