Living in Korea, you may find that your favorite chapstick, fabric softener, or even your favorite brand of toilet paper is suddenly impossible to find. Sonminsu may be to blame. Sonminsu (손민수 ) is the act of buying, wearing, or using an item a Korean celebrity has been spotted using.
What is Sonminsu?
Sonminsu is the art of copying Korean celebrities. The term originates from the well-known series, Cheese in the Trap, where one of the characters, Son Min-su, copies the main character in everything from her hairstyle to the pens she uses. K-Pop fans began using the character’s name to describe the art of copying their favorite K-Idols.
Fans of Korean culture have begun to sonminsu everything. From celebrities’ fashion items to objects seen on live streams from their homes, even to the food they eat – have all completely sold out! For example, BTS’ Jungkook’s favorite fabric softener famously became out-of-stock after the idol mentioned it in a chatting forum. If you were part of the crowd flocking to buy downy because it is Jungkook’s favorite fabric softener, you are officially sonminsu!
How to Sonminsu
Some passionate fans make it their mission to find and update fandoms on the items their favorite celebrities are using. Then, share their findings on Instagram, Twitter, and other K-fan platforms. There are entire accounts dedicated to sonminsu-ing each Korean A-lister. By following these accounts, you can get a more intimate view of your favorite celebrities.
It has also become a trend among fandom vloggers to show off the assortment of sonminsu items they have collected. It is common to find reviews of sonminsu targeted items uploaded by superfans. Purchasing sonminsu items can be an expensive and difficult task, so make sure to check out reviews to ensure your suffering is worth it.
What to Sonminsu
Fashion platforms and clothing websites often target sonminsu fans. They tag pieces worn by idols, making it easier for fans to find them and make successful sonminsu purchases. For instance, the shopping platform Musinsa has a section on each of their featured brands’ pages dedicated to celebrity-worn pieces.
Some fashion items have become legendary among K-pop fandoms. There are items some fans can wear that make them instantly recognizable to other members of the fandom as they walk down the street. One such example is NCT Doyoung’s black canvas sling bag from Poshprojects. The idol can often be seen with the bag on trips to the airport, known affectionately by the nickname ‘Carrot bag’ among fans. A large number of fans purchased the famous carrot bag for themselves, allowing NCT fans to spot each other wherever they go.
Sonminsu items come in all forms. While a large majority of them are clothing pieces, some of them may come as a surprise! Others have been known to buy the exact phone used by their favorite idol, down to the model and color. Idols sure have a large influence!
Similarly, a culture of fan food tours is becoming increasingly popular. Fans are flocking to their idols’ favorite restaurants to try the food they love. Some restaurants that have become popular due to the phenomena include Tenpa in Apgujeong, known by many to be the favorite Malatang place of NCT members and now their fans. Additionally, Gino’s Pizza, also in Apgujeong, became famous among fans afterseveral idol’s visits there.
Some restaurant owners are welcoming to fans. They often will make a point to seat them at tables where their favorite celebrities ate and might even dish out cute anecdotes! Many fans have found their new favorite restaurant thanks to this new culture. Not just because of its connection to their favorite celebrity, but because of the welcoming atmosphere!
Through the advent of sonminsu culture, fans feel more connected to their idols than ever. The level of happiness felt by engaging in retail therapy is multiplied and many small businesses are benefiting. The power of Sonminsu is strong and we are likely to see it for many years to come.
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