Drama Recaps
Fashion King: Episode 1
by | March 20, 2012 | 126 Comments

We’ve got a busy week ahead, with Fashion King starting us off over on SBS. It’s got a fresh-faced cast with lots of promise going in its favor, even if it seems a little tonally stunted. It’s also got a nice side of underdog potential just brimming below the surface, so now it’ll be up to the drama as to whether we see that fighting spirit come out in full force, or whether it remains just a replica of what it could be. Let’s just hope that Young-gul’s belief in the importance of a good fake doesn’t carry over to the rest of the drama.

Fashion King brought in an even 10.0% in the ratings slot, which gives it a decent foothold with room to improve.


Fashion King OST – “너를 꿈꾸다” by Lee Jin-sung. [ Download ]

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We open at a fashion show. Pretty models strut their stuff on the runway as our hero looks on from a front-row seat and sketches inspiration from what he sees. But then we see that it’s not inspiration at all, as we go straight from the runway to a sewing shop, where it looks like he’s making a replica dress.

Meanwhile, the board members of a New York-based fashion school receive a last-minute application from LEE GA-YOUNG (Shin Se-kyung), and proceed to marvel over her impressive portfolio. She’s erstwhile located in Korea, working as a seamstress for Jo Boutique. She’s clearly eager to hear word back on her application but finds no return letter in her mailbox, because the boutique’s president, Madam Jo (Jang Mi-hee) has gotten to it first.

Madam Jo is your usual cold fashion editor, and studies Ga-young’s acceptance letter with indifference, hiding it the moment Ga-young comes to see her. She’s clearly unhappy about Ga-young’s decision to apply behind her back, because Ga-young would inevitably need Madam Jo to lend her money to go abroad.

What she doesn’t do is tell Ga-young that she opened her personal mail, and keeps her Devil Wears Prada facade until the end. “What if you fail, then what are you going to do?” Madam Jo asks. It’s nice to know that she’s supportive of Ga-young’s dreams.

She lets Ga-young leave without the letter, and rips it up the moment she’s gone.

Later that night, Madam Jo’s daughter brings her friends into the store, above which Ga-young lives in a tiny corner of the factory. She’s fallen asleep over a notebook of designer sketches, and remains unaware that the shenanigans going on downstairs have started a fire on the sewing floor until she wakes up surrounded by smoke.

By the time Ga-young finds the fire the entire floor is burning, and though she valiantly takes up an extinguisher the blaze is already out of her hands.

Madam Jo arrives on the scene to find her shop filled with ashes and firemen – and to top it all off, her luxurious fur coat is soaked with water on her way up the stairs. She completely passes up her daughter (the one who started the fire) and slaps a soot-covered Ga-young – hard – before even allowing her to speak.

Ga-young tries to defend herself, but Madam Jo has already pinned her as the culprit. If it wasn’t Ga-young who set the fire, was it a ghost? (Surely it couldn’t be the girl standing right next to Ga-young, right?) Madam Jo thinks that Ga-young burned the shop as payment for her kindness in feeding her, letting her have a place to sleep, and sending her to school for all these years.

“I’ve done enough for you,” Madam Jo grits out. “You are grown up enough. Get out! You, you’re the one who didn’t want to live in this house and wanted to go abroad to avoid me!”

With tears in her eyes, Ga-young tells her that she’ll leave. But, since her parents started this business and brought her here, she thinks that she deserves to have a part of the business. This only raises Madam Jo’s ire further, and she shoots back that in all actuality, it’s Ga-young who owes her money from the debt her parents left behind.

Madam Jo orders Ga-young to leave immediately, or else she’ll call the police and name her as an arsonist. With no other options, Ga-young has no choice but to pack her things and go.

She walks aimlessly, staring through shop windows at fashion displays with a hopeful gaze. She comes across a colorful ad for a sewing professional, and ends up at the company that posted it – a hole-in-the-wall called Young Girl.

Ga-young is led into the cramped quarters to meet the boss – who turns out to be none other than our hero, KANG YOUNG-GUL (Yoo Ah-in), asleep at the helm. He’s unaware that he has a visitor as he takes a call from his debt collector, claiming that all is well and that he hit it big. The gangster on the other end, though we can’t hear him, seems unconvinced.

When he finally takes notice of Ga-young, she states that she called before she came. She’s the sewing professional, right? He hires her on the spot, but Ga-young is a bit more detail-oriented than his carefree attitude. Food and lodging are provided, right? And how about the salary?

Young-gul passes off that question with a “we’ll see,” and when she presses further he cuts her off by saying that she’ll get as much as everyone else. If she doesn’t like it, she can leave.

It isn’t like Ga-young has a lot of other options, so she takes a hot second to think about it and chooses to prove her mettle/sewing skills to a host of gobsmacked employees. Even Young-gul seems impressed by her talents.

Shirtless steam room scene, and we’re not even twenty minutes in? Oh Fashion King, you bless us. Young-gul is treated like a boss from the tattooed gangsters inside, with the exception of one – his gangster friend, and the source of Young-gul’s respect among the others. The big boss is the one who called Young-gul earlier to collect on some outstanding debts.

He asks his friend, JANG IL-GOOK (Shin Seung-hwan) for some money, only to be rebuffed immediately. As it is, just for being friends with Young-gul, Il-gook’s salary is getting docked just to pay the interest on Young-gul’s debts. Frustrated, Young-gul wonders if there’s anyone who does have money in this world.

Turns out there is such a person, as we immediately cut to JUNG JAE-HYUK (Lee Je-hoon), harshly critiquing a fashion photo shoot he’s overseeing. He’s a demanding boss, and orders that one of his employees start from scratch on a two-year project that he finds unsatisfactory. No amount of explanation by his secretary on how hard it was to get that designer is going to change his mind.

Jae-hyuk returns to his office to find Young-gul waiting, and just when I think that these two might be old friends, Jae-hyuk asks: “What grade were we in the same class?” Ha! So he doesn’t know Young-gul at all?

