Kim Jong Un’s Wife Inspires North Korean Line of Cosmetics

Michael Song, Nov. 6, 2015, 7:31 a.m.

North Korea appears to have advanced the quality of the cosmetics the country produces, a feat attributable to encouragement by the fashionable wife of leader Kim Jong-un, according to North Korean news reports and an analyst. North Korea’s propaganda web site DPRK Today carried a post on Thursday that introduced a national consumer goods fair held in the capital Pyongyang last month.

“The exhibition stands of the Pyongyang Cosmetics Factory and the Sinuiju Cosmetics Factory, which presented some 80 kinds of cosmetics to the fair, seemed like a place where intense technology competition is being waged,” the web site said in the post titled “World-class Cosmetics.” The presented cosmetics included new products that immediately caught the eyes of consumers, the web site said, referring to beauty soap, beauty water, shampoo, and hair treatment.

“The brands were very unique and the package was new,” it noted. North Korea’s cosmetic industry now has a new set of goals and progress speed and “the dream has been reflected in many of the products presented in the latest exhibition,” according to DPRK Today. Both of the cosmetics factories are pushing for the modernization of production lines, DPRK Today also said, chanting the slogan “More, better and faster world-class cosmetics.”

The slogan reflects North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s instructions delivered during his visit to the Pyongyang Cosmetics Factory in February. During the inspection, Kim ordered workers to improve the quality of their production so as to lure foreign consumers. In May, pro-North Korea newspaper in Japan, Choson Sinbo, reported that the cosmetics factory launched a new line, branded “Milky Way,” or “Eunhasu” in Korean.

Functional cosmetics or hypoallergenic products are being developed by the factory in the forms of beauty water, lotion or foundation, it has said. The reform drive in the beauty industry may have something to do with the influence of Kim’s wife Ri Sol-ju, whose fashionable style drew keen attention from outside the country.

“Chairman Kim’s attention to female beauty care and cosmetics seems to be driven from wife Ri’s advice that through women could come support of a whole family and that could help consolidate the (communist) system,” said Yang Moo-jin, a professor at the University of North Korean Studies.

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