Sunday, August 29, 2010

Leather, leopard print and rockabilly

Last weekend, I attended a rockabilly night in Hongdae. The evening was inundated with quiffs, full skirts, tattoos, leather and leopard print from retro bands the Rocktigers and Hot Dog Buddy Buddy. The guys wore leather trousers and leopard print shirts whilst the girls wore neckties, gingham and full skirts. Here are some pics of these very stylized musicians.

Please read my previous entry on the Rocktigers for more info on them.

Well Dressed Boy from the Weekend

When I started blogging, I wanted to find well-dressed Seoulites. I have seen a lot of very stylish people. However, it is slightly scary approaching people, worried they wont understand me or think I'm a crazy Western girl. Last night, I finally took a photo of a lovely boy wearing bright red high tops, yellow socks, blue shorts and geeky specs. All very Korean. From now on, I will not be so nervous approaching people and hopefully, next weekend, I will find more well-dressed Seoulites.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Purchases from Hongdae

My purchases from the weekend, all found in boutiques in Hongdae.

A hair piece made from vinatge material.

An ikat inspired dress. Perfect for keeping cool in these hot temperatures

A silk, black and camel vest.

Turquoise and gold ring. Slightly tacky, but I like it.

The Art of Shopping: Hongdae

Hongdae is a cheap, cheerful and eclectic area to shop. With small boutiques and vintage shops in dilapidated buildings, this area is charming. Beside Hongik University, a prestigious arts university, the main clientele is creative students, hunting for the latest trends. Seoul's indie scene is based here too and so, you often see cool rockers and odd characters among the stylish students. At the weekend, the Saturday Free Market attracts families and visitors alike. Principally organised by students, the market sells handmade jewellery, customised clothing, artwork and other creative bits and pieces: purses, notebooks and hats. Innovative, frivolous and original, the produce here is ideal for gifts or if you would like something unique.

The main street in Hongdae, Eo Ulmadang-gil, is minutes away from the subway. Here has the highest concentration of boutiques. The surrounding streets are a meandering maze. Every time I go to Hongdae, I discover new, winding alleyways lined with small, quaint boutiques. I really enjoy wandering about here, perusing the unusual clothing and vintage accessories.

(Photos taken by me)

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Opposite of Alexa Chung and Kate Moss

When I was 16, I eagerly attended my first music festival, welly boots and navy rain jacket in toe. Back then, music festivals were not popular with the masses. You could wait a week before the festival to buy your ticket and more importantly, it did not matter what you wore.

Eight, long years have passed since those blissful days and how things have changed. Tickets have tripled in price and sell out so quickly, the line up has not even been announced. In addition to this stress, we are expected to get the "festival look" championed by none other than Topshop. Constituting Hunter Wellies, a Barbour jacket and denim cut offs, this look was made popular by Kate Moss and Alexa Chung. Forget about battling the elements, rain and mud, we have to look fashionable too, without a VIP area, rock star boyfriend or shower for three days. Shops in Britain are now dedicated to selling clothes and wellies purely for festivals whilst magazines hunt for the best dressed festival goers. Scared of judgment, my friends and I have carefully planned our outfits for each day of a festival without considering the weather. Consequently, we have frozen or got very bad tan lines. I admit this ashamedly.

So, last Sunday, wearing obligatory denim shorts and Ray Bans, I went to a free rock festival in Seoul. Like the magazines, I hoped to find some unusual style. However, I was surprised to find no carefully, executed fashion, only grannies, grandpas, families and spotty teenagers. People were only there to enjoy the music, not to look cool. Although I was slightly disappointed I didn't get photographs for my blog, it was very refreshing and reminiscent of my young, festival days. Maybe Alexa and co at Glastonbury could learn a thing or two from Korea.

(Photo taken by me)

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Remembering Andre Kim

Andre Kim, Korea's most acclaimed designer, died on Thursday, after battling cancer since 2005. Born in 1935, Kim was arguably Korea's first male designer, opening his first boutique "Salon Andre" in 1962, after graduating from Kukje design school. Furthermore, he was the first Korean designer to exhibit his collections in Paris in 1966, an amazing achievement which now inspires young, budding Korean designers. With an inclination for white suits and a touch of make-up, Kim then accomplished global recognition for his work, dressing Michael Jackson and Brooke Shields. He provided his audiences with stunning, fantasy inspired shows, presenting his collections at the pyramids in Egypt and at Angkor Wat in Cambodia.