Young-gul insists that they were classmates even if he skipped class most of the time, but Jae-hyuk seems unconvinced. A look at Young-gul’s business card tells him that he works in fashion, but it’s not long before he cuts to the chase and asks if Young-gul came for money.

The look on Jae-hyuk’s face tells us that he knows exactly what Young-gul’s game is, so he cuts Young-gul off before he has a chance. Not to be deterred, Young-gul slams a hand on his desk and admits that he did come here for money. Does Jae-hyuk have a spare $30,000?

Jae-hyuk says that he doesn’t have money to lend him, but Young-gul is playing a different game by appealing to Jae-hyuk’s pride. He doesn’t take it as Jae-hyuk not having money to lend him, but just that he doesn’t have the money at all, which puts them in the same boat. Jae-hyuk seems mildly impressed, if only by Young-gul’s audacity.

Young-gul is forced to return to his shop/home empty handed, and de-shirts before plopping down on his bed…

…Only he’s accidentally sat on Ga-young, who starts screaming bloody murder. He’s genuinely surprised that she’s there, and has to be reminded that he promised her lodging. Only it seems like he didn’t expect her to take him up on it, since there’s only one bed.

We get a bit of exposition through a phone call Young-gul places to his aunt asking for money – his mother left him for the United States after falling in love.

Ga-young overhears everything, and out of distrust for her male cohabitant, grabs an Anti-Rape Stick to sleep with.

Madam Jo plays host to an unknown rich woman as she laments all that she lost in the fire. When asked about Ga-young applying to a New York fashion school she carefully avoids the topic, as it seems that her daughter applied to the same school with unknown results. It’s not explicitly said, but I’m going to hazard a guess that the other woman is Jae-hyuk’s mother.

She’s interrupted by a call from the insurance company claiming that beer bottles and cigarettes were found in the building, and that her daughter was seen going inside. Uh oh.

She confronts her daughter and asks if she knows that Ga-young applied to the same school – but her daughter isn’t worried in the least, since Ga-young could never afford to go without a scholarship. The look on Madam Jo’s face, however, lets us know that she’d never thought of that option.

I love that Young-gul dedicates time to lecture Ga-young about how to properly make knock-offs – and now the whole opening scene makes sense. He tells her that the importance to a good knock-off is its absolute similarity to the original, and he even gives her some sage advice, made funnier by the seriousness in which he says it. “Try to think about the thoughts that those designers put in the clothes and then make them with the same thoughts.” Haha. There is honor among thieves.

Her delicate designer sensibilities offended, Ga-young slams the door once she leaves. Young-gul seems impressed by her gumption.

He goes to peddle her wares to a store that may or may not know that they’re knockoffs, and it seems like his debt problem is taken care of. He and the rest of his employees set to making more replicas (and everything’s better in a montage.)

Young-gul’s business goes up, and he’s able to deliver all the money he owes to the appropriate mob boss, who lauds Young-gul for paying his debts back on time. He even gives Young-gul some money to get something to eat. Aww, what a nice gangster. (Even though he takes a break in the conversation to order someone be buried alive by phone, ha.)

The women who work in Young-gul’s store all seem charming as they all give collective sighs over how handsome their boss is. They think that his extended absence has something to do with Ga-young, but their friendly teasing belies no jealousy underneath.

Ga-young decides to clean up the office in her spare time, and uses Young-gul’s computer to check her e-mail. (He has a picture of himself as Superman for his desktop wallpaper.) It looks like she’s received an acceptance e-mail from the school, but it’s hard to tell when the subject line is, in English, “Congratulation on Your Success with whole heart.”

Young-gul walks in on her, and demands to know if she’s a spy. In order to prove herself she has to pull up her e-mail, and Young-gul asks her to translate her acceptance letter. She does, and tears spring into her eyes when she reads that she’s been accepted by the New York fashion school.

Not only that, she’s received a full scholarship. She’s overwhelmed to read the news, and can hardly continue reading through her tears. Young-gul asks about her parents, who she says died when she was little. Apparently he didn’t bother to learn her name before hiring her, as seeing her name in the e-mail sparks a flash back to a young Ga-young crying to a woman who was wearing the same necklace that her mother used to.

We then see him wearing the same necklace from the flashback in the present, right before we flash right back to the past. Past Young-gul finds Past Ga-young and through a sleight of hand, produces the necklace she was crying over. To stop her from crying, he performs a few more tricks. (Cute.)

Jae-hyuk has a talk with his father, JUNG MAN-HO (Kim Il-woo! I missed you!) who admonishes him on being too harsh with the designer during the photo shoot, and tells him to go back abroad to study. I love that Jae-hyuk’s cold, cool facade just melts away with his father, and suddenly he’s a wide-eyed child eager to please.

The fashion designer Jae-hyuk spurned is happy to hear the news, and Jae-hyuk is mortified when his father demands that he apologize. Jae-hyuk does, and when he gets a tiny lecture from the designer in return, even Dad takes a pause before going along with it.

We find Jae-hyuk on a flight headed to New York. Looks like his father was serious about the send-off. Ga-young is also on the same flight, and is happy to see a girl wearing her replica design.

She flashes back to Young-gul tossing a giant envelope of money for the plane ride to America, on the basis that he found out it’s a great school. He tries to play it cool, but clearly he’s a sweetheart. Ga-young’s eyes tear up at the gesture, and we’re back in the present before we know it.

Young-gul is half-asleep and half-naked with a girl he’s just slept with, who casually tells him that if her boyfriend were to find out, they’d both be dead. (She also makes it a point to notice his possibly-fake Rolex, and I like the idea that we’ve got a running theme of replicas going.)

Cue gangsters appearing at Young-gul’s storefront, destroying everything they see. He gets a call from his buddy that he’s just slept with the Boss’ daughter, the same one he just repaid all his debts to. Oh dear.

