Demand for Squid Game Halloween costume sparks boom for South Korean garment industry

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Squid Game Halloween costumes have prompted a boom for the South Korean garment industry.

The "Made in Korea" green tracksuits and pink jumpsuits worn by characters in Netflix's global hit have seen a surge in demand as Halloween approaches at the end of the month.

Workers stitch tracksuits inspired by Netflix series "Squid Game" at a clothing factory in Seoul, South Korea

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Workers stitch tracksuits inspired by the Netflix series

The dystopia show's costumes have proved to be a bright spot for the South Korea's garment industry which has struggled during the COVID-19 pandemic.

A 500sqm factory in the Seongbuk district of Seoul has been humming this week as green and pink thread are worked through sewing machines in a race to meet orders.

Kim jin-ja, the 54-year-old factory owner, said: "October is usually a slow month for the sewing industry, but thanks to Squid Game and Halloween, we are scrambling to stitch.

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"We are now sewing 6,000 teal-green tracksuits for toddlers and children."

Kim said her annual sales of 1.5bn won (£925,000) plummeted to a third of what she used to make after the COVID-19 pandemic hit.

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Most of her orders came from Japan but travel restrictions forced her to shut down in August and September.

A woman stitches green material together

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A woman stitches green material together

Stacks of green tracksuits at the factory

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Stacks of green tracksuits at the factory

She now hopes orders will last past Halloween and sees better chances of renewed exports with "Made in Korea" labels.

The South Korean garment industry had been in decline even before the pandemic with higher wage levels making it difficult to compete with China, Vietnam or Indonesia.

Seoul Fashion Textile Sewing Association chairman Oh Byung-yeol said that of the 2,144 manufacturing businesses in Seongbuk, 70% are clothing companies.

Squid Game becomes Netflix's most popular series launch

Squid Game becomes Netflix's most popular series launch

"The two years of COVID have been a tough time for domestic fashion corporations," said Seongbuk Mayor Lee Seung-ro.

"But Squid Game, which has become a global sensation, has also made tracksuits popular domestically, leading to a flood of orders."

A child's Squid Game tracksuit was selling for 30,000 won (£18.50) in Namdaemun Market, the country's largest traditional market where stock ranges from kitchenware to jewellery.

Costumes hang on a rail in the factory

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Costumes hang on a rail in the factory in Seoul

The factories are racing to meet demand

Image:
The factories are racing to meet demand

A garment vendor in the market said he and others did not have enough tracksuits to meet soaring demand.

Squid Game has been watched by 142 million households since its 17 September debut, according to Netflix.

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