Filed under: Apparel
Novelty isn't enough to keep the latest in Swedish jeans on store shelves. Noko, which debuted last week, is an upscale brand with an unusual twist -- it's made by people who could never partake in the style. The jeans are manufactured in North Korea, where access to jeans is rare at best.
Swedish department store PUB, decided to stop selling the jeans in order to avoid controversy. After all, who'd want to be associated with the land of Kim Jong Il? The department store's management claims it didn't know of the jeans' origin and killed the deal as soon as it learned of the North Korea connection. Sweden is effectively the western world's envoy to Pyongyang.
Rene Stephansen, PUB's director, told The Associated Press, "For us, this is not a question of Noko Jeans - this is a question about a political issue that PUB doesn't want to be associated with." He continued, "This is not the forum for the discussion."
Noko Jeans was developed by three Swedish entrepreneurs who wanted to engage North Korea, end the isolation ... and probably capitalize on the Communist mystique. The jeans are only available in black, and they aren't cheap. One pair will set you back $215 a pop!
The plan was that Noko Jeans would be sold at Aplace, a store within the PUB store, according to Stephansen. Aplace isn't on board with PUB's decision, calling it "a bit cowardly."