Young-gul is frantic as he tries to find a way to escape. The only way out is through a window, hanging on a ledge that’s pretty high off the ground. One of the gangsters knocks him off the ledge and onto a conveniently placed pile of styrofoam boxes, so Young-gul survives the big fall unscathed.

The Boss is, to say the least, murderously unhappy that Young-gul wasn’t caught.

Young-gul protests his innocence to friend Il-gook, who tells him to get the heck out of dodge so he won’t be killed. Young-gul has nowhere to go and no money to go anywhere, and soon finds himself chased down by gangsters. He’s able to avoid capture by the skin of his teeth.

He goes through a dilapidated gate to what might be his parents’ home (although he said his mother left him for the U.S. earlier), only he hears a fight going on inside while the woman gets mercilessly beaten by her husband. (Whoa, serious turn.) Instead of going in, he decides to leave instead and ends up wandering aimlessly.

Ga-young finds herself amidst all the lights and glamour of New York nightlife, and we cut to Jae-hyuk jogging. In the same city, of course.

But it’s with great shock that Ga-young finds out that she apparently rejected the admission from the school, replete with a letter of rejection and all. Good gracious, Madam Jo certainly took her meddling to another level.

Young-gul, meanwhile, finds himself unwittingly filming an episode of Deadliest Catch, as he’s taken up a job as a deckhand for a crab fishing boat. He vomits over the side due to seasickness as he’s relentlessly pelted by waves.


All in all a solid opening, even though some of the tonal shifts had me scratching my head. There’s fashion and fires and gangsters and wife-beating and chaebols and crab-fishing, all in one drama. If nothing else, that’s impressive.

I liked that this drama cuts straight to the chase, and puts us right in the middle of these characters’ lives. No long childhood backstories (although I did roll my eyes a bit at the childhood flashback scene, because of course they’ve met as children), and straight to the good stuff. And in this sense the good stuff lied in Young-gul and Ga-young’s interactions, who had some really enjoyable, laid-back chemistry.

I had some doubts about Jae-hyuk as a character, because on paper he filled all the necessary requirements for a normal, overdone chaebol second lead. Whether the subtlety added to the character is part of the writing or just good acting (Lee Je-hoon is great wherever I see him), I appreciated how much he changed when he was with his dad. I’d love it if that were carried through with his whole character – that he’s the sort of guy who tries to hide behind his money as this cool tough guy, but doesn’t know crap about business. I got a sense for that with the whole firing-and-rehiring of the fashion designer, so if we see more of that and less of a Perfectly Rich Second Lead, I’ll be happy. Because Lee Je-hoon has this way with making the cutest facial expressions around, which I wouldn’t have expected from his previous roles. (But I love him all the more for it. Oh dear. Second Lead Syndrome already?)

I’m liking Young-gul as a knock-off designer and general rascal, though his comedy scenes could get a bit overwrought. I’m interested to know his story, how he got tied up with having gangsters as friends, and how he ended up in fashion in the first place. Just going off his speech about how important a good replica is, I’m left wondering as to what his aspirations are (in a good way). Does he just want to be the best at making knock-offs and make loads of money? Or does he dream of being a true-blue fashion designer?

In that sense, even though Ga-young’s story is more done (poor but plucky with a side of dead parents), I was at least clear on who she was and what her goals were. The promotional materials had led me to believe that we were going to get a much slicker show than what we actually saw – and while we had moments of sheen early on, for the most part everything remained pretty grounded. Unexpectedly wacky at times, but grounded all the same.

Overall the drama is well-shot and well-edited, but the penchant toward dialogue-free wandering scenes is worrisome on the basis that we got quite a few in just the first hour. It’s hard to get a grasp on this show when I don’t really know what tone it wants to settle with (is it a comedy? is it a melodrama? straight romance? mixture of all three?), or where exactly the story is going. I’m not getting a super-assured feeling that the people behind the camera know, either. And if we take it just for what we saw in this first episode, it’s not raising any bars right out of the starting gate, but the potential is clearly there.

With a whole slew of premieres this week (The King 2 Hearts, Equator Man, Rooftop Prince) further recaps of Fashion King are up in the air. I’m definitely in as a viewer for the great cast (Yoo Ah-in is back! Huzzah!) and am excited to see where this all goes. Because it’s gotta go somewhere, right?


126 Comments from the Beanut Gallery
  1. diorama

    I really want to watch this drama, but I have to say it’s the least intriguing out of the new lineup. The only reason I’d check this out is for Yoo Ah In. That guy could wear anything (preferably as little as possible, lol) and I’d notice him. Although I kinda miss his scruff and Mane of Glory from SKKS days.

    • 1.1 diorama

      Oh, and welcome back, HeadsNo2! Loved the recap, as always 🙂

    • 1.2 will work for soju

      I miss the Mane of Glory, too, but would settle for just a normal haircut. Of all the features that the stylist could have chosen to accentuate — the full lips, the fierce eyes, the untouched-by-a-scalpel nose — they had to focus on the ears?

      • 1.2.1 Shaista

        Bwahahaa…omg you’re so funny! I adore his kissable lips! They shall focus on those + the abs!

      • 1.2.2 yakuna

        I think Lee Junki needs it more than anybody else…..

        • yakuna

          the ears …I mean….

  2. Francesca

    Thank you for the recap! Love both male characters

  3. Stephanie

    Isn’t she afraid that Ga-young can sue her for using her identity? Not that she has the money. Still, it’s a big hole in her reputation – so not worth it. Hate these kind of plot devices -.-

    • 3.1 Alvina

      exactly! And, didnt Ga Young try to contact the university before she made her way to another country?! Even if it was to check room/board, tutition, etc. I would’ve bought that plot point if she called the university from Korea and found that out about the Madam.

      I dont know why they try to pull this stuff.

      • 3.1.1 Cruelsummer

        I was thinking the same thing. Who just hops on a plane to a foreign country without making some calls first? Don’t you at least need a student Visa? There would have to be some contact made with the school. Frustrating plotline.

