Countdown to KCON 2013 | Music Post: Your Crash Course of this Year’s Acts!

In just a matter of days, KCON makes its way back the City of Angels to celebrate all things hallyu.  This year’s two-day convention will be filled with workshops and panels and culminate in a star-studded concert and filming of the popular Korean music show, M Countdown.

Excited yet?  We know we are!

But just in case you aren’t yet, us here at Audrey wanted to give you taste of what to expect for this year’s show through our musical go-to guide of some of this year’s featured artists!

 

EXO
The newest boy group to come out of mega-label SM Entertainment (and an Audrey favorite!), EXO is a 12-member Korean-Chinese band made up of two subgroups, EXO-K and EXO-M, who promote in both Korea and China. Though they just debuted last year, they have made a name for themselves in the K-Pop industry, already winning an Mnet Asian Music Award (MAMA) for “Best New Asian Act.”

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For their latest comeback, the two sub-groups have reunited and have gained notice with their cool, R&B-inspired single “Growl.”

“MAMA”

Other notables: “XOXO (Korean Ver.),” “Don’t Go

 

G-DRAGON
Starting his training at YG Entertainment at the tender age of 13, G-Dragon is known as a K-Pop multi-hyphenate as the leader, a rapper and producer of mega-popular boy group Big Bang.  Alongside projects with Big Bang as well as a duo project with fellow Big Bang rapper T.O.P., GD launched his solo career in 2009 with the release of his first album.  After his hugely successful “One of a Kind” world tour this past year, he has recently announced the release of his third solo record, “Coup D’Etat,” which will have a feature from hip-hop heavyweight, Missy Elliott.

“Heartbreaker”

Other notables: “Missing You (ft. Kim Yuna of Jaurim),” “Light It Up (ft. Tablo & Dok2)

 

TEEN TOP
Debuting in 2010 with TOP Media (the media company founded by Andy of K-Pop legends, Shinhwa), Teen Top broke onto the scene with their first single, “Clap.”  With a string of hits under their belt, including “Supa Love” and “Crazy,” the young teen idols will be releasing their new album, “Class,” in the coming weeks.

“Supa Luv”

Other notables: “Clap,” “Be Ma Girl

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F(X)
With a distinct electronic pop sound, f(x) has become known as one of the hottest girl groups in K-Pop today. With songs like “NU ABO,” “Hot Summer,” and “Electric Shock,” the girls are nothing short of a K-Pop powerhouse. Composed of members Luna, Krystal, Amber, Sulli, and Victoria, this SM Entertainment quintet has continued to surprise and delight fans with their unique style.

“Electric Shock”

Other notables: “Nu ABO,” “Hot Summer

 

HENRY
Henry Lau, known just as Henry, is multi-talented member of Super Junior’s Chinese sub-group, Super Junior-M. Knowing a wide range of languages, including English, Korean, Mandarin, Cantonese and French, this 23-year old has a penchant for music. He is able to play both the violin and piano and has composed songs. Earlier this year, he released his first solo mini-album, “Trap” and has just released the song “1-4-3” featuring fellow SM Town family member, Amber of f(x).

“Trap”

Other notables: “1-4-3 (Acoustic ft. Chanyeol of EXO),Henry Playing Trap & Chopin on Piano

 

2AM
From JYP/Big Hit Entertainment comes 2AM, a popular ballad group made up of members Seulong, Changmin, Jo Kwon and Jinwoon. Winning their first Mutizen award in 2010 for “Can’t Let You Go Even If I Die,” they have melted hearts with their sweet harmonies and outstanding voices. Earlier this year, they made their Korean comeback with the release of their second full-length album “One Spring Day.

“Can’t Let You Go Even If I Die”

Other notables: “I Was Wrong,” “You Wouldn’t Answer My Call

 

YU SEUNG WOO
At just 16 years old, Yu Seung Woo first began to catch people’s attention when he appeared on Mnet’s popular singing audition program, Superstar K4. His soothing guitar playing and gentle voice have made many a fan, especially on tracks like “You and I” and “Hello,” off of his recently released album, “First Outing.”

“You and I”

Other notables: “TroubleMaker (Cover, starts at 1:02),” “Gangnam Style (PSY Cover, Superstar K4),” “I Love You (2NE1 Cover, ft. Kim Jung Hwan)

 

DYNAMIC DUO
This team, made up of long-time friends Choiza and Gaeko, have become one of the most respected acts in South Korea’s hip-hop scene. Active since 2003, they have released a number of hit albums, including “Taxi Driver” and “Enlightened.”

