Monsta X.
Courtesy of Starship Entertainment.

Monsta X on Their Changing Style, Influence, and Fashion Faux Pas

We caught up with the group to chat about "Beautiful Liar" and all things fashion.

One would think the members of K-pop group Monsta X have tried practically every style almost eight years after their debut, but all these years later, Minhyuk, Kihyun, Hyungwon, Joohoney, and I.M still keep their fans, known as Monbebe, guessing. With their newest single, "Beautiful Liar," and EP, Reason, the group is serving new looks and showcasing a new side of the signature style they've spent nearly a decade developing. 

Monsta X might have debuted with edgy tattered all-black clothes in 2015, but they have since built a luxe image, marked by an appearance for Chanel in 2019, a special collaboration with Urban Decay in 2021, and more. Coming off recent campaigns with Versace and Louis Vuitton, the group's recent comeback is just as eye-catching as it is catchy, reifying that they're not quite done touting their experienced style just yet — musically and sartorially.

“I think at first, when we just debuted we needed to show ourselves as a team, so our clothes were almost the same patterns, same color, and same style. But, these days, I think [Monbebes] respect all our characters and personalities,” rapper I.M tells Teen Vogue, as he reflects on Monsta X’s style and their switch in recent years. Minhyuk, the eldest of the group while leader Shownu serves in the military, on the other hand, attributes the changes to “being adults.” 

Courtesy of Starship Entertainment.
Courtesy of Starship Entertainment.
Courtesy of Starship Entertainment.

Leading up to the album, Monsta X dropped four unique concept teasers, each depicting a different side of the group’s well-rounded image. The first seemed like an homage to their early days with all-black outfits, but elevated by trendy super crops and layered belts. Next came fiery fits consisting of red suits and body jewelry. Fitting for the early January weather, the members also sported cozy knits with shiny embellishments that matched their Euphoria-style makeup. Last but not least, the members channeled regencycore for their picturesque final teaser photos.

Courtesy of Starship Entertainment.

The teasers all led to the “Beautiful Liar” music video, which pulls different elements of each concept. Adorned by studded leather, houndstooth-print tweed, and classic black-and-white ensembles, the video proves that modeling comes second nature to Monsta X. After all these years with Monbebe, Monsta X don’t hesitate to name which looks they thought fans would love the most. “I think Monbebe were really excited to see us wearing the tweed-style jacket,” Joohoney shares through an interpreter. “Also, we adjusted the uniform outfit into different styles and I think Monbebe will be interested to see them as well,” Minhyuk continues. “Horseback riding even more,” Kihyun concludes, prompting laughs from the group.

After all this time, it’s only natural that Monsta X influenced newer generations of artists, who cite the group as their inspiration and channel their style. “It's not just the styling itself, but all the performances and the vibes and the music and stuff that we're giving off is regarded as style. And I think a lot of junior artists have tried sounds that are similar to our styles, so we are very thankful for that,” Joohoney shares.

Not everything has been smooth sailing in Monsta X’s fashion journey though. A word from the wise? Matching monochromatic yellow outfits might not be the best move. “That was yuck,” Minhyuk says, eliciting laughs from the group, while contemplating regrettable looks that they would advise their juniors to avoid. He’s referring to their 2017 performance of “Shine Forever” where they wore coordinated outfits in a highlighter yellow hue. Despite the odd fashion faux pas, it’s easy for Monsta X to find confidence in their style. “A good thing is a good thing, so when we look classy and sharp we get confidence from that,” I.M says. 

Their style is, of course, more than nuanced after all the years in the spotlight, but if they were to describe it with a song from Reason, the members do not hesitate. Minhyuk and I.M say “Daydream” and “Deny.” Kihyun picks “Lone Ranger,” citing his taste for Western styles and cowboy boots. For Hyungwon, it’s “It’s Alright,” while Joohoney chooses “Crescendo” for its energetic style.

The members of Monsta X are continuously (and increasingly) involved in their music production and lyric writing, so style and visual concepts have naturally become another frontier they strive to have their hand in. In fact, Minhyuk shares that they coordinate visuals, even down to their hair. “We try to show different colors through every album,” Kihyun adds. And they have. 

As Monsta X continue to promote “Beautiful Liar” on performance shows, new outfits are shown on each stage. Of course, tweed made an inevitable appearance, and layered necklaces and net shirts have already been added to the mix so far, leaving us wondering what will come next for Monsta X.

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