There’s no doubt that idols look great in leather, but do they feel great when performing in leather outfits? Two K-Pop costume designers who specialize in sexy leather accessories revealed the truth.
Together, Jo Min Jae and Jo Yeon Suk make up DEM PROJECT—a costume design brand specializing in leather and jeweled accessories with a sexy twist. Over the past few years, the pair have worked with numerous K-Pop artists to create alluring stage outfits, including MONSTA X, WJSN, ASTRO, NU’EST, and more.
In a new “Comment Defenders” interview with AYO on YouTube, one idol was worried that DEM PROJECT’s accessories could be uncomfortable for stars.
Leather items must be so uncomfortable for idols.
— AYO viewer
Since leather isn’t as breathable as fabrics like cotton, it makes sense that performing in it might feel stifling. However, Jo Yeon Suk says that’s not the case when it comes to K-Pop costumes. “Leather clothing could make you sweaty,” she explained, “But our items are well ventilated and it’s not hot.”
As a follow-up, the AYO production team asked whether idols can actually get hurt from performing in such accessories. After all, most of us have experienced the pain of squashed toes and blisters that come with wearing leather shoes for the first time. It stands to reason that wearing stiff leather on your body—particularly when boy groups wear leather harnesses over a bare chest—could possibly cause very painful rubbing.
On top of that, DEM PROJECT also creates jeweled accessories like body chains, which could have sharp metal or gemstone elements that scratch the skin. But Jo Min Jae says that if an idol was to bleed while performing, the DEM PROJECT team would be in big trouble. “We’d have to leave Korea… We might have to go to space,” he joked to point out how serious it would be if their costumes hurt idols.
As such, Jo Min Jae says safety is the primary concern for costume designers. He went on to explain that the team grinds down any sharp and uncomfortable parts of their costumes that could scratch idols when dancing.
On top of that, there’s another safety concern they need to keep in mind: wardrobe malfunctions. Leather isn’t particularly stretchy and neither is jewelry; costume designers would likely face severe penalties if an outfit was to rip on stage.
To combat this, Jo Min Jae says costume designers stitch accessories to outfits if the idols will be performing stiff choreography. This ensures there won’t be any accidents on stage. “The convenience for dancing and safety is the first thing,” says the DEM PROJECT designer.