In honour of Bangtan Sonyeondan’s latest comeback, I decided to take a look back at one of their first MV’s and see how far the boys have come style wise, because if the MV teaser is any indication the boys are going to look amazing in “Spring Day”. You may be wondering what I could possibly have to say about “We Are Bulletproof Pt.2” that hasn’t already been said, but, always one for a challenge, I’m going to be taking a slightly different approach for this MV. If you’re new to Kpop, or even to Bangtan Sonyeondan, (also known as BTS), you may not have had a moment to check out all of their MV’s yet. But I really suggest you do. Are they all as sleek and beautifully styled as “Blood, Sweat, and Tears”? No, unfortunately BTS, and BigHit staff, took a little while to really find what worked. But that does not mean that the earlier MVs are not fantastic. The styling choices are just questionable at best. So today I’m going to do my best and supply you with some answers.
I decided to get, what I feel to be one of the worst looks, out of the way first. I have never, and will never, be able to get behind the baggy shorts over leggings look. I get it, you want to wear shorts, but it’s cold, so you need to cover the rest of your legs. But just because I can understand the thought behind it, doesn’t mean I can get behind it. Unfortunately, I can completely understand why this look is used here. It’s “hip hop” and “gangsta”. Just throw in the knee highs and it’s young and childish yet still “hip hop”. I’m so glad BTS are finally grown up enough to be able to wear pants, like real pants.
Then we have that massive gold print that shows up on many of the shirts and shorts seen throughout the MV. I believe this styling decision to be very thought out. With it being on so much of the clothing, in a variety of ways, it would have to be. This print is very reminiscent of Baroque era architectural detailing. A fashion detail that was huge on the runways in 2012, (a year before “Bulletproof” dropped).
This means this particular print works in more than one way. The more simplistic way is that it was trendy at the time, which you want in a MV. Hip Hop is very influenced by fashion, (and has a high influence on fashion), and has been since roughly the 70’s.
The other reason this print works so well is, as previously mentioned, it’s based on detailing from the Baroque era. This gives the outfits a slight royal feeling to them. As BTS are boasting about how great and talented they are, or future music royalty, this styling detail makes a lot of sense?
A look that is very true and dear to my heart, but is sadly underutilised in this particular MV, is the hints of punk inspired styling choices. Now, I can probably argue a leather jacket looking good on anyone in any situation if needed, but I honestly didn’t have to try that hard for “Bulletproof”. It helps that punk and hip-hop have a long and intertwined backstory that I won’t touch on too much, that is for another time. But to see a leather jacket on anyone, especially a hip hop artist, even in 2014, is not particularly strange. A very big perk of the punk styling choice is that it helps lend a hand to that “badass” vibe that BTS are very clearly going for, (until they dropped that because they’re actually all adorable squishy teddy bears and they stopped thinking they have anything to prove. Thank god those boys have finally gained a little confidence in themselves). It is disappointing that this styling choice was only used on Jin and V, because those two look fantastic, and I think there would be a very different feeling about this MV 3 years later had more of the boys worn leather jackets and less of the other, more dated looks. #punksnotdead
A much less timeless “badass” styling detail used is the football gear Suga and Jungkook wear. Yet again, this is a styling detail that can be argued for more than one reason, even if the execution wasn’t necessarily the most fantastic. Football players are known to be intimidating, just think about how large they generally are so they can take all those hits. This plays nicely into the same idea as the punk styling, while still managing to bring some different characteristics. Much like punk and hip hop, sports and hip hop also have a long and intertwined backstory, although this one is probably much better known. Sportswear and hip hop have been influencing each other since hip hop’s conception really. It makes perfect sense to include sports related items into a hip hop MV. The other reason the footballer look works so well has a lot more to do with BTS themselves and this song. If you don’t already know, Bangtan means bulletproof. And that’s what they’re claiming to be, so they’re wearing armor. Just look at all that padding. But because bulletproof vests aren’t supposed to be particularly noticeable, they don’t have the same visual as football gear.
The last major styling detail doesn’t particularly need a lot of explanation. Just look at all those accessories: big chains, sunglasses, a gold cane, skull bracelet thing, and whatever that headlight thing Suga is wearing. Most of these make a lot of sense and are pretty common in the majority of hip hop MVs. Except for the last two, I honestly can’t explain those. I’ve got nothing.
There are a few minor styling details that I felt were worth mentioning as well. I say minor because these were used for only one of the seven members. Jimin’s Bulls jersey for starters. I wanted to mention this look because I felt like it stood out a lot in this MV, most likely because it’s the only real colour seen. This look seems to fall under the same category as the football gear, they’re both sports gear. The basketball jersey looks much less intimidating than the football padding though, which is why I didn’t include it with the football gear. It doesn’t make nearly as much sense to me, much like Rap Monster’s suit. He’s the only one to wear a suit, or anything formal in this MV so it really stood out to me, (plus it was Rap Monster in a suit). Since he is the only one to adorn a suit, and it’s only for very brief moments it’s difficult to determine why this look was used. Suits are much more common in hip hop MV’s as of late so it’s not particularly off-putting, but it doesn’t seem to really fit in with the rest of the looks either. The only real reasoning I can think of is because he’s the leader and they wanted to show it in this video, but this isn’t something seen in other BTS MV’s, and isn’t particularly BTS’s style.
I do feel like the Rapline deserve a massive shout out, as they are easily all dressed the worst, and they manage to carry it off. I’m not saying they look great, or like they should ever dress like this again, but they do manage to ever so slightly pull it off. Without their natural abundance of swag this video would have been even more ridiculous. But seriously, how does Suga still manage to look badass dressed like a scuba diving football player?
As ridiculous as the styling for this video is, and this video is essentially just ridiculous styling on top of a chessboard, I love going back and watching BTS’s earlier videos and comparing them to their latest MVs. It’s so fun to see how far they’ve come in every aspect; styling, theme, concept, lyrics, and sound. I’m always excited to see how far they’ll go, and what they’ll do for their latest comeback. And this time is no exception. If you hear a faint screaming in the distance I’m sure it’s just me freaking out about the latest BTS MV.