Sometimes when Korean clothes don’t suit you (or fit me well, in my case), it’s always good to be on the lookout for familiar brands with western sizing! Here is a roundup of non-Korean, international brands that are located in Seoul, Korea, or international brands that ship to South Korea.
Don’t forget to check out the original roundup of Korean clothing stores in Seoul at The Ultimate Guide to Shopping in Seoul. 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.
Is Shopping Cheap in Korea?
It depends on what you’re looking for specifically. Though there are many luxury and premium brands in South Korea, there’s also no shortage of fast-fashion in Korea. You can find many affordable clothing stores in the underground shopping malls located at subway stations like Gangnam Station or Express Bus Terminal. You can easily spend up to 30,000 KRW per clothing item, so it’s often cheaper than Swedish fast-fashion brand, H&M.
The quality can be very hit or miss depending on what you’re used to and be warned that the sizing is most often one-size-fits-all and small.
International brands are often more expensive in South Korea than their home country as they are imported. Expect to pay a little more than what you’re used to.
Shopping for Clothes in Seoul
You’ll notice that international brands may have different sizing — e.g. Asian Sizing — than what you’re used to back home. Best to try on items in store if you’re unsure.
|Benetton||Oh! Benetton! Known for its colorful and sometimes controversial marketing, the brand was originally founded in Italy and expanded worldwide. Though there are no flagship stores that I know of in Korea, you can find a Benetton section at big department stores like Lotte, Shinsegae, or the Galleria.|
|Sandro||French Brand, Sandro, is touted as "accessible luxury" - bridging the gap between fast-fashion lovers and super expensive designer clothing. Sandro was founded in 1984 as part of the SCMP group which includes French brands Maje and Claudie Pierlot. Surprising fact: It was also (fairly) recently acquired by a Chinese textiles company, Shandong Ruyi, who owns Sandro, Maje, and Claudie Pierlot (SMCP), Bally, Aquascutum, TM Lewin, and Gieves & Hawkes. I've only ever seen Sandro in department stores in Seoul, but if you've seen a flagship store, let me know!|
|Wolford Boutique||Wolford was founded in Austria in 1950 and for the first few decades, focused exclusively on hosiery. Like many others, I am absolutely obsessed with their premium tights and bodysuits. Fair warning: their lingerie is not cheap. For those plus-sized folk, I've also seen tights like Velvet 66 go up to a size L online at Wolford Korea.|
|10 Corso Como||Italian boutique, 10 Corso Como, is located in Apgujeong. I adore this place for its unique imported fragrances, gorgeous housewares, and luxury leather goods like Alaia. There's also a little bookstore and café inside.|
|APC||France-based fashion brand, APC, is very popular in Korea, particularly the handbags and totes. Atelier de Production et de Création, or A.P.C., is a French ready-to-wear brand founded in 1987 by the Tunisian Jewish fashion designer Jean Touitou in Paris.|
|Canada Goose||You don't see Canada Goose as often as you would in the Northeast United States compared to National Geographic puffer coats or the local outerwear brand, Descente. You can purchase Canada Goose coats at most department stores in South Korea as well as SSFshop.com. I'm not entirely sure if the lifetime warranty really applies in South Korea since as far as I know, there's no repair shop in the country.|
|Louis Vuitton||Koreans LOVE luxury, and of course, there's several Louis Vuitton stores in Seoul, South Korea. Be prepared to pay a premium price as Louis Vuitton is more expensive in South Korea than in many Western countries. If you're looking for a luxury deal to be had, look elsewhere.|
|Muji||Japanese brand, Muji, is a breath of fresh air in Seoul with its minimalist aesthetic and affordable pricing. Be aware that the clothing sizes cater to an Asian market, so small and petite.|
|Club Monaco||I've only seen Club Monaco at department stores, but you never know! Selection is very limited.|
|Zara||Spanish store, Zara, in South Korea stocks all sizes albeit more expensive than what you may be used to back home. In terms of sizing, I'm still a size medium in Zara clothing. Bigger shoe sizes (like European 41 or US size 10) may not be available in-store but can be found online. Also, you can purchase online and return in-store if the fit or quality is off. There are a few physical locations scattered around Seoul like on Gangnam-daero, Garosu-gil, or Myeongdong.|
|Tommy Hilfiger||Who knew there was a Tommy Hilfiger in Korea?|
|Maison Kitsuné||Their flagship store is on Garosu-gil in Sinsa! There's also a totally instagrammable café inside.|
|Adidas||Watch out for Asian Fit. All the jackets I've bought look shrunk/cropped! I usually try to go for unisex styles since I'm a beast at 5'10ft in South Korea.|