Conscientious but extravagant, Kim was renowned for his beautiful, wedding dresses and evening wear. A French journalist even characterised him as a "Magician from Fairyland". His design aesthetic was Asiatic in detail, applying cherry blossom, lotus flowers and birds to his designs. Utilizing a bold colour palette, Kim's collections featured swathes of luxury fabric, embroidered, pleated and ruffled, adorned with sequins and jewels.

Considering fashion, Kim said, "Fashion should portray grace, intellect, artistic beauty, and youthful energy. Not too classic. I don't like 'old.' Even though I was born in 1935, I don't feel my age. I feel like a teenager who is 10 or 15 or 20 years old in a fairy tale, a fantasy, young and brilliant." And Kim certainly produced beautiful, artistic designs, that will continue to be worn with delight and gratification by women everywhere. A detailed account of Andre Kim's life can be read here and his collections can be viewed here

The Art of Shopping: Dongdaemun

Chaotic, bustling and immense, Dongdaemun is one of Seoul's most notorious shopping destinations for locals and tourists alike. Consisting of five towering malls, this area is packed with shoppers at the weekend. I would suggest going early, if not, you will have a very stressful shopping experience. Furthermore, because of the sheer immensity of clothes, it may take a while to find what you are looking for. The fashion ranges from affordable to purse breaking, tacky to beautiful.

One of my preferred malls is Doota, which is full of boutique style shops. Although it is slightly more expensive than the others, it is extremely more organised with each floor catering to a different age group. During my perusing on a Sunday morning, I have found some interesting pieces such as a petal, silk dress and printed harem trousers. In comparison to Doota, the other malls are crammed, hot but cheaper. Unfortunately, this is the only photograph I took of Doota before being told I needed a press pass. Very annoying. In fact, I was so annoyed I didn't buy anything!

Dongdaemun can be reached by line 4.

Internet Shopping in Korea

Since I was fifteen, I have adored the British high street, I would save my pocket money for those flared jeans (it was 1999, remember) from Topshop. Then, as I grew older, I discovered online shopping and began a very expensive relationship with Asos. I have spent many hours captivated and enthralled by its delights. In retrospect, this was indicative of the shopping habit I now have. Admiringly, the British high street makes high fashion from the catwalks affordable by replicating the trends. And then, makes this easily accessible online.

And yet, my love had waned slightly over the last few months. Topshop is now ridiculously expensive. Exhibit number 1:

Aviator jackets are one of the key winter trends and I realise they are going to be expensive considering the detailing, leather and sheepskin. At 325 pounds though, this is very pricey for Topshop. Sorry I digress.

More importantly, I now live in Korea and so far, I have only referenced British online stores. Very silly since this first and foremost is a Korean fashion blog. Korea does not have a high street per se, instead it has malls, department stores and boutiques. It does have very popular brands only available online though. Two of the most prominent are Sechnua and Rowky. Sechnua has some stylish tees whilst Rowky can be characterised as skater girl meets 80s punk princess. Not for the sophisticated or old. Unfortunately, these stores to do not ship abroad. However, the other Korean brands below are available at and do ship to the UK and the US, quite cheaply. This website stocks affordable to designer fashion from Korea, Japan and other Asian countries.

Pink Diamond

You are a Girl

Paul Anne




These stores may not be to every ones liking. Korean fashion is very feminine and romantic but often, quite frankly, very strange. Koreans are slightly infatuated by bows, frills, unnecessary sequins and very short hemlines. Not good for tall people like me. Furthermore, they do not seem to follow trends like the British High street. I have not spotted any aviator jackets or capes on so far.

Conversely, if you have the patience to search, you can find some well cut, eye catching pieces, particularly from the designer collections. The fashion is also distinctly Korean which I now find quite charming. I'm not sure if will ever fully replace my love for the British High Street, even now while I'm living here. With my shopping habits though, I will spend hours perusing the online Korean stores.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

High Street Capes

I recently posted an entry about capes and their dominance on the catwalks for this coming winter. Whilst procrastinating at work and avoiding marking cryptic English journals, I found these two high street versions online from Asos. The first is hooded with military style epaulets whilst the second is camel wool and mohair lined with leather. Now, I need to find styles in Korea or Ill be paying a hefty shipping fee.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010


I think blogs can often be very self indulgent, an outlet for people to air their opinions, however, crazy, absurd or pointless. However, originally, when I started blogging, I wanted to showcase Seoulites style as well as write about my own crazy thoughts and observations. So far, I've been unable to do this, due to finances and therefore no camera. Last weekend, I finally invested in a lovely, albeit complicated, camera. I am quite a technophobe but this weekend I'm going to embark on my first expedition to find cool, Seoul style and shops. In the meantime, here are some fashionable Seoulites from Streetpeeper, one of my favourite websites.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Caped Crusaders

