NewJeans may not have celebrated its first birthday yet, but the South Korean quintet behind hit songs “Attention” and “Hype Boy” has become a need-to-know name in fashion circles.

In March alone, NewJeans’ members Minji, Hanni, Danielle, Haerin and Hyein, all still in their teens, have inked a global ambassadorship with Levi’s, appeared in a photoshoot for American Vogue, and were appointed ambassadors for Seoul Fashion Week. And that’s just as a group: individually, Hanni represents Gucci and Armani Beauty, Hyein works with Louis Vuitton, Danielle was tapped by Burberry and YSL Beauty, while Minji is an ambassador for Chanel in three divisions: fashion, beauty, and watches and jewellery.

These luxury brands are anticipating hefty returns from hallyu fans, or lovers of Korean music, movies and TV shows. Their numbers exceeded 178 million last year, according to a report by the South Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs-affiliated Korea Foundation, up from 156 million in 2021, and nearly 20 times the fan population 11 years ago. Data from social media analytics agency LaunchMetrics shows that K-Pop stars are regularly some of the top drivers of engagement and subsequently revenue for brands. When Cartier announced Blackpink’s Jisoo as brand ambassador, for instance, that post generated $3 million in media value for the brand, and when BTS attended the 2022 Grammy Awards dressed in Louis Vuitton that appearance was valued at $6.4 million.

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