When I was a teen, I expressed my fandom for the bands I loved by cutting pictures out of magazines and pinning them to my walls. Today, fans of Korean boy bands and girl groups express that love by recreating their outfits for The Sims.
I got into Korean pop hard during the final few years of college, fostered by all my housemates getting into it with me. We were Big Bang and 2NE1 stans, and as those groups fell apart, I left my Kpop fandom behind. Now it appears to be chasing after me. Korean boy band BTS made an appearance on Saturday Night Live a couple weeks ago, and ever since then I’ve had their catchy-as-hell music stuck in my head, and have even branched out to girl groups like Loona. Now, when I’m looking for custom content for my game of The Sims, I sometimes squint at a particular t-shirt or hair style and think, “Did Jungkook wear that?”
More and more I’ve been discovering that yes, Jungkook (who is a vocalist for and youngest member of BTS) did wear that. I’ve been exploring the scene of Sims custom content creators that recreate outfits their favorite idols have worn. Over on The Sims Resource, a popular site for people to upload and download custom content, this recreation of Jungkook from BTS’s hair has been downloaded over a hundred and fifty thousand times. This Thisisneverthat t-shirt once worn by Jungkook has been downloaded nearly sixty thousand times. These patterned shirts inspired by BTS’s music video for “Fire” have been downloaded over twelve thousand times.
Matt, a Kpop fan that I occasionally chat with in Twitter direct messages, told me that he’s tried to make some of his favorite idols before, in particular Wheein from Mamamoo, but they never quite turn out the way he wants them to. Still, he keeps trying.
“I don’t really know why I do it,” Matt said. “I think it’s because it’s a person I’m familiar with so I know what they look like, so it seems easy to create in a way.”
I’ve done similar things in the past. I’ve mentioned before that I made myself marry a Conor Oberst Sim that I’d made in The Sims 3, and I’m determined not to let anyone forget how fucking lame I was. At the time, my love for the band Bright Eyes was so all encompassing that making a Sim of Oberst, the main songwriter and face of Bright Eyes, seemed like the only way I could get close to him.
These Kpop fan Simmers take it to a whole new level, though. Sims 4 Custom content creator Weakey indexes all her Kpop looks by band, and includes a reference photo to show where the outfit is from. Want your Sims to have that Supreme X The North Face jacket that BTS’s RM made on Jimmy Kimmel? Well, Weakey’s got you covered. Fellow Sims 4 custom content creator Trillyke also recreates outfits that the stars wear, like this Versace skirt that was worn by a member of Kpop girl group Black Pink. She also has a whole category of clothing that’s just generally inspired by the glamour of Kpop.
Kpop has reached the point of cultural saturation in the United States that it’s now not uncommon to meet young people who can’t get enough of boy bands with upwards of five members with impeccably manicured hair. I shouldn’t be surprised to see this crossover into The Sims. If there’s one thing I know, it’s that if a horny teenager can’t find the thing they want, they’ll just make it. Now I’ve gotta go check in on my husband, Conor Oberst.