When it comes to weather, I am never content. In winter, with its freezing temperatures and consequently, my frostbitten feet, I longed for warmth, sunny days and floral dresses. Red noses and pale skin no more. Now, we are in the midst of summer and, unfortunately, it is not as I expected. Instead of having beautiful bronzed skin and wearing an array of pretty summer dresses, I am literally a mess. And, a sweaty one at that with a flushed face and hair that can can only be described as frizzy and chaotic. I am tired of wearing flimsy clothes, constantly worried I am showing too much flesh. I am a responsible teacher after all.

The seasons are so extreme here that I wish for Scottish weather. At home, summer constitutes one or two hot days, average temperatures, no humidity and drinking in the park until it starts raining. Although, my fond recollections are better than the reality in Scotland of no summer at all.

So, to distract myself from the 91% humidity outside, I have been looking forward to one of the major trends of winter, capes. Think military officers, Russian Czars or 1940s fur stoles as opposed to superheros. From short capelets to long 60s style ponchos, capes were awash on the catwalks in gothic leather, luxe velvet and camel tones. There are many styles to choose from- military, hooded, embroidered or preppy. Lets have a look.

Julien MacDonald

Sallavatore Ferragamo

Christian Dior


The final picture is a beautiful embroidered cape from Alexander McQueen's last collection. So, capes are one of the definitive winter pieces. However, there are certain hazards to wearing capes, as Edna from The Incredibles shows.....perhaps avoid wearing on planes....

So, investing in a cape is not the best idea if you want to become a superhero. As for me, there is only three months until freezing temperatures, red noses and wishing for summer again.... but at least I can wear a cape.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

When in Korea... nail varnish in pastel or fluorescent shades. I have noticed Korean women's penchant for colourful nail varnish- baby pink, mint green and bright orange. It reminds me of nail varnish I wore in my teenage years and now, I do feel younger wearing it. I'm rebelling against my mum all over again. Chanel nail varnish is excellent and luxurious, wrapped in its small gold, box but nail varnish can be bought very cheaply here, in Korean cosmetic stores such as Etude and Banila Co.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Korean designers: Doii Lee

Shimmer, sequins, vivid, fairytale and timeless.... these are a few words that can be used to describe Doii Lee's work. In a recent interview, the Korean designer defined her work as "sexy and fun with an innocent edge" and an "ultra feminine touch". Doii Lee graduated from Central St Martins with a BA in fashion design and knitwear in 2002. She was chosen as one of the top 10 most promising graduates of the year for the Victoria and Albert Museum 'fashion in motion' show. She began her career, working for John Galliano in Paris and was then headhunted by Antonio Marras, the art director for Kenzo. She established her first collection for her line Doii Paris in 2006, on the runways of Paris itself. Since then, she has appeared in fashion shows in Paris and Seoul. Now, Doii lives and designs in London, although her pieces are made in couture studios in Seoul.

Doii's Spring/summer 2010 collection was inspired by a painting by the Japanese artist Ikeda Mana, from his exhibition "Neoteny". Featuring a vivd colour palette of pink, turquoise and black, Doii's collection is exceptionally feminine, with busy, detailed geometric prints applied to simple, elegant shapes. The unique prints of hearts, flowers and plants are designed as if looking through a kaleidoscope. Doii suggests this as an inspiration "when the world dazzles and glitters as if ones looking through a kaleidoscope, it passes its infinite energy to me." In addition, embellishments and transparent sequins were added to create movement and shine. Small cute, bows and pleating were also featured quite prominently, emphasising the clothes appealing girlishness. In a collection mainly comprising of dresses, there are a few notable, distinctive pieces. The kimono sleeve trench coat is beautiful as is the black leather dress with cut out back, high collar and contrasting, embroidered belt.

Overall, Doii's designs are original, using a broad range of texture such as cotton, lace and silk, in vivid colours. Her illustrated, fairytale-esque prints give us an insight into her imagination and creativity. Doii designs highly feminine, luxury women's wear for those who "seek beautiful, novel designs that glisten with daring, Independence and glamour." And, they literally do glisten with sequins, sparkles and embellishments. Her designs are definitely not for the faint-hearted as Doii says herself "my designs are ageless but you have to be sure of yourself to wear sequins!" I think you definitely need a big amount of sass to wear her designs, subtle they are certainly not.
Doii's 2009 and 2010 collections and sketches can be viewed at