“Hot Wings (ft. Hyorin of Sistar)”

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Other notables: “Without You,” “Trust Me (ft. Supreme Team)

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MISSY ELLIOTT
As the only female rapper to have six platinum albums, to say that Missy Elliott is a major player in the hip-hop scene is an understatement. A five-time Grammy Award-winner, the rapper-producer-singer-songwriter has sold over 30 million records worldwide. With a discography that boasts six albums and 70 singles (including 43 features), including hits like “Work It,” “The Rain (Supa Dupa Fly),” and “One Minute Man.”  Her connection to the K-Pop scene? She’s recently collaborated on G-Dragon’s latest album, to be released at the end of this month.

“Work It”

Other notables: “Lose Control,” “Get Your Freak On

 

DJ KOO
A former member of ‘90s dance duo Clon, DJ Koo is a popular electro-house DJ who made his debut in 2003. Playing festivals like Miami’s Ultra Music Festival, DJ Koo has demonstrated his immense skill and creativity in arranging, mixing and producing electronic dance hits, even mixing for some of K-Pop’s biggest names including f(x) and SHINee. In 2013, he released his latest single, “BOB BOB DEE LALA.”

Other notables: “K-Pop Shuffle Remix,” “Electric Shock (Intro Remix ft. DJ Koo)

 

HEEJUN HAN
As a finalist on the 11th season of American Idol, Heejun Han caught America’s attention with his soulful voice and funny antics.  Recently singing with Polaris Entertainment in Korea, he will soon be releasing a single in the US entitled “Bring the Love Back” with Pusha T.

Other notables: “How Deep Is Your Love,” “Treasure

 

Who are you most excited to see this year?  Let us know in the comments below!

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Countdown to KCON 2013 | Fashion Post: What to wear for the big weekend!

KCON 2013 is just around the corner, and the question that has risen for most (if not all) attendees is this: “WHAT AM I GOING TO WEAR?!”  With thousands of fellow hallyu fans and not to mention a notable handful of idols in attendance this year, the pressure is on to find that perfect outfit.  Stuck on what to wear this year?  No fear!  We’ve broken down KPOP fan fashion into three rough categories, based on what we’ve observed (and worn) from our own time in the hallyu scene.  Take a look at what may suit you!

 

The Style Mavens

Admittedly, you’re a K-Pop fan.  You have your favorite artists, biases/ideal types and OTPs (one true pair for those who may not be familiar), but the visual cues of your fandom memberships are subtle.  You choose to set off your fashion-forward outfits with K-Pop accessories, ranging from phone cases to rings to necklaces, phone cases or even those cute socks with your favorite idol’s face on them (hidden by your sneakers, of course).  Though you love your idols just as much as the next person, you’re fine with showing your love through small displays.

So something like this…

Worn with something like this…

(From L to R: G-Dragon “One of a Kind” necklace, EXO ring, Teen Top rings)

Shameless Stans

You’re equally as devoted to making a fashion statement as you are about showing off your KPOP loyalties.  Whether a shirt emblazoned with Dynamic Duo’s faces, a GD snapback a la “Bad Boy,” or a pair of Teen Top socks (with appropriate shoes), you’re not afraid to show others where your loyalties lie.  And as popular fashion-blogger Tricia Gosingtian shows, the “fangirl/fanboy” look can be much more than just wearing a t-shirt and jeans — but regardless of sartorial tendencies, you’re a clear KPOP fan.

Tricia’s take on KPOP fan fashion:

(Clearly, Trica’s a GD/Big Bang stan.)

Besides Tricia’s GD-inspired tops (which we’re absolutely in love with), here’s some other things that you can pick up for your outfit, picked especially for KCON:

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You’re a fan who is wholly committed to the cause…of KPOP.  You’ve done your extensive research and everything from your hair, makeup and clothes is a carbon copy of your favorite idol.  Whether it’s donning the same Joyrich/Chrome Hearts/Stussy/HBA/(insert cool streetwear brand here) T-Shirts and jerseys, colorful clothes, or homemade costume ala your favorite music video, you are a perfect double take for your favorite oppa, unnie or dongsaeng.  With a deluge of KPOP online shops making it ridiculously easy to know what clothes your favorite idols are wearing, it’s easier than ever to become an idol, or at least, look like one.

