Shopping in Korea for Korean Fashion? Don’t Get Ripped Off!

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If you’re shopping in Korea, you might fall in love with the Korean fashion sold in independent shops and on the streets. The prices are very reasonable, and you might find some nice Korean fashion items for you to rock back at home! But wherever you go in Seoul (and many other places in Korea) you will find vendors selling the same Korean fashion items at different prices. Here’s why!

Imagine this totally common scenario for travelers to Korea:

You’re meeting a few friends at Gangnam station for lunch. While waiting you decide to shop for the latest Korean fashion trends. You see a super cool t-shirt for 15,000 won, say “suhweet!” do a quick Gangnam style horse dance and buy it on the spot. Later, you take a taxi to Hongdae University for dinner and you pass by a Korean fashion store selling the same item for 10,000 won. You look to the sky with hands spread wide and high and say “arghhh!!!” Now, it’s time to go home. You make your way to the subway station, and in there is a sweet ol’ ajumma selling the same exact thing for 5,000 won. You crumble to the floor and start mumbling “why me?” over and over. Eventually you become a crazy homeless foreigner with unwashed hair, unable to stop mumble senselessness. But at least your are wearing a super cool but overpriced t-shirt. This is a very common scenario (relatively speaking).

This happened to you because most Korean fashion vendors (whether they’re selling on the street, in stores, in subway stations or out of the back of a truck) all get their Korean fashion items from the same place: Dongdaemun, the epicenter of Korean fashion.

But if you want the latest Korean fashion trends for the best price, here are some tips to make your Seoul shopping experience less insane in the membrane!
 

Tip #1: Although Dongdaemun is the center of Korean fashion, you might not find the cheapest prices. Go to Dongdaemun for the most variety in the latest Korean fashion; they will have all the Korean fashion items sold everywhere in Korea, just maybe not necessarily the cheapest prices.

Probably cheaper!

Tip #2: Area matters for pricing. Generally, college towns have reputations for being cheaper than other popular areas (i.e. Gangnam, Itaewon, etc.). Here’s a few college town suggestions for getting the same Korean fashion items for cheaper: Shinchon Station (line 2), Ehwa Woman’s University Station (line 2), Sookmyung Women’s University (line 4), Anam Station (line 6), Gyeondae University Station (line 2).

Tip #3: Vendors selling from subway stations, trucks and the street are typically the cheapest for buying Korean fashion. They don’t have to pay rent, so most of the time they’ll sell for cheap. And they’re also open to bargaining (depending on how good you are!).

Have your own tips for shopping in Seoul for Korean fashion? Share with us in the comments!

Also, if you make your own Korean street fashion outfit online with TheHallyu.com!

Keith
Keith
Keith Kim is a Korean-American who has been living in Korea for almost a decade. Being in a unique position as both a Korean and a non-Korean, he's put all his experience and knowledge for surviving in Korea in Survival Korean . Read it to learn how you can survive in Korea. Follow him on Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram.

15 Comments

  1. syreolli says:

    Thanks for this as I will use it on my next trip to Seoul in January.
    I got stung BIG time in Dongdaemun as I bought a hoodie for 45,000won, a bargain compared to UK prices in my eyes and in a XL so it was actually baggy on me! I understand the fore mentioned diss appointment when I reached Ewha to find the same hoodie for 18,000won. Not all items are expensive though i want to point out as i did get some bargains but I guess you live and you learn.

  2. Fanny says:

    Me too!!!!! I bought a pair of tights at itaewon for 15,000 won cause my cousin said it was a good price. When I went down the subway station I saw the same exact pair selling for 10,000 won!!!!! >:( I was so upset. But good to know. Thanks for the tips as always! 😀

  3. Wilre says:

    Dammit, wish I had this tip last week. I bought a jacket for 60,000 won at Dongdaemun and saw the same one at ehwa for 30,000. i was so mad!

  4. 147 says:

    This doesn’t just apply to fashion, you can find prices vary for regular items as well.

