The first thing that pops into one’s head, when they think “K-Pop,” is usually the music, of course, but there’s another huge element to K-Pop fandom that many of us get equally excited for (well, at least, almost equally) and that’s the fashion. K-Pop and fashion are essential to each other—and very few groups know it better than BLACKPINK.
From the very beginning of K-Pop, idols have built a distinct fashion style and then relied on it to make them stand out in the public eye and reinforce their personal brand. And at the same time, luxury houses have relied on idols, and their immense popularity, to establish a foothold in the Asian market. Thus, quite naturally, collaborations have formed between fashion brands and various influential idols.
BLACKPINK & Collaborations
Almost all groups who reach a certain level of success end up with an array of very profitable collaborations, but as I said before, almost no one does it better than BLACKPINK. The four members of what is (arguably) the most successful girl group currently active in the industry have always relied on very strong personal images—and those would have been impossible to build without their ambassadorships for a number of influential European (particularly French), high fashion brands.
So, let’s take an in-depth look at some of the most high-profile deals and sponsorships that have kept BLACKPINK—both as a group and as individuals—busy throughout the years. Some might say, to the detriment of their music career, but that’s a conversation for another time.
The eldest member of the group, Kim Jisoo is BLACKPINK’s lead vocalist and visual—a quintessential K-Pop position that indicates the member who most fits the very strict South Korean beauty standard. Her image has always been classy and very feminine, which made her a perfect fit for her two massive brand deals—Dior and Cartier.
Jisoo’s partnership with Dior, especially, has been going on for quite some time now—she started in 2019 as the local ambassador for Dior Beauty and rose to the title of global ambassador of the entire brand in 2021. She has modeled a number of clothing and make-up items of the brand on magazine covers and ad campaigns, and of course, she has appeared at Dior’s runway show at Paris Fashion Week.
Her appearance at the Dior Spring/Summer 2022 show in Paris generated massive buzz, with fans pushing to get a look at her at the show’s venue in the Jardin des Tuileries and one single post on her Instagram page regarding the Fashion Week valued at almost $2 million, according to Women’s Wear Daily.
Jisoo’s latest brand deal is the one she bagged in 2022 with Cartier, becoming its ambassador and joining the Panthère de Cartier ranks with other celebrities and influencers from every corner of the world.
Jennie is almost unanimously considered the “It Girl” of K-Pop’s 3rd generation. The face of BLACKPINK, as well as one of its rappers, Jennie’s fashion influence has been massive pretty much since her debut—which meant that fashion brands were ready to go to war to work with her.
Her personal style and preference, though, made it so that only one fashion house was the perfect fit—Chanel, who was in dire need of someone to make the brand “relevant” for young people again. The South China Morning Post reports a quote from a Chanel Korea spokesperson regarding the brand’s partnership with Jennie: “Chanel aims for modernity. Young and trendy millennials are our target customers […] We are very interested in stylish K-Pop stars. Jennie’s loyalty to the brand as well as her trendy style marches well with Chanel’s image”.
Jennie is such a fan of Chanel that, even before she started working with them, she earned the nickname of “Human Chanel” by fans. The famous double Cs were often seen on her clothing and accessories.
In 2020, she also started collaborating with Gentle Monster, a South Korean Luxury eyewear brand with whom she launched her first collection—called “Gentle Home”—which included designs created with Jennie. They went on to have a second launch in 2022, which was preceded by the release of an app that shot to the number one spot on the Korean App Store, surpassing even powerhouse TikTok.
Rosé, real name Chaeyoung Roseanne Park, who is New Zealand-born and Australia-raised, is BLACKPINK’s main vocalist and one of the main reasons why their music is so tonally distinct and recognizable.
Her personal image is that of the indie musician, flowery and fun on one side, and capable of gritty emotions on the other—an archetype that is immediately symbolized by her hair, which she has kept blonde for pretty much the entirety of BLACKPINK’s career.
As Australian fashion magazine Russh said, that makes her the “picture-perfect Saint Laurent girl. ‘Edgy and ethereal at the same time, she is both the girl next door and the girl at the rock show.’ Her partnership with YSL was established in 2020—after they had been ambassador-less for almost sixty years.
Through Saint Laurent, Rosé was also the first Korean idol—together with rapper CL—to attend the Met Gala in New York in 2021. She also styled the brand’s clothes on a number of magazine covers in both South Korea and Australia.
In 2021 Rosé also became a global ambassador for Tiffany & Co. In an interview with Elle Singapore, she said that she “has always loved wearing Tiffany jewelry. To be part of an iconic brand that has been part of my life for a long time makes it that much more special to me.”
The maknae of the group, as well as its powerhouse rapper, Lisa—iconic bangs and all—is the most-followed BLACKPINK girl on Instagram and arguably the most popular internationally, with massive fanbases all over Asia—her native Thailand and China especially— and the rest of the world.
Her image, both onstage and off-stage, has always been more on the sporty, chic side, which made her the perfect fit for French fashion house Celine. Lisa became its global ambassador in 2020. She has appeared in a number of campaigns and on a wide array of magazine covers, as well as attended the brand’s runway shows during Paris Fashion Week. Her most recent trip to Paris for Celine happened with BTS’s Taehyung and actor Park Bogum, and it basically set Twitter on fire.
In 2020 she was also elected as one of the ambassadors for Italian jewelry brand Bulgari—she recently attended the 2022 Bulgari Gala with Anne Hathaway and Priyanka Chopra and for MAC Cosmetics, with whom she launched her own beauty line.
BLACKPINK as a group
While the collaborations that Jisoo, Jennie, Rosé, and Lisa have as individuals are undoubtedly the most high-profile ones, this list wouldn’t be complete without a look at some of the partnerships that BLACKPINK has established as a group over the years.
BLACKPINK’s group sponsorships span from cars—they were the global ambassadors for Kia Motors—to mobile devices—they promoted Samsung’s Galaxy A phone with a, by-now, infamous dance challenge with their partnership with the game PUBG Mobile, as well as avatar service ZEPETO.
Clothing brands are, of course, always present in the group’s portfolio of deals. They have been the faces of Adidas, Puma, and Reebok—as well as the first-ever regional ambassadors for Shopee, a Singapore-based e-commerce platform.
(Featured image: YG Entertainment/Samsung)
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