Some great (k)osplays from online:

But hands down, one of our personal favorites — little Big Bang!

So now that you’ve seen the different styles, what will you be wearing at KCON this year?

The Daily SHAG | Mike Concepcion

Despite being deemed one of the Philippines’ Top 10 “It Guys,” Manila-based Mike Concepcion is much more than a pretty, Moscot-glasses wearing face.  The 22-year old has made quite the name for himself in the Manila scene as a student, model, TV host and entrepreneur — you can count the uber-cool Manila Pop-Up and the popular restaurant Yabu under some of his accomplishments.  With a refreshingly classic style and a niche for business, Mike’s a total package.  While he may be taken by the gorgeous Jessica Connelly, it definitely doesn’t hurt to admire from afar.

Mike Concepcion for Esquire PH

 

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3.1 Phillip Lim x Target Lookbook (with pricing!) is Out — AND IT IS AMAZING!

Waking up this morning, I was more than excited to see that the lookbook for the much-anticipated 3.1 Phillip Lim and Target collection were finally released.  Living up to all the hype, the Chinese designer created a collection that combines his praised aesthetic with designs that are a perfect fit for the mega-retailer.  With pop-art inspired scarves and sweaters, airy blouses, printed scarves, trenches and much more, we have to say this is one of the strongest designer-Target collaborations to date (and the largest — there’s even a men’s collection!).

And what’s even more awesome?  Everything in the collection ranges from $20 to $300.  What’s not awesome?  You’ll have to wait until September 15th to get your hands on it.  But trust us, it’ll definitely be worth the wait — just take a look at some of our favorite pieces!

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For more photos of the complete collection, check out Target.

 

A Cut Above | Asian Hair: The Pixie Cut

With the media in a metaphorical tailspin over Beyoncé’s new shorter ‘do, the spotlight is placed once again on the pixie cut.  Popularized in the 1950′s by Hollywood stars like Audrey Hepburn, Mia Farrow and supermodel Twiggy, the cut has been worn by many throughout the years, including some of our favorite Asian and Asian American celebrities (like Ziyi Zhang at Cannes and Audrey’s summer covergirl, Rinko Kikuchi), breaking the stereotypical idea that Asian women have to have long, straight hair.

And while we love the Queen B just as much as anyone else and think that her new cut looks fabulous, we have to admit, these celebs give her a run for her money.

Narsha (Brown Eyed Girls)

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Lee Yeon Hee

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Vanessa Hudgens

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Shannyn Sossamon

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Tao Okamoto

Tao Okamoto

Yang Mi

Yang Mi

Toey Jarinporn

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Sunny (Girls’ Generation)

 

Gorgeous, no?  As you can probably tell, when it comes to the pixie, there’s no one-size-fits-all cut.  If you’re thinking of cropping your own hair, take a cue from one of these lovely women and experiment — you really have nothing to lose (no pun intended)!

Cool Kicks: Camper Together feat. Bernard Willhelm, Exclusively at Opening Ceremony

Acclaimed shoe-maker Camper teams up once again with German designer Bernard Willhelm through Camper Together.  Collaborating together since 2008, the duo take their partnership one step further this fall with an exclusive design for Opening Ceremony.

The shoe, which will be sold at OC’s concept stores in New York, Los Angeles, Tokyo, London as well as online at openingceremony.us,is a new take on Camper’s iconic Himalaya shoe, known for it’s distinctive zig-zag sole.  The blue and grey OC-exclusive highlights the shoe’s already distinct design, featuring a striking combination of materials and an ironically adorable print of dinosaurs playing in snow, a pattern featured in Willhelm’s 2006 Spring/Summer collection.  We’re in love with the unapologetic cool and playful eccentricity that this shoe gives off, making it a sure-fire street style staple.

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(Photos courtesy of Shine Media Group)

Asians in Fashion | Vogue China’s 8th Anniversary

(On left: Sui He; On right: Liu Wen)

To mark their eighth year as a publication, Vogue China called on photography duo Inez van Lamsweerde & Vinoodh Matadin to shoot eight different covers for their September 2013 edition, each of which feature one of eight of the world’s top models.  Four of the covers spotlight four of China’s own (and some of our favorite cover girls) — Xiao Wen Ju, Sui He, Liu Wen and Fei Fei Sun — as well as Daria Strokous, Doutzen Kroes, Kati Nescher and Sasha Pivovarova.

