How do K-Pop agencies come up with the visuals and styling you see in your favorite music videos? In a new Dare U Naeju YouTube video, Park Naeju (veteran stylist to major boy groups like BTS, EXO, NCT, GOT7, and MONSTA X) explained the full process from start to finish.
First, Park Naeju explained that every K-Pop agency has its own visual team. Some companies may even have multiple visual teams, each one dedicated to a different group of artists. The visual team is generally made up of art directors and designers, and its their job to come up with the concept guidelines.
According to the veteran stylist, the most important factor that needs to be taken into account is the “general tone and manner” of the music video. Visual teams may look at the song’s genre and influences, current trends, and the director’s vision when proposing their concept guidelines.
Once the visual directors and designers come up with the initial ideas, Park Naeju says they present them to the costume, hair, and makeup teams. Together, these stylists discuss the concepts and brainstorm ideas on how to present them on screen.
“What would be the main color scheme?”, “What would be the costume concept?”, “What about props?”, “How would you do the makeup?”.
— Park Naeju
On top of their own ideas, the costume designers, hair stylists, and makeup artists also need to take the idols’ thoughts into account. In the past, it was typical for stars to have little say in their styling. These days, however, many companies seem to be giving idols more freedom in deciding their own hair, makeup, and outfit looks—especially in their senior years.
In fact, Park Naeju revealed that his team’s chief designer, Han Songhee, believes that nothing is more important than the members’ feelings. According to Han, it’s crucial that every member likes their style when their performing on stage, because style satisfaction gives them the confidence to do their best.
Designer Han also told me that she cared the most about how much the members were satisfied… Satisfaction is especially important.
— Park Naeju
Finally, once everyone has given their input, Park Naeju says it’s time for the hair, makeup, and costume teams to decide the final concepts. They must take multiple viewpoints into account and ensure everything fits with the company’s initial vision. Sometimes, this can take a little as 2 weeks, says Park. However, it can also take as long as a month or two.
We compromise while sharing many ideas. The company’s visual team, designers, and members—all three should be in consensus.
— Park Naeju