Blog: North Korean jeans enterprise hits stumbling block

Joe Ayling | 9 December 2009

A start-up jeans manufacturer in North Korea called Noko Jeans has reportedly had its range shelved by a Swedish department store.

According to a report by the Associated Press, the PUB department store has decided against selling the jeans due to the related political issues.

Noko Jeans, started up by three Swedes, told the AP it was now looking for another stockist.

The brand was set up to bring North Korea - the centre of recent nuclear testing spats with Western governments - closer to the rest of the world, the founders say.

"We decided to move forward with this project based on one belief and one demand. The belief being that any outside contact, and influences, such an isolated nation gets, can only be of good," they say.

According to a corporate video, the idea of Noko Jeans was dreamt up two years ago. Last summer production started in a North Korean factory with just 1,000 pairs of black jeans, aimed at department stores like PUB.

However, with PUB reportedly unwilling to get caught up in the issue, Noko will be forced to launch the brand by itself, although not in North Korea - where jeans are said to be forbidden.

With the brand having attracted a plethora of media interest in the past months though, it could yet be PUB that misses out in the long run.

By Joe Ayling, news editor.


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