MAMAMOO's Hwasa, known for her bold fashion choices and unconventional style, has once again found herself at the center of a controversy. This time, it's over her choice of attire during a recent appearance on JTBC's "Knowing Bros."
On the show's 400th special episode, Hwasa performed her latest track, "I Love My Body." However, it wasn't her performance that caught the attention of viewers but her outfit. The singer chose to wear a school uniform, a signature concept of the long-time running program. But unlike the traditional school uniforms worn by other K-pop idols on the show, Hwasa's version was decidedly different. She tied her blouse below her chest, transforming it into a bra top, and paired it with a pleated miniskirt. To complete the look, she wore grey knee stockings, Mary Jane high heels, and a ponytail adorned with pink cotton candy-like hair accessories.
The outfit quickly became a hot topic among netizens, with many accusing Hwasa of sexualizing the school uniform. Comments ranged from "She always does excessive things" to concerns about the potential impact of such a portrayal on young students.
However, international fans came to Hwasa's defense, suggesting that her outfit was a homage to pop icon Britney Spears' iconic "Baby One More Time" school uniform look from 1999. They pointed out the similarities between the two outfits and highlighted how Spears' look has been emulated by many artists over the years.
But this defense was met with counterarguments from netizens who pointed out that Spears was only 16 at the time of her video's release. They argued that emulating such a look now, especially by an adult, was still "inappropriate."
This isn't the first time Hwasa has faced controversy over her fashion choices. She has previously been embroiled in an obscenity controversy over her R-19 stage performances. The situation escalated when a parent organization sued her. As of September 10, Hwasa has been summoned by the Seongdong Police Station in Seoul to discuss the intent and background of her performances.
The debate over Hwasa's school uniform look underscores the broader discussions about fashion, cultural norms, and the fine line between homage and appropriation. As artists continue to push boundaries and challenge societal norms, such controversies are likely to persist. The question remains: where should the line be drawn, and who gets to decide?