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On left: Fei Fei Sun; On right: Xiao Wen Ju

To see all of the covers, visit The Fashion Spot.

Cosmetic Surgery & Asian Career Women

It’s no question that in today’s society there is a constant desire for women to look beautiful, and Asian countries are definitely not immune to these pressures for perpetual good looks.  Media images perpetuate and affirm a certain, supposed “standard” of acceptable and desired beauty — light skin, straight hair, large eyes, small face, and tall.  To achieve this ideal, many Asian women resort to means like skin lightening creams in the Philippines, double-eyelid tape in South Korea, and of course, cosmetic surgery, the beauty industry in Asia is serious business.

But, what if these procedures and beauty products had a purpose beyond just vanity?  Would you do it?  In countries like China and South Korea, it seems that more and more women are going under the knife for more than just their looks.

According to Joanna Chiu for The Daily Beast, in China, the potentially dangerous procedures are seen as investments that are seen as a way for women to gain an upper hand in the job market.  Wen Hua, author of Buying Beauty: Cosmetic Surgery in China tells the Daily Beast that “the idea that beauty is capital “epitomizes the idea that good looks are the key to increased opportunities for social and career success.”  And this isn’t just hearsay.  As seen in the piece, 10 years ago, 90% of job ads targeted towards women were exclusively for under-30s.  For many government jobs, women must meet a certain height requirement.

The article later describes the story of Liu, a woman pleased with her cosmetic surgery, but also discussing her procedures as a necessary investment in her future, saying she got her job partly due to the fact that she was beautiful.

In South Korea, where cosmetic surgery rates are already well-known to be the highest per capita, things are quite similar. As Sharon Heijin Lee says in an article for CNN,

In Korea, for a woman to be capable, it’s not enough just to have a certain skill set ” she said. “You have to be beautiful as well. After the Korean economic crisis in 1997, competition for jobs led to the surgery boom; people trying to get a leg up in the job market any way they can.

Of course, this is definitely not to say that this is a phenomenon is one that is exclusive to Asia, but such quotes and statistics are reflective of the problematic and global pervasiveness of beauty being seen as just as important factor in the job hunt as someone’s abilities and qualifications.  It places an unnecessary importance on physical attractiveness where it shouldn’t be.  Women are put on a high pedestal, left with the difficult pressure to be seemingly flawless, by virtually any means possible.

Though we’re all about feeling confident and proud of yourself, feeling beautiful is something that you should define, on your own means and on your own terms, not dictated by those around you.

Photo courtesy of Google/Getty Images

The Daily SHAG | Zhao Lei

After first appearing in Prada’s Spring/Summer 2010 campaign, today’s SHAG, Chinese model Zhao Lei has become a staple in the fashion industry.  He’s walked and starred in campaigns for fashion-heavy hitters like Hugo Boss, Moschino, Armani and Missoni and has appeared in editorials for magazines such as Vogue, GQ, Elle and L’Officiel Hommes.  With a chiseled jaw line, gorgeous cheekbones and a body to match (and, we must add, a charming smile), we can clearly see why he’s become one of fashion’s favorites.

 

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And one gorgeous GIF for your time:

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Yes! Taking Pictures of Your Food Does Make It Taste Better

Wannabe food photographers of the world, rejoice!  All of your efforts of searching for the perfect filter for your Instagram’s “#foodporn” pictures may have more of a purpose than just making your friends jealous of that burger or late-night dessert you’re eating.

A study by Kathleen D. Vohs, Yajin Wang, Francesca Gino, Michael I. Norton at the University of Minnesota suggests that performing any sort ritual before eating can make your food taste that much better.  In the study, a series of four experiments were conducted, all of which support the idea that by simply being more conscious of your food, whether through eating that Hershey’s chocolate bar by halves, doing a toast, and yes, even taking pictures of your food, helps to make your dining experience more delectable.

Take a stroll around the internet, and you’ll find that people have found joy in making fun of food porn aficionados — there’s even Tumblrs devoted to posting pictures of people taking pictures of food, even one specifically for Asians.  But, it seems to us that those people are having the last (and more delicious) laugh.

Sources: 1, 2