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Gangnam Style: Get to Know the Man (and the Neighborhood) Behind Your Halloween Costume

Racked is no longer publishing. Thank you to everyone who read our work over the years. The archives will remain available here; for new stories, head over to, where our staff is covering consumer culture for The Goods by Vox. You can also see what we’re up to by signing up here.

Gangnam Style, the insanely addictive K-Pop single by South Korean rapper Psy, is everywhere, from Saturday Night Live to the United Nations. It's even inspiring this dude's Halloween lights and, most likely, your Halloween costume. (Are you going as the girl dancing on the subway or as the dude in the yellow suit?) But what the heck is Gangnam, and why does it have style?

The Guardian tackles that question and more today. Gangnam is the most expensive neighborhood in Seoul, sort of like a Korean Upper East Side. And just like the Upper East Side, it has plenty of Blairs and Serenas. It's also home to one of the biggest malls in the country, where these Blairs and Serenas go to be seen, and plenty of designer boutiques along the Seoul equivalent of Fifth Avenue.

The point of Gangnam is to be seen there, and the streets are full of young, well-dressed teens mingling with the super-rich of the city. Seoul is the capital of Korea; Gangnam is, as Psy says, the capital of Seoul. It's so expensive that it accounts for almost 10% of the land value of the entire country.

Only the very wealthy can afford to live in Gangnam – not the kids in the latest styles who hang around its huge malls. As Psy says: "People who are actually from Gangnam never proclaim that they are."

If you're still working on the finishing touches for that Halloween costume? Take a style tip from the man himself: "Dress classy, dance cheesy." Horse dances for everyone!
· Gangnam Style: how Seoul's most exclusive neighbourhood went global [Guardian]
· Did Psy Just Air-Pony His Way Into a "Gangnam Style" Collab With Jill Stuart? [Racked]
· This Year's Top Costumes: Hunger Games, Gangnam Style [Racked NY]