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December 20, 2013


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"The great Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il loved vinalon and were pleased to see the cascading fertilizers"

After learning these important facts (at 01.35), I couldn't help do some research on "vinalon". Apparently, vinalon is also known as "vinylon" and "Juche fibre". It is an indigenous replacement for nylon, and has been a mainstay of the North Korean clothing industry, ever since it began to produced in the 1950s. Since it is created entirely from locally available materials, it has been touted as the shining example of the success of Juche self-reliance, and is now known as "the national fibre of North Korea".

Unfortunately, here are certain drawbacks, such as its being "stiff, uncomfortable, shiny, prone to shrinking, and difficult to dye"; not to mention hideously expensive to produce. The South therefore opted for ordinary nylon. Some Northern officials quietly agreed, and tried to highlight the drawbacks of vinalon, but they would challenge the brilliance of Juche science at their own peril: "When "Dr. Yeo Kyung-koo ... emphasized the necessity of building a nylon factory ... he was subjected to ideological struggle by Kim Il-sung and finally killed himself in 1977."

So this is why North Korean fashion to this day is based mostly on vinalon. Presumably, it also explains the Kim family's habit of appearing in those weird, starched overalls and jackets. And while it may be uncomfortable to dress in, it can of course be weaponized.

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