Vintage Fail in Seoul

It seems like it has been quite a some time since I have actually been able to locate any vintage clothing so I was pretty excited when we were going to Seoul since it was a big, modern city, which I was hoping would mean I could do some good vintage shopping.

When we go to any large city I generally will do a Google search to see if I can locate any references to vintage clothing in the city.  When I Googled Seoul I got plenty of hits – I was excited that it seemed like there were so many opportunities for vintage shopping in Seoul.

After reading some I decided that I would try going to Gwangjang Market to do some shopping.  Since I am horrible at maps and directions the handsome husband brought me there to check it out.

He did a good job finding the market, and of course he loved walking around the main floor with all of the different food options.

Normally I would pay money to see an octopus in an aquarium, but at Gwangjang Market you could see them for free.  You also had the option to eat them, but I don’t eat seafood so it was pretty easy to pass on that one.

So anyway, everything I read said that the vintage clothing was on the second floor.  So after the husband enjoyed looking at the food section and trying various things, we headed up.  Unfortunately we didn’t see any vintage clothing, just lots and lots of fabric and places where you could get traditional Korean clothing made.

Hmmmmmmm, I hadn’t read about that.  Unfortunately I didn’t really remember any directions other than that the vintage stuff was on the second floor.  So we went back downstairs and looked around for another set of stairs, the logic being maybe they didn’t all lead to the same place.  So we found and went up at least two or three other sets of stairs, but each time all was saw was fabric and places where you could get some traditional clothing.

This photo was not taken at the Gwangjang Market, but it is an example of traditional Korean clothing.  I didn’t have any interest (or room in my backpack) for something like this.

At this point I was getting frustrated.  We saw two people that looked like volunteers or something who were there to provide tourist information, so we went up to them.  They didn’t speak much English, but one of them did speak Mandarin and since my husband also speaks Mandarin that’s how the communication went.  My Mandarin is pretty rudimentary so I didn’t understand most of the conversation.  The husband was told that all there was on the second floor were places to get traditional clothing made.  The information lady gave us a map and referred us to another market.

I wasn’t clear whether there was supposed to be any vintage clothing at this alternate location (I seriously doubt the husband knew how to say “vintage clothing” in Mandarin) but figured we’d give it a try.  So off we went following the map and we ended up at the Pyoung Hwa Clothing Market.

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At this point I really wasn’t too optimistic, but I dutifully walked around.  The clothing clearly was not vintage clothing, and I really didn’t even like any of it all that much.

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OK, I admit that I did like this tank, and looking back at this photo of it I wish I had bought it.

One interesting thing did happen while I was looking around taking photos – one lady apparently didn’t want me taking photos of her stall (I didn’t take any of her) and she pretty rudely yelled at me, so the photo from her stall isn’t shown here.  If she didn’t want any photos taken, she could’ve put a sign up, I have seen and respected those signs in plenty of shops, just saying, no need to be rude.

So anyway, we ended up conceding defeat after not finding any vintage clothing there and decided to press on and go see some tourist sights.  We’ll be back in Seoul later to catch our flight to Hong Kong, so maybe I’ll try again then.  I can’t really figure out if I just never found the right place at the Gwangjang Market or if there no longer is any vintage clothing there.  Either way, I’d have to call this adventure a big, fat FAIL.


If anybody who reads this actually knows whether there is still vintage clothing at the Gwangjang Market, any advice would be appreciated!

Oh, on a side note I saw a westerner walking around one evening in full vintage clothing attire.  I know I like to wear dresses usually from the 60s or 70s, but everything else I wear is modern (shoes, purse, etc.).  I never go all out with the vintage hat, gloves, shoes, etc.

But this girl/woman was decked out in what appeared to be all vintage with the dress, hat, parasol, etc. and I have to give her credit for pulling it off, I never expected to see something like that in Seoul.  Sadly I can’t even date her attire, maybe from somewhere in the 1900s to 1920s?  But I really have no idea – much older than the vintage I wear, that’s all I can say.  I guess maybe I am not a true vintage lover if I can’t even date her outfit!

I do have to wonder about the size of her suitcase if she has all of that vintage paraphernalia with her, although maybe she just lives in South Korea, that’s possible too. Either way, kudos to her.

Until next time…….



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