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Seoul Shopping: 6 best places to go to shop for clothes

Trendy, cheap, and good.

· 5 min read

Beyond its stunning palaces, bustling markets, and delectable street food, Seoul is a shopper's paradise. From high-end luxury boutiques to the trendy street fashion, the city offers a diverse range of shopping experiences that cater to every style and budget. In this article, we will explore some of the best places in Seoul to shop for fashion items, where you can indulge in retail therapy while immersing yourself in the city's unique culture.

1. Hongdae: Best for trendy fashion

Source: Prepare Travel Plans

Hongdae is definitely no stranger to most people visiting Seoul. Hongdae, short for Hongik University (Hongik Daehagkyo), is a buzzing district that is very commonly associated with being energetic, youthful, and trendy. Located just outside the university, it is no surprise that the shopping here will be geared towards university students - which also means: affordable and trendy.

At Hongdae, you will be able to find a good range of fashion items catering to both males and female; as well as a lot of food choices. It is a very, very popular district for students and young people in Seoul, and is also a very popular spot for tourists.

If you are up for a night of partying and clubbing, Hongdae is also a pretty good choice - though we would say that walking along the streets of Hongdae in the early morning isn't really the most pleasant.

Brave yourself for the crowds in the evening and on the weekends! If you want to shop when it is less crowded, consider visiting Hongdae in the afternoon on a weekday instead.

2. Ewha Women's University: Best for female fashion

Source: Seoulistic

For ladies, you might enjoy shopping at Ewha Women's University Shopping Street more. Ewha Women's University Shopping Street, also known as Edae, is a paradise for women fashion. Similar to Hongdae, its location around a university means you can expect to find affordable and trendy items!

The difference is that Ewha is a women's university, so you can expect the fashion trends and shops here to be geared towards females. Not only is Edae great for shopping for clothes, shoes, and accessories, there is also a wide range of cosmetic shops here perfect for those who are looking to pick up some Korean cosmetics.

For those who are thinking of getting a haircut in Seoul, Edae also has a fair share of salons that you can choose from!

3. Sinsa-dong / Garosu-gil: Best for independent brands

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Source: Visit Seoul

Sinsa-dong is a trendy and upscale district in the heart of Seoul. This area is known for its charming boutiques, chic cafes, and stylish concept stores. The stretch of road that is the most iconic in the area is Garosu-gil, a long stretch of road that is lined by tall trees.

But Garosu-gil had taken a rather bad hit due to the pandemic, and is now way quieter than it was before. That said, while the main street is quieter than before, the area around it is still bustling with activity and shops.

At Sinsa-dong, you can find a good mix of items. While it is known to be a haven for luxury brands, Sinsa-dong and the area around Garosu-gil is also home to a number of niche and independent brands.

Prices are generally higher here, but it is a great area for those seeking a more sophisticated shopping experience.

4. Myeongdong: Best for variety of common brands


Myeongdong probably doesn't need further introduction. One of the most popular tourist spots in Seoul, Myeongdong stands out as one of Seoul's busiest shopping districts. The tourist-driven Myeongdong was definitely one of the hardest hit districts during the pandemic, but it has since recovered back to its pre-pandemic levels.

Nestled in the heart of the city, this area is home to countless international and local brand stores, offering the latest trends in fashion, cosmetics, and accessories. Being a tourist hotspot, you can expect to find many common brand names in the district. If you only had one day to shop, and you needed to check out all these common brands, Myeongdong is your best bet.

A good thing about shopping in Myeongdong is also that many stores there allow for immediate tax-refunds. So bring along your passports in case you are planning to shop there! And, pro-tip — the money changers at Myeongdong (near the Chinese embassy) have one of the best rates in Seoul. While South Korea is very cash-free, it is always still good to have some emergency cash on hand!

But be warned. Myeongdong is very crowded. So crowded that we personally would avoid unless absolutely necessary.

5. GoTo Mall: Best for fast fashion

Source: Korea To Do

Generally, South Korea is very big on fast fashion; and they are a rather collectivist society. Trends change very fast - and what is trendy this spring is probably considered outdated the next spring. And, once something starts trending, it is not uncommon to see everyone wearing the same thing on the streets.

To find out what is currently trending, simply head to GoTo mall. The GoTo mall, sometimes referred to as the Express Bus Terminal (due to its location), is an underground shopping mall located near Gangnam.

Items here very in line with the latest trends. Walking one round in the GoTo mall will give you a very good sense of what is currently trending. They are also much, much cheaper. Though the quality may not be as good, they are a good option if you are into fast fashion and want to chase the latest trends — after all, you're probably not going to be wearing them for a very long time.

Perhaps worth nothing is that GoTo mall is heavily skewed towards ladies -- though they do also have shops selling male apparel. Aside from clothes, GoTo mall also has a section that sell household items like plates and vases.

6. Dongdaemun: Best for bulk purchases and cheap shopping

Source: Seoul Metropolitan Government

Dongdaemun is the place to go to pick up some cheap clothes. There are many malls around Dongdaemun, but what it is really known for is its wholesale markets. At its core, the Dongdaemun Market caters to wholesalers. That also means that if you are only looking to buy one or two pieces, the stall owners are likely not going to entertain you.

But, if you are traveling with a group of friends, and all of you want to pick up some clothes, then it might be a good idea to check out the Dongdaemun Market.

Dongdaemun is also known for the Dongdaemun Saebit Market - which is probably South Korea's largest counterfeit market. The Dongdaemun Saebit Market takes place at night, running from about 9pm to 2am. You will be able to find counterfeits of various grades; just take note that stall owners are rather sensitive about photos and videos so you might not want to put your phone away. Do prepare some cash if you are planning to shop at the Saebit market!

Alternatively, you can visit Dongdaemun on a Sunday morning for the Dongdaemun Sunday market. The Sunday market is more like a flea market, and there is a wide range of items that you can pick up there. It might not be the most organised, but you can find some really good steals there!