Shopping in Korea can sometimes be overwhelming! That’s why I’ve created this handy-dandy guide to some of my favorite and most popular fashion stores in Korea. Whether you’re an expat living in Korea or visiting Seoul as a tourist, you’ll definitely want to know where to shop for fashion in Korea from the bustling corners of Myeongdong to the chic, tree-lined streets of Apgujeong.
Keep in mind that if you’re larger than the average Korean person, you may have better luck checking out Western brands or plus-sized stores in Seoul. Fortunately, a lot of Korean fashion these days are oversized (very ulzzang!) or worn baggy even if they are ‘free size’, or one-size-fits-all.
Don’t forget to check out International Clothing Stores in Seoul if you’re looking for familiar brands from back home that you know and love. For plus-sized shopping in Korea (anyone that’s bigger than a US size 4-6), check out Where to Find Plus-Sized Clothing in Seoul, Korea 2020.
Best Shopping Neighborhoods in Seoul, South Korea
Some of my favorite places to shop for cute Korean outfits in Seoul are around Apgujeong Rodeo, Starfield Coex, and Garosu-gil in Gangnam. Myeongdong is worth a hit, too, but most of the stores are the same as in my ‘hood, Gangnam. Shopping in Korea can be cheap if you stick to areas like Hongdae, Express Bus Terminal Station, and Ewha University Station. Dongdaemun Market is also a bit of a free-for-all with the overwhelming amount of stores hawking goods from electronics to textiles to office supplies.
TIP: Download Naver Maps (available on Apple & Android) or Kakao Maps (available on Apple & Android) on your phone to navigate the streets of Seoul, South Korea. Both apps are available in English, but Naver Maps work just a little better in my opinion. Google Maps work poorly at best. You can read more about why Google Maps doesn’t work well in South Korea here. If you need to call a taxi, use Kakao T (available on Apple & Android).
Luxury Shopping in Apgujeong and Cheongdam
For the ultra-fashionable with big budgets, this is where you want to go shopping in Seoul for a high-end, luxury fashion experience to epitomize the Gangnam girl style. To get there, you can take the subway or a taxi to Apgujeong Station (Google Maps, Naver Map).
You’ll find the big Korean department stores like the Galleria Department Store (343 Apgujeong-ro, Apgujeong-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul) which stocks brands like Ferragamo, Gucci, Fendi, and Bottega Veneta.
You’ll also see familiar international fashion brands like Lululemon, & Other Stories, Brunello Cucinelli, Miu Miu, Jil Sander, Loro Piana, Carolina Herrera, Chloé, Michael Kors, Kenzo, Burberry, Moncler, Giorgio Armani, and COS as well as famous Korean designer boutiques like Beaker (408 Apgujeong-ro, Cheongdam-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul), Boon the Shop (17 Apgujeong-ro 60-gil, Cheongdam-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul).
Definitely check out my favorite Milan-based designer boutique, 10 Corso Como (416 Apgujeong-ro, Gangnam-gu, Seoul 04533) which stocks beautiful Alaïa bags, niche perfumes like Ex Nihilo and Andrea Maack, Seletti and Fornasetti housewares. Downstairs, you’ll find their bookshop and garden café.
Off the main street, you’ll also find the famous concept shop, Rare Market (24 Apgujeong-ro 80-gil, Cheongdam-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul), that stocks hard-to-find international designer styles by Martine Rose, Chopova Lowena, and Rare Market founders’ own fashion label, WE11DONE. Fun fact: Rare Market is also co-owned by G-Dragon’s sister, Dami Kwon.
Don’t forget to stop by the Chanel flagship store (431 Apgujeong-ro, Gangnam-gu, Seoul 06010) and the ultra-cool Louis Vuitton flagship store in Seoul, Maison Seoul (454 Apgujeong-ro, Gangnam-gu, Seoul 06015), which hosts an exhibition space called Espace Louis Vuitton Seoul at the very top floor. And even if you can’t afford to shop at Dior, you should still stop at the Café Dior by Pierre Hermé in the House of Dior (464 Apgujeong-ro, Cheongdam-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul) for some delicious desserts.
Trendy Shopping in Sinsa and Garosu-gil
Sinsa and Garosu-gil is filled with many little boutiques and restaurants. People like to compare Garosu-gil to Rodeo Drive, but I think that’s a bit of a stretch. It’s not as luxurious as Apgujeong, but it does make for a fun area to spend a weekend afternoon in. There’s plenty of mid-priced boutiques and less expensive stores to be found.
Take the subway to Sinsa Station (Google Maps) and head northwest towards the ginkgo tree-lined street, Garosu-gil. There are often many little tables and boutiques along the way selling trendy, affordable jewelry.