        • Thee

          So I am not the only one thinking about this part of the plot. At least there should be some contact between her and the school before she actually buys the air plane ticket. Is it possible for the Madam to do that in her name to reject the offer??

          • jomo

            Don’t forget the evil Mom Jo ripped up and threw the letter out from the school, too.

  4. Jomo

    Thanks for the recap! I am hoping you remain both a capper and a viewer, but that is because I am selfish.

    “Ga-young overhears everything, and out of distrust for her male cohabitant, grabs an Anti-Rape Stick to sleep with.”

    This is a problem with her judgement, I think. Fighting off YAI? I don thin so. Although, I guess since we are now in cohabitate mode, she can’t just cave after one half of an episode.

    They did good with the first episode. With all that ground to cover, the writers managed to show us in 60 mins what usually takes three in a melo. I am so glad we started with the adult cast. Liked the CYHMH kiddles playing these guys in the flashback, too.

    YAI’s mouth was in full display throughout, and I believe I will be tortured by it for the series because of how often he touches it. (I actually have a FB album called Hand to Mouth with photos of K/C/T/J actors.
    It seems innocuous, but after viewing 10 or so in a row, you will blush.
    YAI is the official winner of Best H2M photo in my poll.)

    • 4.1 Jomo


      Case in point. He does this all the time!

    • 4.2 nuri

      I know, who will fight of Yoo Ah In? Or maybe its just us, YAI shipper.

      I don’t think the touch-your-mouth-photoshoot ever work for anybody else but Yoo Ah In. I’ve seen them on so many actors, it just weird.

    • 4.3 Shaista

      Good grieve!! Can you share your YAI H2M collections? I’ll share my YAI topless collections with you as an exchange and we can drool together

      • 4.3.1 jomo

        I need to find a way to move the H2M to a public place in FB without having to upload all of them again. I have 164 photos in there, just adding them as I spotted them on OOgle

        However, it isn’t just YAI, it is a mess of actors – some idols, but his are the most provoking for some reason. Gong Yu, JaeJoong, THT, Yoon Shi Yoon, LDW, CDW are some actors where it is easy to find the shot.

        • Linda165

          Hi. You just need to go into the album and hit the edit album button and change the Privacy type to Public and then copy the link from the bottom of the page (bellow the comments) where it says: “Want to share your album? You can give friends or relatives this link:”

          I really really want to see those photos 🙂

          • jomo

            I was going to mention your name, Linda, because I knew we would both love this!

            I just tried it. The group is private, so it won’t let me.
            That is OK, I have a plan…and hopefully will be able to get this out soon.

          • jomo

            Can you see this?

          • Linda165


            You know me and my hand fetish pretty well my friend!

    • 4.4 KANGly

      @ jomo, hahaha thanks for this comment… now i know i am not the only with that kind of photo collection.

      i call mine H2L – hand to lips. and mine is reserved for only one man – MINE KANG ah and his cupid bow-shaped lips.^__^

      • 4.4.1 jomo

        If I figure out how to do the thing Linda suggested, we can combine forces!

        • Shaista

          Omonaaa! Thanks for the yummy linky! ♥♥ *wipes saliva*

  5. boobae

    We demand all you guys to work 24/7 to bring us reviews on all four series and the cable series. HaHa. Thanks for the recaps.

  6. rjyuggy

    i’ll skip this one. Love Rain is also premiering next week.

  7. myra

    I think today channel A drama ‘the ultimate audition’ also premiered..I am a little bit disappointed that there is nothing mentioned about it here, but then again maybe it’s too soon…

    • 7.1 nobodyimportant

      strongest k-pop survival?
      [minor spoiler-not much…]

      i actually think that drama is pretty cool so far. especially the audition parts, kpop culture n the M2 junior members…i actually find them more interesting than the lead characters…though some of ’em haven’t shown much character traits. n it’s refreshing to see the heroine is actually best buddies with the 2nd lead guy instead of him being a prince charming out of nowhere…

    • 7.2 DB5K

      I highly doubt anyone on this site is going to recap that drama. In my opinion, it’s not really worth watching. However, I was really impressed with Park Yoohwan’s acting. He really brings on his A game~~

      • 7.2.1 Mystisith

        Agree. After watching first 2 eps, i can say it’s a low budget copy of You’re Beautiful. The girl cast to play as a guy is very good, the idols have eclectic levels of acting. It’s the kind of show you watch just because you have a crush on one of the characters. 🙂
        At least the tone is lighter and funnier than in DH2, but there is not much more to say.

  8. laos7

    First of all, thank you for the recap~!
    I only wanted to point out that while you “(although I did roll my eyes a bit at the childhood flashback scene, because of course they’ve met as children)” my only reaction was a facepalm and then I started asking myself ‘ Why, why, oh WHY? Can’t they just simply meet when they’re around 20? Do they really have to have ~the past~?’.
    This drama can become good, watchable or simply a disaster, we’ll see how it turns out soon.

  9. The Real CZ

    Don’t forget that YDG’s Hero started this week on OCN too. 😛

  10. 10 Miky

    Thanks a lot Heads for reviewing this show,hope that u will take a pick also at the newest drama on Channel A : THE STRONGEST K-POP SURVIVAL 2012

  11. 11 Jomo

    Does anyone know what the situation is with viki and this show? They are subbing it super fast, but it is not available.
    Is it copyright issues?

    • 11.1 Purple Lee

      Maybe it is. For some countries it’s not available but since I live in the States, I can view it.

      Gosh! Episode 2 is almost done with subtitles. They work as fast as lightning! 🙂 THE POWER OF THE LEADS OVER FOREIGN VIEWERS IS EARTH-SHATTERING!!! They subbed it as if they don’t have a life! 😀 Hehe ..

      Truly, they deserve a salute! I hope it gets available in your country so that you can watch it as soon as possible. ^^

      • 11.1.1 diorama

        Haha, anytime idols are in a drama it gets subbed like greased lightning. Dream High 2, case in point. It’s good for watchers, but can get annoying because idol-less dramas are sometimes left languishing 🙁 Ah well, the power of fangirls.

