Innovation That Matters

For the first time, jeans to be made in North Korea

Nonprofit & Social Cause

While unique, locally produced goods distinguish many nations in world markets, notable exceptions include North Korea, whose self-imposed isolation keeps it conspicuously absent from the global economy. Motivated by that very isolation, a group of young Swedes has launched an endeavour to forge connections with the nation through a startup company that will be the first to produce jeans in North Korea and export them to the rest of the world. Coming from backgrounds in advertising and PR, the Swedish trio are now operating as Noko Jeans, which they say is “our attempt to approach and get closer to North Korea.” After several meetings with North Korean government officials, the Swedes were invited to visit the nation this summer, and ended up securing a manufacturer: North Korea’s largest mining company. The first samples arrived in Stockholm in October, and the jeans are due to become available next year, Noko’s founders say. In an increasingly globalized world, consumers see considerable value in products that are (still) made here, as our sister site would say. Will North Korean jeans really be added to the list? That remains to be seen. One to watch!



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