Trends & Style

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


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!