Dumb Hipster Idea of the Week: $220 Jeans From the Hermit Kingdom:


Three annoying Swedish hipsters traveled to the worst human rights abuser on Earth to produce 1,100 pairs of skinny jeans! Reuters has all the exciting, transgressive details:

Designer jeans labeled "Made in North Korea" will go on sale this Friday at a trendy department store in the Swedish capital, marking a first foray into Western fashion for the reclusive communist state.

The jeans, marketed under the "Noko" brand, carry a price tag of 1,500 Swedish crowns ($215) and will share shelf space at Stockholm's PUB store with brands such as Guess and Levi's.

Noko's founders told Reuters they had spent over a year trying to gain access to factory operators in North Korea, and struggled with poor communications and an unfamiliar approach to doing business once inside the country.

"There is a political gap, there is a mental gap, and there is an economic gap," said Jacob Astrom, one of three Swedish advertising executives behind the project. "All contacts with the country are difficult and remain so to this day."

Penetrating insights, Jacob! In an interview with the Swedish magazine Resume, Åström refused to criticize Kim's Juche terror state, explaining that the public would have to wait to hear his opinion of the country. Setting up the Google Alert now.

The idea for the project was born out of curiosity for North Korea, which has grown increasingly isolated in recent years under Western criticism of its human rights record and nuclear ambitions. "The reason we did this was to come closer to a country that was very difficult to get into contact with," Astrom said.

North Korea, a country better known for its reclusive nature than fashionable clothes, rarely allows outsiders within its borders and has virtually no trade or diplomatic relations with most Western countries. Sweden, one of only seven countries to have an embassy in North Korea, is an exception….During the summer, the trio travelled to the factory in North Korea to oversee the production process and ensure that workers there were treated according to Noko's guidelines.

So can we safely assume that publicly executing employees is outside of Noko's labor guidelines?

You can watch NoKo's promotional video (including some of the strangest English pronunciations outside of Pyongyang) here. And for those who speak a Scandinavian language, don't forget to register with the Swedish-North Korean Friendship Society.