Earlier this month, it was reported that one of BTS Jimin‘s stage outfits is set to be sold at auction. Now, the auction company and outfit designer are facing serious criticism from ARMYs after fans found out that the costume will be sold unwashed.
The outfit in question is the hanbok suit Jimin wore during BTS’s Gyeongbokgung Palace performance of “Idol” on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. The suits drew widespread attention at the time for combining traditional Korean clothing with a modern and comfortable fit.
Jimin’s outfit in particular was created by South Korean designer Kim Rieul. In an interview with AYO on YouTube, Kim Rieul revealed that BTS originally wanted to buy their outfits from him. However, Kim explained that he’s never sold his outfits to idols before, so he decided to lend them to the members out of fairness.
I’ve never sold my outfits [to idols], and I can’t charge it only to BTS, so I said, ‘Please use them and return them.’
— Kim Rieul, AYO
Now, Jimin’s hanbok suit is hitting the auction market alongside over 50 other works of modern and ancient Korean art. Due to open for bidding on April 22, the outfit’s starting price will be ₩5.00 million KRW (about $4,480 USD), but the final bid is expected to soar far higher. Earlier this year, the full set of pastel costumes BTS wore in the “Dynamite” music video sold for $162,500 USD at a GRAMMYs benefit auction—around $25,000 USD per costume.
While the reception to Jimin’s outfit auction was originally positive, fans’ opinions soured when it was recently revealed that the hanbok suit will be sold unwashed. In a video with VIDEOMUG on YouTube earlier this year, Kim Rieul showed off Jimin’s hanbok suit, stating that the outfit was returned immediately after the performance before it was even washed.
This outfit is touched and worn by Jimin. I didn’t even wash it… These are the clothes that still keep Jimin’s sweat and fragrance of that day.
— Kim Rieul, VIDEOMUG
Naturally, fans assumed the outfit would still be washed before auction, but it’s now been revealed that this is not the case. Speaking to Maeil Business, a spokesperson for Myart Auction—the company hosting the Korean art auction—revealed that Kim Rieul had originally hesitated to auction off the outfit, but eventually agreed to the sale.
[Jimin’s outfit] was left unwashed after the performance and will be sold with Jimin’s body odor intact.
— Myart Auction, Maeil Business
Unsurprisingly, ARMYs across social media are disgusted and infuriated by the decision. Fans are labelling the move “invasive” and “highly unethical“, criticizing both Kim Rieul and Myart Auction.
Kim Rieul i hope all of your current and potential future clients are made aware that you have no problem exploiting those who wear your designs and encouraging a celebrity culture that’s personally invasive by auctioning off their unwashed clothes without their permission 🥰
— mo (@soopdweller) April 20, 2021
— Dita ᴮᴱ⁷ (@almostdita) April 20, 2021
Many are even questioning whether Jimin himself is aware that his clothes are being sold unwashed or whether HYBE (formerly Big Hit Entertainment) gave permission to the designer and auction house.
Thank you for the amazing opportunity for an auction but we as a fandom don’t condemn or allow invasive aspects such buying “unwashed clothes”. It’s very invasive on the artist themselves and I’m not even sure if the artist is aware of how their clothes are auctioned
— ᴮᴱ Sav⁷ (semi ia) (@minimonistudios) April 20, 2021
the fact they're literally airing out the fact its unwashed to lure in potential creeps and bh are probably unaware that julien auctions and kim rieul are commodifying off his literal sweat is so…. this is so disturbing my god https://t.co/U9AhD7mvN6
— fawzul⁷ 🍊 (@agustranda) April 20, 2021
ARMYs are also concerned that the outfit could fall into the wrong hands, risking being purchased by sasaengs (stalker fans).
Yikes. Incredibly invasive to auction the clothes without washing it. This is the type of thing that promotes toxic fan culture like sasaeng behavior. https://t.co/lXTzb6nmv0
— 🚀ᴮᴱ134340 miles from sanity⁷💫 (@naija0329) April 20, 2021
Yo, Myart Auction and Hanbok company, we ain’t crazy sasaengs! We don’t do shit like that! Fix that asap! That won’t give ya extra money! Why would ya put an unwashed costume? During a pandemic? 🙄💜 #BTSARMY
— Tiaᴮᴱ∞⁷ is now #BTSxMcDonalds 🍟 💜 𝐀𝐑𝐌𝐘 💜🐋 (@MrsTOH2O) April 20, 2021
As of yet, Myart Auction, Kim Rieul, and HYBE are yet to comment on the controversy.