North Koreans go gaga over polka-dot dresses

Posted at 03/19/13 11:17 PM

SEOUL, South Korea - Polka-dot dresses and manual threshing machines were among the hottest consumer products in North Korea last year, according to an annual list compiled by a research analyst in South Korea.

The arrival of the boldly-patterned dresses in the top 10 list was down to North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un's wife, Ri Sol-Ju, who was seen wearing them to public functions on state television.

"Young North Korean women are keenly interested in the first lady's fashion style and try to follow her example" Dong Yong-Seung, a senior research fellow at the Samsung Economic Research Institute in Seoul, told AFP on Tuesday.

Dong has been compiling a top 10 chart of consumer items in North Korea since 2010, basing her findings on interviews with North Korean defectors and Chinese traders on the Sino-North Korean border.

The fact that manual threshing machines made the list spoke of the prevalence of electricity cuts in the countryside, Dong said.