Definitely check out the Gentle Monster store for the coolest Korean designer sunglasses and their quirky window displays.
The one and only flagship Apple store in Korea is also located on Garosu-gil, usually with a line out the door. Though I’ve never been a big fan, there is also a Line Friends store. Living in Korea, you’ll notice that Kakao reigns supreme as the #1 social platform. Even my coworkers scatter their desks with Kakao tech accessories and plushies.
If you need your skincare/beauty fix, check out the ultra-cool Dr. Jart Flagship Store (46 Dosan-daero 11-gil, Sinsa-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul), Jung Saem Mool flagship store (40 Apgujeong-ro 12-gil, Sinsa-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul), Laneige, Sulwhasoo, Deciem (The Ordinary products), and Banila Co. There’s also the usual suspects like Olive Young and CHICOR.
You’ll also find international stores like Maison Kitsuné flagship store (Dosan-daero 13-gil, Sinsa-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul) with its cute outdoor café, niche French perfume house, Le Labo (28 Apgujeong-ro 10-gil, Sinsa-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul), COS (18, Apgujeong-ro 10-gil, Gangnam-gu, Seoul), Swarovski, Danish design store, HAY Design, H&M, Zara, Massimo Dutto, and MCM.
FUN FACT: German leather goods maker MCM was founded in 1976, but acquired in 2005 by Sungjoo Group, a South Korean retail business.
If you’re looking for quintessential Korean fashion, visit SJYP (534-24 Sinsa-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul), athletic brand, Xexymix, Åland, Sappun, Stretch Angels (14-gil Apgujeong-ro, Sinsa-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul), Find Kapoor, and streetwear brand, Vibrate.
If you’re looking for a one-stop-shop for shopping in Seoul, South Korea, definitely head to the Starfield Coex Mall. The Coex is a massive Korean shopping mall in Gangnam, Seoul which includes the famous Starfield Library (pictured below) and the Coex Aquarium. Check out the floor guide to find your favorite international and Korean stores.
There’s also plenty of restaurants and cafes inside as well as the Hyundai Galleria Luxury Department Store next door with an impressive food court. At the Galleria, you can also find luxury brands like Goyard, Chanel, and Louis Vuitton.
K-pop fans will also adore SM Town located at the Coex. And if you’re looking to gamble (and hold a non-Korean passport! Gambling is technically illegal for South Koreans!), head to Seven Luck Casino.
Myeongdong and Namdaemun Market
Myeongdong had its heyday a few decades ago when Gangnam was still farmland — this is something that my mother can certainly attest to — but now, it’s just a big ol’ tourist trap. It’s kind of fun since it’s packed with tourists and filled to the brim with the big Korean chain retail stores. It’s like a one-stop-shop if you need to stock up on character socks, face masks, and fast fashion. Typically, you’d pop over to Olive Young, Zara, Artbox, Nike, and 8Seconds. The street food is mediocre, but part of the whole kitschy Korean tourist experience.
The Stylenanda Pink Pool café is a big draw if you want that Instagram-y aesthetic, but the last time that I schlepped over there, the rooftop was closed and the store itself was disappointing. I do like 3CE cosmetics, but the selection can be found at any corner Olive Young.
The adjacent Namdaemun market was also very over-hyped and over-sold. I was under the impression that it was a traditional Korean market, but it just ended up being an outdoor market full of cheap Chinese designer knock-offs. If you want that fake Supreme logo hoodie, matching backpack, socks, and umbrella, by all means! Go for it. But I honestly wouldn’t go out of my way to go there.
Hongdae and Ewha Women’s University Station
I’ve lumped these two together because they generally appeal to the same market: students or young, budget-conscious shoppers.
Hongdae is a youthful and vibrant neighborhood where university students live and hang out in. It’s a student’s paradise. The shopping streets are filled with trendy boutiques, handmade goods, vintage thrift stores, and affordable cafes and restaurants. You’ll still see the usual suspects like Adidas, ABCMart, Kakao Friends Store, and Mini Gold. Hongdae also has one of the few offline locations of Bershka in Seoul, South Korea.
The café scene in Hongdae is absolutely to-die-for. If you get tired from all the shopping, you can pop over to the famous sheep cafe, Thanks Nature Cafe.
Greem Cafe is also where the Netflix movie, To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, filmed its cafe scene at the beginning of the second film. I went to this cafe two years ago for the first time and it truly felt like a real-life paper dollhouse. Just watch out for the long lines during peak tourist season.
Ewha Women’s University Station
The area near Ewha Women’s University Station — called Edae — is chock-full of women’s boutiques since it’s close to a prominent women’s university in Seoul, South Korea. There are tons of affordable, trendy fashion boutiques here on the popular shopping street.
