Although the birth of vinalon has been much glorified by the state as a North Korean invention, the fabric originated from Imperial Japan’s push to develop technology it needed to win the war, and was developed at a Kyoto University laboratory. Ri Sunggi, who is celebrated in North Korea as the inventor of the fabric, holds the patent for it alongside two other Japanese researchers.

When it was first invented, the fabric was indeed widely used in all forms of clothing - “suits, shirts, work clothes, and dresses”. The end of the Korean War left the country facing many shortages, and textiles were no exception as North Korea needed to prioritise its use of arable land for food production. Compared to other fabrics, vinalon was much more economical to produce and uniquely durable, and thus played a critical role in filling up the textile goods shortage10.

Today, it is an open secret in North Korea that no one wears clothings made of vinalon. It is instead used to make “fishing nets, mops, ropes and other goods which, like many of the basics they need, they trade privately in unregulated markets.11

The measurement guide reproduced here illustrates the standard measurements of a North Korean woman, and allegedly originates from a fashion magazine that can be purchased from roadside book stalls or other places that foreigners do not typically frequent21.

尽管朝鲜把维尼纶的诞生誉为国家代表性的发明,这种织物实际上是通过日本帝国为了赢得战争推动研发,在京都大学的一个实验室创造的。 李成吉(Ri Sunggi)虽在朝鲜享有布料发明者的盛名,却与两名日本研究人员共同持有它的专利。

刚发明以后,这种织物确实广泛应用于各种形式的服装中——"套装、衬衫、工作服和连衣裙"。 朝鲜战争结束以后便面临多方面的物资短缺。 由于朝鲜需要优先利用可耕地进行粮食生产,纺织品也不例外。 与其他织物相比,生产维尼纶更有经济效益,且它特别耐用。 因此它在填补纺织品短缺发挥了关键作用10

如今,没有朝鲜人会穿维尼纶织成的衣服。 它通常用来制造 "渔网、拖把、绳索和其他物品"。 这些物品和许多基本物品一样,在不受监管的市场上进行私人交易11

这里复制的《女性服装测量指南》展示了一位朝鲜女性的标准测量。 据称该指南来源于一本时尚杂志,可从路边书摊或外国人通常不常光顾的其他地方购买21