        • nuri

          I was going to watch Twelve Men in a year but waiting for subs that never appear.

          In the case of Fashion King, its good anyway, I’m watching for Yoo Ah In.

    • 11.2 aznative

      @ Jomo – Not positive about Viki (I was following FK there too) but DramaFever recently announced they will air it. http://www.dramafever.com/drama/4100/1/Fashion_King/

    • 11.3 aznative

      @ Jomo Here you go. http://www.viki.com/channels/6604-fashion-king/videos

      • 11.3.1 jomo

        Thanks for both!! So happy I can watch it without commercials.

  12. 12 Funkypicklez

    Lee Je Hoon kind of looks like the young Uhm Tae Woong in Delightful Girl Choon Hyang! Absolutely love! Only gets better with Yuri today. I pray that this doesn’t disappoint! >_<

    Anyone know what drama is airing after dream high? I can't for the life of me remember.

    • 12.1 qwerty8

      Haha isn’t Lee Jehoon acted as younger Uhm Taewoong in their new movie, Architecture 101? They do look alike!

    • 12.2 danni

      It’s Love Rain with Jang Geun Seok and Yoona

  13. 13 Juon

    thanks HEADSNo2

    Why is young gul’s teeth so very white ? fake color ?

    Not feeling the vibes of this drama yet.

    • 13.1 ping

      korean artists whiten their teeth ever few months…they need to keep up with the look.

      no one wants a yellow teeth boy babbling lines.

      • 13.1.1 Juon

        I go for natural as long as it is clean, it is distracting when the mouth open.

    • 13.2 Linda165

      I think they are veneers.

      • 13.2.1 Mystisith

        LOL!! Excuse my ignorance, but i never heard of such a thing: Teeth veneers??? Bwahaha…
        I know that dramaland is the kingdom of fake and illusions of all kind, but damn. I’ll never get used to those extreme measures.

  14. 14 qwerty8

    (…) so if we see more of that and less of a Perfectly Rich Second Lead, I’ll be happy.

    This! Judging from the trailers and the first episode, it seems like Lee JeHoon’s character won’t be your typical perfect second lead character… and I really hope he won’t. Maybe it’s just me, but he gives off the vibe of asshole chaebol first lead lol. It’ll be more interesting that way.

    This drama has potential to be something good, imo.

  15. 15 sjkwifey

    Thanks for the recap HeadsNo2!! I didn’t think any of the recappers were going to recap this drama since the premise to me seem unappealing but I’m glad you did since I’m a fan of Lee Je Hoon and I’m interested in how he was going to portray a seemingly boring character. Although LJH seems like he’s doing an okay job and I think he also has the potential to add more to this role.

  16. 16 topper

    I was pleasantly surprised by the first episode, got me interested to watch the second. This seems a better drama that involves fashion than Baby Faced Beauty on first impressions.
    YAI and SSK are good as expected too.

    • 16.1 topper

      After watching the 2nd episode I am out. The way YAI got to stateside is not believable for me. And I sense a lot of makjang on the way.

      Plus the 2 new offerings are too good for me to resist giving them priority to my time for now.

  17. 17 Bluefyre

    Is it just me or does this seem like the teleserye “Magkaribal” that aired in the Philippines last year starring Gretchen Barretto, Angel Aquino, Bea Alonzo, Derek Ramsey, Erich Gonzales, and Enchong Dee?

    That’s what immediately came to mind when I read about this project and so the promos and now the first ep.

    It won a bunch of awards from what I remember. I didn’t get to finish it since I only knew about it from a 1 month visit, but it was awesome enough for me to be hooked. It’st still on the top of my list.

    Fashion King seems like it got inspired by it and decided to add more with guy counterparts. IDK. We’ll see how FK gets on. I’m just in it for YAI. 😀

    • 17.1 Bluefyre

      Oops. It was 2010. Not last year. Apparently the space-time continuum in my head is all messed up. >___<

    • 17.2 Daryl Lade

      Sort of the same genre, about fashion, life of designers…but the story is different… and they are more of high end locations. I watched the 2nd episode and the location is transferred in New York at Manhattan area. And at a certain point they focus an area at lower Manhattan where you can find some the Korean Merchandise and restaurants.

  18. 18 Daniella

    When I saw Kim Il Woo I immediately went Jang Ryang !!!(from salaryman); I find it even more hilarious and coincidental that you’re recapping this after salary man (:

  19. 19 canxi

    [About Lee Je-Hoon]

    “In Fashion King, he again became unrecognizable and unnoticeable by taking on the role of a vague rich boy, a character which toned down his individuality and deadened his colors.
    ‘They say he’s a rich boy but his character is awkward and his hair doesn’t look luxurious at all. His stiff expressions were also disturbing’, viewers said.”

    Just wanted to point out that contrast in views in what Heads said and what viewers in Korea were saying. Lol, what’s this about his hair? What exactly is he supposed to do with it? I think basically they want him to be the normal rich chaebol? That’s a shame…

  20. 20 redfox

    I watched first 2 episodes, it is entertaining. and whoever doubted yoo ah-in would not look good without long hair, I think you can take it easy.
    yeah, a lot going on, but doesnt it kind of give the premise “when you´re dealing with x , anything can happen?”

  21. 21 DB5K

    Just finished watching the second ep!!! I swear, this is my new crack drama.