The quality of clothing and accessories here is usually not the greatest as they’re fast fashion and cheaply manufactured for quick turnover. Korea is also notorious for its love of disposable fashion — which in my opinion is problematic for multiple reasons — but it is what it is!
Note: Like basically every boutique in Korea, you are not allowed to try on the clothes in-store and only come in free-size, or one-size-fits-all. The fit is usually petite, on the baggier side, and/or stretchy, but if you’re tall, busty, or wide-shouldered, you may run into some issues.
The Hyundai Seoul in Yeouido
The Hyundai Department Store in Yeouido, Seoul is actually pretty darn cool as far as department stores or malls go. It opened to the public in Spring 2021 and according to the Korean Herald, its grandiose scale makes it “the biggest department store in Seoul, with 89,100 square meters of operating space, or about the size of 13 football fields.” Kiosk robots zoom around the premises, looking like some kind of Wall-e future. It also has an indoor garden, indoor waterfall, and exhibition space called Alt. 1 on the top floor. And if you’re hungry? Well, there’s a fantastic food court, or “food street”, and grocery store — which has an impressive selection of cheese — on B1 as well as a mini Eataly café on the top floor. The restaurants are quality and basically endless. It’s like my New Jersey mall-dwelling self gravitated to the most commercial space in all of South Korea like a moth to the flame.
The Hyundai Department Store in Yeouido is located at 108 Yeoui-daero, Yeoeuido-dong, Yeongdeungpo-gu, Seoul, South Korea. The closest subway stations are Yeouido Station and Yeouinaru Station.
Lotte World Tower is another huge department store in Seoul and happens to be one of the world’s tallest buildings at 555.7 meters and 123 stories tall. There’s an observatory on the top floor as well as an art museum, Lotte Museum of Art, where you’ll see some of the big-name global artists exhibiting.
You can search the whole directory of stores, but some highlights include:
- Canada Goose
- Clé de Peau Beauté
- Club Monaco
- Comme de Garçons
- Diptyque Paris
- Dr. Martens
- Ermenegildo Zegna
- Emack & Bolios
- Emporio Armani
- Fenty Beauty
- Flying Tiger Copenhagen
- Fragonard Parfumeur
- Fresh Beauty
- Giorgio Armani
- Gap Kids
- Gentle Monster
- Goutal Paris
- Guylian Chocolate
- Hera Beauty
- Hugo Boss
- Isabel Marant
- Jil Sander
- Jill Stuart
- Jimmy Choo
- Jo Malone
- Le Labo
- Loro Piana
- Louis Vuitton
- Make Up For Ever
- Marc Jacobs
- Massimo Dutti
- Max Mara
- Michael Kors
- Monica Vinader
- Moose Knuckles
- North Face
- Paul Smith
- Polo Ralph Lauren
- Roger Vivier
- Saint Laurent
- Sandro Paris
- Shu Uemura
- Studio Ghibli Collection
- Ted Baker London
- Tiffany & Co
- Tory Burch
- Victoria’s Secret
- Vivienne Westwood
- Zadig & Voltaire
Lotte World Tower is located at 300 Olympic-ro, Jamsil 6(yuk)-dong, Songpa-gu, Seoul, South Korea. The closest subway station is Jamsil Station which has an entrance right into the mall from the basement.
Note: A lot of the international stores in South Korea do not carry their full range as in other countries and they’re often localized for the Korean market. Meaning? They may have changed their fit to Asian sizing or carry a very limited range of sizes. Prices are also often higher in South Korea.
Subway Station Shopping
The subway station shops are notorious for having loads of very cheap to mid-priced women’s fashion and accessories. You can find k-beauty products, cell phone cases, mask chains, knock-off Valentino shoes, dog clothes, jewelry, pajama sets, bubble tea, ginseng, and more hidden in these unsuspecting places. Don’t expect the best quality items here, but if you’re looking for a bargain, the prices are very, very reasonable. But for 10,000 KRW (less than $10 USD), do you really expect those pants to last forever, and do you care?
Honestly, there are too many to really name, but I would say that the biggest or most interesting ones are at Express Bus Terminal Station (Goto Mall), Jamsil Station, and Gangnam Station. Remember to bring some cash as some shops may not (or may not admit) that they take credit/debit cards.
List of Korean Stores in Seoul
Check out The Most Popular Korean E-Commerce Platforms, Popular Korean Fashion Brands in Seoul, South Korea, and Where to Shop for International Fashion in Seoul, Korea, Where to Buy Plus-Sized Clothing in Seoul, Korea 2021, and Where to Buy Big Shoes in Korea.
Now, that you’ve read my list of essential clothing stores in Seoul and did some damage to your wallet, where did you end up visiting? And if I’m missing any stores that you think need to make this list, tell me below!