Social media influencer and YouTube sensation Song Ji-a (also known as Free Zia) is under public scrutiny for wearing knock-off designer clothing on South Korean reality dating show Single’s Inferno.
As one of the most popular contestants of the show, netizens and viewers clearly had their eyes on her and on her social media accounts. Ji-a was often seen wearing high-end brands like Chanel and Dior on the show, with fellow contestant Moon Se-hoon commenting that “she was the most ‘bling bling’ and fabulous” among all the female contestants.
After the show aired, Ji-a was later accused by online users in web forums, saying that she had been wearing counterfeit designer items on the show, such as a pink knitted Chanel top, a Marine Serre-style dress, a Dior logo tube top, and a pair of earrings from Van Cleef & Arpels. Some eagle-eyed netizens compared Ji-a’s photos with BLACKPINK’s Jennie, saying that there are slight differences in the color in pattern in comparison to the real thing.
On January 18, 2022, Song Ji-a posted a handwritten letter on Instagram, apologizing for “disappointing and hurting” people because of the controversy. She also mentioned that “she will recognize the severity of the issue and reflect” upon her actions and that she will “live more responsibly” in the future.
View this post on Instagram
With her online persona Free Zia focusing on luxury fashion and lifestyle content, it became understandable that the issue blew out of proportion in Korean social media circles, with others saying that they felt “deceived and misled.”
Singles Inferno Song Jia in a controversy for wearing fake designer outfits on public broadcasts pic.twitter.com/iO0DU0UEFQ
— another not pannchoa (@notpannchoa2) January 16, 2022
Freezia / Song Jia from the reality show “Single’s Inferno” is criticized by knetz for wearing fakes / knock-offs of luxury brands while trying to maintain a “golden spoon” image
— NOT Pannchoa (@pannchoaNOT) January 18, 2022
However, for her international fans, it’s a whole different story. Contrary to Ji-a’s fellow countrymen, international fans have been showing their support for the influencer and see no need for her to apologize for that. Some have even been commenting on how unnecessary the hate was towards Song Ji-a.
song jia going on live television wearing CUCCI, Balentino, Shanel, Frada and Palenciaga pic.twitter.com/9QglQjGiDt
— YUJIN ⁉️ (@bbyjimjams) January 17, 2022
you guys are mad at jia for wearing fake designers but she still rock it better than most of u that have a real piece 🤣 all of u mad at capitalism but then get mad over shit like this make it make sense lmao. u guys doing free job for these brands UNPAID pic.twitter.com/s5gR72m1o1
— ･:*☆ asha :･ﾟ★ (@girlmeetcouture) January 17, 2022
The scandal that Song Ji-a wore fake designer clothes on Singles Inferno?
Who cares? What she needs to do is send me her Aliexpress links.
— Samantha Lui 呂詠琛 (@samanthalui_) January 17, 2022
Song ji-a getting dragged because fake brands and she said the only plastic surgery she did was her nose je???? 👀👀👀👀👀👀👀
— rt cattos and doggos (@malingdo) January 19, 2022
knetz are so weird for making song ji ah apologize for wearing fake designer clothes lmao it’s such a weird thing to apologize for and also it’s literally okay.. it doesn’t matter if it’s real or not, it’s the way you wear it and if you look good wearing it
— ً rie (@vanttefm) January 18, 2022
I dont understand why knetz be hating on Song Ji A (dont know her but i keep seeing her in every article) because she's wearing a "knock-off" clothes and the company were paying for her house? I understand about her wearing fake bc it can infringe the hard work of the designer+
— ✨ Melverse ✨/// JAEJUN AND JOOAN DEBUT!😍 (@ddaraddaddara) January 19, 2022
The whole Song Ji-a “scandal” is killing me lmaoo, y’all are not working enough to be this bothered by a woman wearing fake designer
— Puta Pendeja (@lilsushi23) January 18, 2022
i can’t believe they had song ji-a write a whole apology she don’t owe y’all nothing
— rho (@rhodayyy) January 18, 2022
not people making song jia apologize for wearing fake luxury clothes on singles inferno… how’s that any of our concern 😭 and it isn’t a crime either
— julia (@vcutdoII) January 17, 2022
Why are knetz so mad about song jia wearing fake designer?? (also from what I've gathered it was one shirt and the rest of her stuff is real) Like what happened to the whole anti-capitalism thing ppl r going on about…
— Dani💜⁷⟭⟬ (@koossparkles) January 17, 2022
song jia posting a handwritten apology for wearing fake luxury clothes and accessories ??? why are they always so mad at everything pic.twitter.com/C2xHQtDVvK
— kamilah (@yootddies) January 17, 2022
song jia writing an apology letter for wearing fake luxury clothes on singles inferno??? why are those knetz always so miserable pic.twitter.com/OQGeAw7LJ6
— ashley (@prodhynjj) January 17, 2022
if the chanel headquarters in korea were a little SMART, they could use this opportunity to bag song jia as an ambassador bc fake or not, she must’ve given them an insane amount of promo for ppl to find out her fits were fake in the first place
— ً (@girlblogstar) January 17, 2022
now people have to apologize for not affording designer's clothes??? this is so sick 😐 song jia, get behind me https://t.co/GNVjbSmShP
— lyne🌙 (@soleilxetlune) January 17, 2022
From an international fan’s perspective, the situation does seem to have been blown out of proportion, considering the tendency of Korean online users to focus their hate-bomb on a single person. But, in an article by Steffi Cao from Buzzfeed where she interviewed Korean-American social media agency owner Courtney Park who translated Song Ji-a’s apology on TikTok, she said that it’s not a surprise to see a difference in the reactions of Korean netizens and Western fans.
In that article, Park explained that “South Korean culture is highly image-conscious” and that “there is a bigger emphasis on where you shop versus how you look for Korean content creators,”. Aside from those being the main reasons why Korean netizens are in an uproar, lying is also a big no-no in South Korea’s highly conservative culture.
So, there we have it. What do you think about this whole controversy, was Song Ji-a just being a material gworl, was she wrong, or do you think that this shouldn’t even be an issue?
Other POP! stories you might like: