The Fabulous: Kdrama Review

The Fabulous is a refreshing eight-episode full series which dropped on Netflix before the end of 2022 and I for one, am happy that it became the first drama I completed for 2023. It is a unique and optimistic take on the world of fashion, which is a far cry from the toxicity and drama related to the industry by insiders.

Synopsis: Pyo Ji Eun (Chae Soo Bin), Ji Woo Min (Choi Min Ho), Ye Seon Ho (Park Hee Sung), and Mr. Joseph (Lee Sang Un) are four friends who have dreamed of working in the fashion industry since they were young. Ji Eun is a PR manager specializing in high end fashion brands, Joseph is an up and coming designer, Seon Ho is a top model and Woo Min is a freelance image retoucher and street photographer who vow to Ride or Die as they pursue their passion and make their way into the world.

While most previous works centered on the fashion were mainly focused on the struggles of young people trying to make it in the industry, I like that The Fabulous presented a refreshing look at the positives despite the negatives. Sure, there were scandals, failures, rumors and a lot of sucking up involved to get their brands out there but there was also a sense of optimism built into the story.

While Ji Eun and Woo Min’s love story was the adorable centerpiece of the drama, I loved how the strong Ride or Die friendship among the four characters was presented as an equally important part of the tale. Each character was given a spotlight, making their journeys intertwined. Throughout it all, they held each other up, bailed each other out, and supported the heck out of each other when the chips were down. That was the beauty of this story. Despite the ugliness, there were people you could count on. So, it wasn’t always the wins, or the losses but rather the passion at the heart of all the noise that made the series such a fun watch.

This was made possible by the strong chemistry of the four main cast members that really sold their close bond. It makes you want to be best buds with them. Fiercely loyal, and supportive. It makes you believe that with them on your posse, everything is possible.

The strong supporting cast was also a huge draw. I loved Esther (Lee Si Woo) and how she took great care of Joseph’s fragile sensibilities. The duo of Ms. Hong and Ms. Oh and their ever changing dynamic was great comic relief and Henry Thierry’s portrayed by the fabulous Lim Ki Hong. He just stole the show and saved the day with every appearance.

Also, while most dramas would focus on conservative rich parents, I like that the rich families here were more liberated. Joesph’s mom supported her son and treated him as her blessing even though he was an only heir and was gay (meaning he will not bear her grandchildren which is a pretty big deal for Asian culture). On the other hand, Nam Jin’s mom did not hinder her son’s relationship with a regular working class woman but rather supported it and showed respect for her determination and drive. In short, apart from a few minor villains, there were no big baddies who will make the audience’s blood boil for an entire series.

I love the vulnerability of the series and its hopefulness even if it presented the fashion industry in rose colored glasses. I loved how it portrayed how true friends go to battle for each other and stepped up in times of crisis. There were times when the cheesiness and the lovey dovey scenes between Woo Min and Ji Eun was laid on too thick (not that I’m complaining) and for some, it may seem that the drama wrapped up perhaps too nicely. There were also some questions as to how these four friends can simply decide to go abroad whenever they wanted to pursue their passions despite not coming from a rich background (I’m looking at you, Woo Min). However, I appreciated the overall messaging of the series and the fact that it consciously came full circle from the first episode.

All in all, it was cute, it was sweet and the perfect way to start the year 2023 with good vibes. It was also not too long with eight episodes. It was, as the title promised, fabulous.