February 24, 2022
SEOUL – The “Purple Island” in Sinan, South Jeolla Province, will be featured at the 2022 fall-winter Paris Fashion Week, slated to take place virtually next week, according to officials Wednesday.
The island’s 1.4-kilometer purple bridge has been turned into a runway in a recent filming of South Korean designer Yang Hae-il’s show as part of one of the fashion world’s biggest events.
The bridge connects the two islets of Banwol and Bakji, which comprise Purple Island off the southwestern coast of Korea, where roofs of the homes and facades of the restaurants, cafes and guesthouses are all purple.
The runway video featuring Yang’s latest collections against the backdrop of the purple oasis will stream on the official website of Paris Fashion Week throughout its run that begins Monday, the designer said.
Yang, who runs his own brand, HEILL, has participated in the global fashion event since 2017.
“Sinan’s Purple Island is a perfect location to present my new clothing line. Hopefully, the violet hue from the island’s various structures and natural environment will fascinate global fashion aficionados,” he said.
Yang signed a partnership deal with Sinan County on Feb. 7 to promote the islands’ unique purple villages through his online fashion show.
County officials hope the event will add more momentum to efforts to put the once-neglected islets on the global tourist map, following its inclusion in the United Nations World Tourism Organization’s “Best Tourism Villages” in December last year.
The Purple Island, inhabited by some 200 people, has been struggling from its rapidly aging population and lagging economy.
As part of a move to turn things around, the provincial government in 2015 initiated a “purple project” designed to transform the two adjacent islets into a major tourist draw. The project entailed growing purple-hued flowers and vegetables like kohlrabi and beets and painting the roofs of more than 400 buildings in a lovely shade of lilac.
The color therapy has apparently worked, with the number of visitors to Banwol Island reaching 200,000 in October 2021 despite the pandemic, quadrupling from 50,000 in the same month of 2015, a Sinan County official said.