Created on Saturday, 12 February 2011 02:54
Written by Nicole Ow Yeong
Korea is often looked upon as Asia’s leading fashion country but there are simply far too many shopping areas in Korea to mention each and every one of them. However, here are some of the must-visit shopping areas that cater more to young adults.
One of the must-go shopping places in Korea is Myeong dong, a shopping destination with a huge selection of styles and sizes, and where you have the freedom of strolling down the streets while window shopping.
The shopping areas in Myeong dong range from large departmental stores like Migliore, Lotte Department Store, Avatar and High Harriet, to the lesser-known specialty shops. The main streets are filled with larger, well-known stores but many of the better bargains are found at some of the discount stores inside. But whether you are looking for athletic wear, accessories, boots, shoes or anything else, you will find it all here at Myeong dong.
Shopping is extremely convenient. Everything is within walking distance and there is also an endless list of restaurants and cafes shoppers to head into for a quick pit stop when they are tired and hungry.
One of the main highlights of Myeong dong would be its makeup stores – all which peddles products for only a fraction of the price in Singapore.
Some few notable makeup stores are the Etude House, The Faceshop, Holika Holika, Skinfood, Tony Moly and Nature Republic. And each store has their own theme. For example, all the staff in Etude house would be dressed in sweet pink and, in Holika Holika, they will be wearing a funky dark purple and a light green wig.
Singaporeans would love to hear this: aside from their cheap makeup products, many free samples would be thrown in along with your purchase. The more you buy, the more freebies you get.
Dong Dae Mun
No other shopping area comes close to attracting as many shoppers hungry for deals as Korea’s largest wholesale and retail shopping district, Dong Dae Mun.
Like at Myeong dong, you will find a wide range of products at Dongdaemun, from silk fabric, apparel, shoes, sporting goods, to even plumbing and electronic supplies, office stationary, toys and just about everything else imaginable. Regardless of what you are looking for, you can surely find it in here. It is also located centrally, making it extremely accessible.
But the main reason why Dongdaemun attracts so many shoppers is its hours of operation. Wholesalers operate from 1 am right through to 1 pm and retailers from 1 am to 6 pm. The late-night shopping brings swarm of buyers from all over to hunt for low prices and to experience the bustling nightlife.
That aside, the enormous departmental stores of Doosan Tower and Migliore there are known to be today’s hippest stores for youngsters. Shoppers can find the latest fashions, inexpensive jewelry, CDs, shoes, bags and even wigs. Many young, rookie designers have all opened shop at the shopping haunt too.
There are also some must-go departmental stores. The first of which is Doota!.
Within Doota is more than ten floors of wall-to-wall fashion outlets and shoppers will spend a lot of time in there simply because there is far too much to see. There, the designers part-time as the salespersons as well, so shoppers can have any of their questions answered immediately.
Migliore is another option for department store seekers on the hunt for fashionable designs. The things sold there are similar to Doota!’s and spreads out over a multitude of floors too. The prices are reasonable and shoppers can bargain for a better price – it is uncommon that anyone pays the stated price. There is also a food court for those hungry and exhausted from shopping for a long while and need some food and rest to replenish their energy.
Next up, Pyeonghwa market is located right next to Doota and it is shaped like a long corridor with a series of stalls that sells accessories such as scarves, belts, hats and fur products. The items sold at Pyeonghwa are extremely cheap since it is mainly a wholesale market. The more you buy, the cheaper it gets. Shoppers will be easily hoard a lot of treasures in there as the items are fairly organized.
Walking on, the area located near Ewha Women’s University, an all-women’s university, is without a doubt flourishing by offering an array of items tailored strictly to the needs of the female student body a mere stone’s throw away.
The layout is pretty straightforward. The shops and boutiques are situated in close proximity with the university campus, making it much more convenient for the majority of their shoppers. Every item from accessories, shoes, handbags and sports apparel to formal wear and cosmetics can be found at the many side streets that weave in and out of the main roads, and shoppers can find both upper end as well as lower end brands in Ewha.
The edge Ewha has over its neighbouring shopping districts is that many of the stores carry fashion items that are suited mainly to younger, female shoppers. With that in mind, the styles are fairly more liberal and extravagant. Shoppers will stumble upon popular labels. However, the deals to look out for are mostly on the lesser-known, authentic items. Originality trumps uniformity here. Shoppers must explore the area and familiarize themselves first and the sooner they get their bearings they will be able to spend the rest of the day comfortably following the latest trends.
Another advantage Ewha has over other shopping areas is that prices are possibly the cheapest in Seoul – even more so than Myeongdong, largely because shop owners bear in mind that students usually have very limited budgets. Hence, some of the best deals in Seoul can be found here if shoppers hunt for them.
A shop to check out there would be shoe shop, Cosage.
It is located just off the main road and features a pretty selection of footwear for the young and hip as well as several formal designs for those with slightly more sophisticated tastes. The styles are less extravagant than some of the other shoe shops. Prices of shoes range from 20 to 70 Singapore dollars and the service is quite friendly.
Another shop to take note of would be Mano.
Mano, a very trendy and quasi-European store, has a much more elaborate selection of shoes. The upmarket interior stocks a great range of footwear mostly for formal occasions although there are plenty of less formal styles to choose from.
Apgujeong & Cheogndam
In the affluent areas of Apgujeong and Cheongdam, there is not as wide a selection of shops as, for example, Myeongdong, but what they lack in variety, they most certainly make up ten fold in quality.
With almost no street stands or outdoor vendors, most of the purchasing is done indoors at lavish department stores or the numerous fashionable shops along the side streets of this “Beverly Hills of Seoul”.
While Apgujeong remains more of a magnet for those in their 20s, Cheongdam continues to attract a slightly older crowd of 30 to 40-year-olds.
The first place to hit within these two areas would be Rodeo Drive.
Prada, Gucci, Dolce & Gabbana, Hugo Boss, Jil Sander, Armani, Louis Vuitton, just to name a few, are just some of the designers that have stores looming along the corridor connecting Cheongdam to Apgujeong. And with an overwhelming display of selection and both attractive and knowledgeable staff, it is no surprise that this is usually where celebrities and successful entrepreneurs come to do their shopping.
Next would be the Galleria Department Store.
This is probably Apgujeong’s most trendy trademark. Split into two separate buildings, East Gate and West Gate, the impressive architectural addition of the latter features 4330 glass discs mounted to the existing concrete structure that light up at night. The lavish interiors were designed to bear a resemblance to a glossy catwalk, with wide, bright corridors flanked by beautiful shops, cosmetic counters and a huge variety of grooming products. The West Gate also has a large supermarket, wine shop and bakery located at basement level.
A short walk away from Galleria Department Store is the long, winding stretch of Rodeo Street. Shops along here are much smaller and often only carry limited numbers of particular styles, making items much more original and unique. You can find brands such as Banana Republic, GAP, American Outfitters and Old Navy that are often harder to track down at larger stores or shopping malls.