    Initially, I wasn’t interested in this drama because it was oriented around fashion, and I have found previous fashion dramas to be incredibly boring or cheesy. I was also surprised that Yoo Ah In was going to be the male lead. He’s a rising hot new star, but I didn’t think he was leading man status. Also…he’s just so…baby-faced. Usually, Korean male leads are tall, masculine, charismatic, alpha male types. Anyways, I started having more interest in this drama when the promo pics and teasers, which were well produced, were released. Though I was surprised Yoo Ah In was going to the male lead, I eventually realized that this was a “youth” drama where all the four leads are under 25. I guess that explains their “gossip girl” angsty promo pics. In retrospect, it makes sense that the male lead is young since this is drama chronicles a brash upstart’s struggle for success. A 30+ year old male lead wouldn’t make much sense. Anyways, because of the young cast and its concept, I thought this drama would get low ratings. It had decent ratings, though it’s partially because there wasn’t much competition. After watching the first episode, I think it will fare well against Love Rain. Fashion King has a fast paced storyline and all the familiar makjang elements.

    First of all, I have to say I was really impressed by Yoo Ah In’s acting. I can’t imagine anyone else playing his role now. He is over the top sometimes, but I think it complements the story’s uber dramatic, sometimes wacky, writing.

    I love that there are evil characters. Sure it’s cliche, superficial, unrealistic, what have you, but it’s also sooo much fun to hate the evil witches and eagerly anticipate their demise.

    I LOVE LEE JE HOON. It’s my first time seeing him, but DAYUM HE’S FINEEE. And a good actor. And you’re right, he’s adorable when he gets schooled by his dad.

    I’m willing to bet Young Gul’s rolex watch was real. Maybe it was his father’s(?).

    The childhood flashback was random and out of the blue. However, I wonder if there’s more to their shared past. Maybe young Young Gul unwittingly witnessed Madom Jo set fire to Gayoung’s parent’s boutique or something. Just speculating.

    And you’re right. I wouldn’t know how to classify this drama. It’s certainly the most dramatic fashion drama I’ve ever seen. However, I wasn’t thrown off by the gangsters or the fire or the wife beating. I WAS however thrown off by the head gangster’s attempts to kill Young Gul because that led to his sudden departure for America. I had grown attached to his little hole-in-the-wall store and the kind, chatty ahjummas. I was also COMPLETELY thrown off by the whole ship wreck thingy. And Young Gul’s bizarre trek through Mexico, the border, the desert, etc. It’s also quite funny to see how the ghetto neighborhoods of NY are portrayed in this drama. It shows us what kind of stereotypes Koreans have about the rough life for Korean immigrants in America. The whole American ghetto experience and Young Gul’s flee to America as a stowaway and his encounters with foreign gangsters and trek through desert TOTALLY reminded me of the kdrama All In. In fact, I’m convinced that whole portion was practically plagiarized. The American wild desert/ghetto setting in kdramas seems really dated and it makes Fashion King seem like it was made in the 80s or 90s instead of 2012.

    I think the storyline is exciting enough without some of the wackier plot points. You have a nice, modern drama spiced with makjang, but then it’s weighed down with unnecessary tacky 70s trinkets/accessories.

    I also have no idea how Young Gul is going to be a fashion king. I don’t think he’ll become a good fashion designer. But he displays a lot of business sense, resourcefulness, savvyness, and ruthlessness/boldness/passion that could make him a good CEO/businessman.

    • 21.1 Daryl Lade

      Though they borrowed some plots from All In, but the truth exists until this time that there a lot of Asians smuggled workers who ended up working in small stores and restaurants. I like Young Gul, he is a real street smart.

  22. 22 JC

    I totally LOLed at the fishing part at the end. the graphics for the ocean was soo terrible.

    thanks for the recap.

  23. 23 Noelle

    Madam Jo is a bitch. Nuff said about her… This seems interesting but I’m gonna wait to watch until it becomes clear what kind of show this will be. I’m not into melodramas so if that is the direction this shows heading, I’m out.

  24. 24 nomu nomu nomu

    What ever drama you decide to recap is cool.

    My hope is it will be based on what ever drama is better and not just because a certain actor or actress is in it.

    May the BEST drama wins

    • 24.1 HeadsNo2

      Trust me, recaps are way too much work to spend just because a certain actor or actress is in it. With recaps, it will always be the superior drama over the fangirl tendencies.

      • 24.1.1 nomu nomu nomu

        HeadsNo2, I have no doubt that you pick your recap carefully and value quality over eye candy or fangirl tendencies. I did not mean to imply other wise

        Your previous selections has already proved that
        (eg. Tree with Deep Roots, History of the Salaryman)
        And again, thankyou for that and the quality recaps 🙂

        To be honest, my comment was to towards those “I’m only watching this for (fill in name)” or “I know this sucks, but I’m still going to watch it for (fill in idol name)”
        the last quote was from Dream High 2

        • Cruelsummer

          Haha…I totally said that DH2 qoute 🙂 But I’m totally shallow and old enough to be excused for it, lol.

  25. 25 Arhazivory

    I wonder if I have a girl-crush on HeadsNo2. I was totally uninterested in this drama and then I saw the recap. ‘Hmmm, if she likes it, then I should watch it’ is what I thought. Hehe.

    Based on the recap, it does sound like something I’ll watch. The main character is certainly very interesting and the fact that the 2nd lead might not be a carbon copy of all other chaebols, just makes me anticipate something good. The set up is good, although I also sighed at the fact that they met as children. Because of kdramas, now I’m wondering if the next man I meet, that I met as a child, is a potential husband. -_-‘

    And oh my, I screamed after seeing ‘Jang Ryang’. I finally finished Salaryman two days ago (went back and read the recaps too – great job Heads), and it was so great seeing him. Ok, with this and the other three dramas that I plan to watch, I feel overwhelmed.

    ><' March madness begins.

  26. 26 kbap

    Oh man, I love Lee Je-hoon. I think I’m gonna love this series, if the writing is solid. 🙂 I’m still skeptical after all that love I invested on Moon/Sun…

  27. 27 ayeesha m

    tanx 4 da recap though am yet to watch the drama but your recap is da best.i really like the characters especially yoo ah in.keep up da good job 🙂 🙂 🙂

  28. 28 anna

    Sweet lord, I didn’t notice this until now it was pointed out:
    The King 2 Hearts 1-2 (MBC)
    Equator Man 1-2 (KBS)
    Rooftop Prince 1-2 (SBS)

    I should have though, Tae-woong did say they’ll be up against each other.

    • 28.1 kbap

      Hah, rooting for Equator Man! I mean, come on, there’s Uhm Tae-woong! And the awesome prosecutor from City Hunter! Perhaps I’ll also watch Rooftop Prince, but I’m not too fond of the historical-time-machine-poof!-to-modern-days drama, so I don’t know. And King 2 Hearts…eh…the title is putting me off. And knowing that the writers wrote Beethoven Virus, eeeeeh… Sorry Seung-gi, you know I love you. And sorry Ha Ji-won unni. I’ll follow recaps if there is any for it though!

    • 28.2 diorama

      Lol, it’s going to be a Battle Royale for ratings. Uhm Tae Woong vs. Park YooChun vs. Ha Ji Won (Sorry Seunggi, you know who’s the fighter in that duo). My money’s on Ha Ji Won.

      Let the games begin!

    • 28.3 topper

      Epic battle. Why this mess on Wed-Thurs slot while Mon-Tues saw no need in doing head to head premieres just baffles me.

  29. 29 Kim

    Oh my the second lead Lee Je Hoon looks like Kang Ji Hwan in the last photo o.O

    I think I’m going to like this drama he he ^^

    • 29.1 ~Feather~

      That’s what I was thinking! I just stared at that picture for 5 straight minutes, thinking-
      “Kang Ji Hwan, why are you here? I don’t remember DB stating you would be in this drama. Am I dreaming? This feels soo weird, you look like him- but are you? ….I’ve finally lost my mind.. I think it’s the lack of sleep. Okay, I think I’ve had enough of this telepathy conversation. Let me finish reading the rest of the post.”

  30. 30 jyyjc

    This is totally irrelevant to this episode but I just noticed shin sekyung’s neckline in the top poster is really really really low-cut o_o

    • 30.1 topper

      There are better frontal pics around LOL.

  31. 31 Alvina

    What’s with hot guys escaping from the ledge in recent dramas? 😀

    It seems like an interesting mix of everything cliched korean drama but I’ll hold off any judgement until I actually watch it. Thanks for the recap.

  32. 32 aznative

    HeadsNo2 – Thanks for the recap. I’m definitely on for the show; DramaFever, here I come.

  33. 33 Lise

    i watched ‘cinderella man’ already and that brought tears to my eyes…the boredom i mean. this has to be ‘Moon/Sun good’ for me to even give it a try…

  34. 34 iyra

    watching it for yoo ah in!!!

  35. 35 Shaista

    I laughed my heart off when the camera showed Young-gul’s computer’s wallpaper..it’s YOO AH IN’s PICTURE in a SUPERMAN COSTUME! Bwahahahaaa…I love this meta joke!
    I hope this drama will stick to this kinda humor for the next eps. I don’t like the fact that Young-gul and Ga-young were childhood friends who can’t recognize each other when they grow up. However, I like that things going fast from the first place. I didn’t know that YAI could be this funny XD
    Thanks for the recap, HeadsNo2!

    • 35.1 Shaista

      typo: *my heart out

  36. 36 Maggie

    tq Headsno2

    Oh! that is fast in kdrama,

    KYG is sleeping with someone.

  37. 37 Linda165

    Thanks Heads! My new favorite girl in the world!

    Actually, I think Ga Young altered the design and that’s why he was reprimanding her. He sold the piece as a new design and that’s why the other guy wanted to know who was the designer.

    “Jae-hyuk has a talk with his father, JUNG MAN-HO (Kim Il-woo! I missed you!)” Really, you missed him? Since like last week? LOL!

    Also, with all the old phones, is there going to be a time jump?

    • 37.1 DB5K

      Yeah, I think the original outfit was red, but Gayoung modified it slightly into a white outfit. I think that’s why she smiled on the plane when she saw the girl wearing her white version of the outfit. She realized that Young Gul decided to use and sell her design.

      I noticed Young Gul’s old phone, too. (It’s uncanny how many dramas I’ve seen that orange flip phone in.) I’m not sure there’s going to be a time jump, though, because I think, though I’m not positive, that Madame Jo was using the latest model of Samsung’s Galaxy smartphone.

      But you’re right, it makes sense that there would be a time jump since right now Gayoung is just a college student. Most kdramas would have a time jump where Gayoung graduates from college, at the same time as Madame Jo’s daughter, go back to Korea, and get a job at Fashion J, Jehoon’s company. In that case, I also bet that Gayoung and Young Gul will eventually get separated in America and have their reunion in Korea. (I’m basing this guess on the past kdramas I’ve seen. Also, in the preview for ep3, it shows Young Gul getting arrested in NY. And the teaser for this drama shows Young Gul frantically searching for Gayoung in a crowded street).

      • 37.1.1 Linda165

        I wrote this comment before watching episode 2. As soon as I saw the Galaxy Note I said: “well there goes my time jump theory” 🙂

        But a time jump, even a 2-3 years one makes sense to take everybody back to Korea.

  38. 38 aoiaheen

    I loved this episode. I wouldn’t have even bothered had i not seen the recap up for this. The promos were quite boring actually. I love YAI but still, I wasn’t interested in this.

    But it made me LOL so many times. I loved the gangster friend with his shirt like tattoo. I loved that YAI tries to hide under the windowsil (Any hero would never ever be caught.) and gets caught so easily. (of course he survives a james bond style jump after all but still…)

    I didn’t like the they-knew-each-other-as-kids much either. Why do they use that in EVERY kdrama? Like somehow knowing each other as kids makes your love somehow stronger… or is it a fate thing?

    Anyway… I am soooo going to watch this drama.

    Thanks HeadsNo2!

  39. 39 21

    Only checking this drama out because Yoo Ah In is in it and I think I might pass for now.

  40. 40 elle loves kdrama

    Thanks for recapping this episode, Headsno2!
    I may have to skip on this one. My blood pressure raised up in the first 10 min, and all the subsequent scheming may just be too much for me… I will look forward to the other premieres this week!

  41. 41 red

    I just watched episode 2 and I am hooked!!!- some bits felt random, but I have a feeling theres a lot of backstory we dont know yet.

    Yuri was HORRIBLE!!!!! She had like 10 minutes of screen time but I cringed through it. You could see her acting- and her lines barely came out audible. Le Je Hoon ate her alive in all the scenes.

    But hopefullly she improves.

    Im loving the le je hoon and shin se kyung chemistry- their flash back was one of my favourite moments.

    And Yoo Ah In makes the most outrageous work

    • 41.1 DB5K

      I loved Lee Je Hoon and Shin Se Kyung’s flashback!! It was relevant and made more sense than Yoo Ah In and Shin Se Kyung’s flashback. In my opinion, Yuri’s acting wasn’t horrible. It was mediocre. I’m satisfied with that ^^

  42. 42 jandoe

    Just finished the first episode (yay to dramafever doing a simulcast on it!) and aw man, I don’t know. I’m having mixed feelings about this one, to me it’s tonally very weird. I’ll stick around because OMG Lee Je Hoon is super adorable (didn’t see this coming!) and I really do dig YAI’s acting. But I don’t know, it goes makjang to comedy to intense to random that I’m basically like “uhm okay, now we’re on a fishing boat to waittt Seoul to frikkin Stateside?”

    Will catch up with episode 2; I hope this gets better and that you stick around to recap HeadsNo2! (PS trivia: my first time reading a recap from you but will admit I like what I read, your writing style is one I dig :))

  43. 43 luv2rain

    Hi HeadsNo2 – What does “tonally stunted” mean in your reference to this drama?

  44. 44 Suzi Q

    Just finished watching episode 2.
    Whew! The writers threw everything but the kitchen sink into the first two episodes.My head still dizzy trying to follow the screwy plots.The story is getting bizarre where everyone met each other as children, but don’t recognize each other as adults. Do they all have amnesia or a lobotomy?
    Liked both the male lead actors, but Yuri is really awkward and green. Hated Madame Jo. She should have that Croc necklace strangle her.
    Lots of bad racial ethnocentric stereotypes were introduced.Felt really uneasy watching it and not a good thing to present.
    I hope the plot gets better because of all of the new slew of dramas coming up next week.It is up against some mighty tough competition.This drama may be lost in the shuffle.

    • 44.1 DB5K

      Jaehyuk remembers Gayoung, that’s why he told his secretary to give her money for an airplane ticket. (Remember how he refused to give money multiple times to Young Gul?) That’s also why he decided to help her get re-admitted to fashion school. He was just pretending not to remember her. And Young Gul remembers Gayoung. That’s why he also decided to give her money for an airplane ticket. Gayoung doesn’t recognize Young Gul, but I bet she will eventually~~

      As for the racial stereotypes, well, whites were portrayed negatively, too, such as the white homeless woman and the cranky, racist white landlady. But I mean, it is true that blacks are more likely to live in the Bronx and that Indians (and Koreans~~) are more likely to be liquor store owners, etc.

      In fact, I wonder if the makjang elements were added in last minute when SBS found out that King2Heart

      • 44.1.1 Daryl Lade

        This is OT, just want to rationalize. Racial discrimination is still very much alive everywhere else on earth. But its not also true that Black Americans are just mainly found in the Bronx, because there many Black Americans in Brooklyn and in Queens. It just depending the areas of these boroughs. But one thing for sure if you are lost in NY people are more tourists friendly to guide you how to get the subway and will help figure out the place you are looking for.

    • 44.2 Shaista

      Actually Young Gul remembers Ga Young and her sad past. I guess there’s more than that will be coming out about their pasts. I think that’s why he sympathize with her and trust his money to her. But Ga Young still doesn’t remember him yet.

  45. 45 Jaykah

    I’m liking this!!!! Bet next episode’s ratings are gonna be much higher. KWON YURI!! <3

  46. 46 Sate Ayam

    I love how Yoo Ah In call pull mix expressions off ♥ And wow I really love Lee Je Hoon’s act! This is my first time seeing him.
    Definitely rooting this drama for the love of these men ^_^

  47. 47 mariolawpanda

    First off, I might be biased here. I don’t like Yoo Ah-in outside SKKS. His personality is too much and kind of repulsive.

    I’m still in the middle of the show. His acting here is a bit over-the-top. I don’t know what to think of it yet. Leaning on the unlike right now but still okay with it.

    Something’s off with the look of the show as well. I’m not liking it. Editing? Something’s off.

  48. 48 cocoonedsoul

    it’s gonna go makjang on us won’t it. it will.

    the flashback made me rage. the story was rolling out fine! sure i can deal with evil manager sucking up to evil mom and orphaned girl and throwaway sun. but childhood memories of each other! no!

    awesome cast but mediocre storyline. nothing so fresh about this, but then again there are only so many plots you can churn out of a fashion story. can’t wait for it to develop more into the flashy rags-to-riches story it advertised.

    • 48.1 LK

      Yeah, the childhood flashback was too much. And too random. It’s too cliche and unnecessary.

  49. 49 LK

    I see a bit of Style and Cinderella Man in Fashion King, but from the first episode it definitely looks more promising than the 1st two I mentioned. Of course like 99% of dramas, there has to be cliches. I’m excited to see where the story is going.

    I gotta admit though, I’m not feeling the 2nd lead actor. I’m not liking his personality or looks. In fact, he kinda looks slightly like Yuri and that’s just weird. Unlike the writer, I didn’t really notice how he “changed” in the scenes with his dad. I don’t find him charismatic at all. I hope he will be less of a rude chaebol in the other episodes. At least give him a funny side! I’m guessing we’ll see his “softer” side when he’ll meet Ga Young.

  50. 50 olsen

    Thank u.
    Lovely recap.
    Half-naked Yoo Ah In?
    Thank you drama gods!

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