    I went to E-Mart looking for a travel sized bottle of shampoo. The price wasn’t marked where it was in the store, but when I got to the cashier, it was an astonishing 4,500 won! I walked out without the shampoo, the price was just too ludicrous.

    I got down to the subway station, and found the exact same bottle of shampoo for 1,000 won, and snatched it up. My advice for any foreigner is to check the subway stations before buying anything elsewhere, unless you hate money. And for anything that isn’t fashion? If you can’t find it in the subway, hit up a Daiso before you shop anywhere else.

  5. Tina says:

    Hey I am Korean. Since I am a kind of girl, I would like to go to Ehwa U and Hongdae for shopping. Around the Ehwaw there are many shops which sell the products for reasonable price and some of are not very cheap. however, quality is better than cheaper one. also in Hongdae there are more shops than Ehwa, u CAN’T look around there for only one day. There are really many small stores located backstreet. The price is not very cheap but u can find the unique stuffs. Have a good trip in Korea 🙂 oh…! and subway station is also a good place to shop! especially at Gangnam, Yeong Deng Po Gu Cheong? station(near by LOTTE and TIME SQUARE? )

  6. seoulmate says:

    Hi, thank you for your nice information 🙂 We are seoul free tour organization consist of only university students. Many postings in seoistic are really helpful for us too.

  7. Couldn’t agree more. Seoul is a heaven for shoppers with numerous mega-shopping centers. You can really shop till you drop. Seoul is famous for high quality goods coupled with excellent and reasonable prices.

  8. Jas says:

    Great post! Dongdaemun shopping malls have the largest selection of all fashion items. And from a few years ago, Doota (one of the malls in this area) has been running a special project to promote upcoming Korean designers. I want to share a website where I sometimes go for an online shopping, http://www.mootta.com, that carries upcoming Korean designers for customers out of Korea. They have the lastes fashions and trends of Korean designers of clothing, acc, and bags. Now on a huge sale too! Hope you enjoy shopping!

  9. coby says:

    nice post.. rather cute post! I bet I’ll spend a lot of time looking at those cute things!

  10. Min Yambot says:

    Ugh. I remember buying a jacket for 25,000 won (Or 15,000? I forgot) at Myeondong and a few days later, when I went to dongdaemun, found it being sold at 7,000. -___-

  11. Macci says:

    Hello, i like those cute things; i gonna to buy korean apparel from http://www.coco-fashion.com – do you think they really sell korean things?

  12. Macci says:

    i received my order 3 days ago, love items from coco-fashion.com; i like they have different sizes, not only one universal size. I’m looking for some men korean clothing for my bf – any ideas?

  13. Mohammad s.s says:

    I was in Seoul 2 years ago and bought a pair of shoes for ( I think ) 60,000 won in subway market ( neer Lotte market ) . I asked the seller is it made in Korea? He said yes ! When I came back to hotel I found it made by Chains !!!?? I came back to my country , after 5 times wearing it went fuck !? Now I am going to go Korea in 23 March again. I hope can find the seller and ….. him !?

  14. AW says:

    Ah, so true. Wish I would have read this before my trip. Korea in general is not cheap. I’ve been to China and Japan(more so in China) where you can impulse buy all day since things are so cheap. Nope, not in Korea. Yes, some things are cheaper than the US but at at 50-60k won(depending who you are) for certain things, you may actually have to really really like the article of clothing or whatever before making your purchase. But one thing is for sure! You can’t go wrong buying socks in Korea! Coolest socks for cheap! Cool 1k won jewelry in Myeongdong too if you look hard enough.

  15. Siti says:

    I wish I read this before my trip to Seoul.
    There were few items which we bought with vast different prices when we saw at different shops.
    Handbag for 30K won but saw it at another place for 16k won.( heart pain)
    Snack for 10kwon & @another place for 6k won.( not too bad)
    Two blouses for 85k won but when reached hotel realized that the material quality not worth the price.( most heart pain)
    Shopping in Korea was not cheap at all & felt cheated.

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