How The Dragon Symbol Returned To Fashion
The dragon craze is about to reach new levels.
Yes, we might be in the year of the tiger, according to the Chinese zodiac, but the dragon symbol has returned to mainstream fashion, too, thanks to pop culture.
The new HBO Max original show House of the Dragon—expected August 21—is already selling a ton of merch, most recently at the Comic-Con in San Diego. Just this weekend, the stars of the show spoke on a panel about shooting scenes on a mechanical buck that will represent the dragons.
And as part of this Game of Thrones prequel series prelaunch, they’re selling limited-edition dragon bomber jackets in a capsule collection on the WB Shop, as well as jersey shirts, tees and more. The limited-edition bomber jacket has a series of dragons on the back, and inside the jacket, as well as the show’s logo and the quote: “Dreams didn’t make us kings, dragons did.”
The show is also offering a free AR game (called House of the Dragon: DracARys) which allows fans to raise their own pet dragons, based on the lore of George R.R. Martin.
The dragon craze will be in full effect next month, no doubt. It has been awhile. Dragon symbols were a beacon of 1990s style, from tees emblazoned with the Mortal Kombat logo—a dragon head—to dragon-printed dresses and dragon-patterned Hawaiian shirts.
Now, nd celebrities have been wearing more dragon-inspired symbols in fashion, too, like dancehall singer Shenseea who recently wore a custom made dragon-shaped top designed by Nusi Quero onstage, or the dragon tattoos that celebrities have, like German actress Franka Potente, or British singer Bishop Briggs, who said in an interview that she got her traditional Chinese dragon tattoo to remind her of power. “I love the idea of dragons having this fire in their bellies but only releasing it in times of danger or protection,” she said. “I thought it could be a parallel to my life – keep the fire as fuel and use it wisely.”
In fact, one Seoul-based tattoo artist who is tapping into the dragon hype in pop culture is Yoon Choi, whose artist name is Choi Yun, and says that dragon tattoos are a symbol of success, and is frequently used in the Japanese style of irezumi tattoos.
“Dragon tattoos have always been popular, but with House of the Dragon out soon, I think it will definitely gain popularity,” said Choi.
Choi’s style of dragons is simple, cute and are inked with a gradation style in all black. Some of them call to mind the actual dragons we see in Game of Thrones. In fact, she’s used to customers coming in, asking for the same dragon tattoo that the actor Emilia Clarke, who plays Daenerys Targaryen—Mother of Dragons—in the series, has on her wrist.
“My first dragon tattoo showed me a photo of Emilia Clarke’s tattoo and said: ‘I want this kind of dragon inked on me, but in your style,’” she said.
Clarke’s own tattoo is inspired by the HBO series, and she got it in 2018 by Los Angeles tattoo artist, Dr. Woo. It has three dragons flying around her right wrist, and Choi’s tattoo style lends itself to this style.
Dragon designs might look different in the east, compared to the west, but they’re a highly respected symbol in Asian culture. “The king of Korea wore clothes with dragons on them,” said Choi.
It’s called a Gonryongpo, also known as a dragon robe, and there are brands in South Korea that makes jumpers that can be worn everyday with the Gonryongpo motif. “Famous actors and actresses who come to South Korea from overseas often receive a dragon motif on a gift, like a dragon robe, when they come to South Korea to be a guest on a talk show,” said Choi.
“With the House of Dragons, more people are booking appointments for dragon tattoos, and I don’t see that stopping anytime soon,” she said.