Seoul is a shopper’s paradise, a mecca of coats, shoes, bags, hats, jewelry, etc – everything you could ever possibly dream of. The little shops in Korea cater to the latest trends as well as offer classic staples that you can wear for years to come. Whatever you’re in the market for, Korea will have it in a wide variety of sizes, shapes, and colours. Even more outstanding are the streets lined with beauty supplies, shop upon shop of stores that offer the largest selection of skincare and make up at the most affordable prices. Here you can find every variety of facemask available on the market, costing only $1 per mask. If you find yourself in Korea, here are the streets and stores to check out:
The charming streets of Hongdae sit in the delightful university town of Hongik University. Lined with small boutique shops and multi-level shopping malls, Hongdae offers every variety of shopping you could imagine. There’s a boutique to explore on every turn in Hongdae, as you wander through the alleyways of the neighbourhood. Here I found affordable jeans, fall layering jackets, and t-shirts from local shops, to internationally acclaimed handbags in the large malls. Accessible via subway, take the Green Line to Hongik University and exit through gate 8 or 9.
Stores to check out in Hongdae:
Charles and Keith – A destination for beautifully designed, contemporary handbags, Seoul is one of four Asian countries that has a standalone Charles and Keith store.
Image via Style Story
Too Cool For School – One of many beauty brands in Korea, I found Too Cool for School to be the coolest, from their on point branding to their huge range of products. The store in Hongdae was less crowded than the one in Myeong-dong and I felt less pressure from the sales associate when browsing and trying products on.
Hongdae Shopping Street – Not so much a store, but an entire strip of shopping including boutiques like H&M, Zara, and other comparable Korean chains. It starts right across from the middle of Hongdae, where the Hongdae information booth sits. The stores in Hongdae do not open until at least 11AM, but they stay open until 11PM, so plan for this if you’re low on time.
The most vibrant shopping district in Seoul, the neon streets of Myeong-dong is listed as the ninth most expensive shopping street in the world. Packed to the brim with stores, street food, street vendors, and tourists, every turn is another street packed with shops and feels like walking into a labyrinth. Myeong-dong is where various bloggers and friends have suggested purchasing beauty products because sales associates offer free samples just for walking into the store. Easily accessible via transit, take the Blue Line to Myeongdong station and exit through gate 4.
Image via Designboom
Innisfree – Similar to other beauty stops like The Face Shop, Etude House or Skinfood, you’ll find a variety of beauty and skincare goods at Innisfree. The difference with Innisfree is the breathtaking storefronts – walking into the store you’ll be transported into a lush green enchanted forest with wooden accents and moss hanging from the ceilings. There’s a calming nature that the store provides in one of the busiest and most crowded streets in Seoul.
Image via Cute in Korea
Art Box – The cutest stationary store in Seoul, Art Box offers more than just stationary. Here you’ll also find household items, cute travel accessories, and other knick knacks you didn’t know you needed.
Image via Visit Korea
ABC Market – A huge discount shoe chain in Korea, ABC Market stocks everything from Spierry to Adidas to household Korean brands. With two massive levels, shoe lovers can spend hours getting lost perusing the shelves in this store.
EWHA Women’s University
Right in front of Ewha Women’s University, the Ewha Women’s University Fashion Street this is the best place to shop for young women’s clothing. Streets are lined with stalls upon stalls of fashion goods, accessories, shoes, artisan jewelry and quaint cafes. Prices are very affordable due to the heavy student population, and the area is easily accessible by train – take the Green Line to Ewha Women’s University and exit through gate 2.