|Mango||Spanish fast-fashion store, Mango, is in the Sinsa area as well at 126 Apgujeong-ro, Sinsa-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul.|
|Uniqlo||Heattech is a godsend during the cold, Korean winter. Sizing is limited in stores, but you may have luck ordering online.|
|American Eagle||American Eagle has locations all over Seoul and South Korea. You can see their physical locations on their website.|
|Theory||Located in the big department stores like Lotte and Shinsegae.|
|H&M||Swedish store, H&M, in South Korea Also offers sportswear, seasonal swimwear, and lingerie! You can find larger-sized stockings here as well. Available both online and offline with multiple locations around Seoul, carrying shoes and clothing up to a size 42-44 in-store. Asian fit (petite) will be the new norm for H&M in Korea, so look for the Tall Fit, labeled as T next to the size number. Sinsa location is 21 Apgujeong-ro 12-gil, Sinsa-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul.|
|All Saints||There's an All Saints at the Coex Mall in Gangnam.|
|Calvin Klein Underwear|
|Columbia Sportswear||Koreans love to hike, so it's no surprise Columbia Sportswear made it into South Korea.|
|COS||Minimalist styles and leather goods. I did see COS stock size large in-store which is comforting. They also have size EU 41 (US 10) shoes on their Korean website.|
|Dior||If I had all the money in the world, I'd be here every week. There's a beautiful café inside if you need your Dior fix, but all you can afford is a coffee.|
|Guess||Really overpriced to what you'd find in the United States and the selection is much smaller. Only saw a size small on display.|
|Hollister||I personally haven't shopped at a Hollister since middle school, but it exists here. You're welcome.|
|Lululemon||Thank goodness that American athleisure brand, Lululemon, has many locations in Seoul! Where else am I going to buy tights? Yes, I know. They are pricey for what they are, but they make my butt look so good. They actually manage to carry US sizing, too.|
|Marimekko||I'm a Marimekko addict, and the clothes tend to run quite roomy. The sales are not as competitive as other countries, probably because Marimekko Korea runs independently to Marimekko Finland. But that also means you may find odd things here are there that are sold out in other stores (like those wood-handle Marimekko umbrellas!)|
|Massimo Dutti||Also owned by Spanish colossus, Zara, Massimo Dutti is the more grown up version. They sometimes carry bigger-sized leather shoes online, so keep an eye out.|
|Moncler||They carry Moncler at big department stores like Shinsegae. There's also a standalone store in Apgujeong.|
|Nike||American fitness wear company, Nike, in South Korea. I bought gym leggings here the other day at their location on Gangnam-Daero, but be warned: the fit is small. I am normally a medium (US 8) in Nike clothes but had to buy an XL here. Most of the leggings at the store were also on the shorter side, and I had to search high and low for full-length leggings that weren't capris on me.|
|& Other Stories||&Other Stories in Korea is a little more premium and feminine than its fast-fashion sister store, H&M. & Other Stories Sinsa location is at 342 Apgujeong-ro, Sinsa-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul.|
|North Face||American outdoor recreation product company, North Face, probably sells a lot of padding (puffer coats) here due to the very cold winter.|
|Under Armour||Sportswear store but sizing is similar to Nike, aka Asian Fit.|
Shopping for Shoes in Seoul
|Camper||Camper is a footwear company with roots in Mallorca, Spain. Besides its fresh, innovative styles, the footwear brand is also known for its comfort. However, I am absolutely DEVASTATED that the footwear brand doesn’t seem to carry bigger sizes in South Korea. You can still purchase larger sized shoes overseas and ship them to Korea, but ... Really? Who has time for that!|
|Dr. Martens||British brand, Dr. Martens, has always been a symbol of the working class. I remember Dr. Martens most from its popularity during the punk movement. The famous boots were actually developed by a German doctor, Klaus Maertens, after some time in the army in which he strived to develop a higher quality worker's boot. In 1959, British shoe manufacturer R. Griggs Group Ltd bought the patent rights. It wasn't until years later when Pete Townshend introduced the shoe to rock ‘n’ roll that the shoe started to gain traction among British sub-culture groups and eventually find its way among top musicians like the Who, The Clash, The Specials, Elton John, and The Strangler.
It's no surprise that you can find these shoes in Korea as they've become a worldwide success since then. Always on top of the latest trends, you can see these shoes every now and again in Seoul with the iconic yellow stitching.
|Tod’s||Tod's has its roots in Ancona, Italy in the early 1920's when Filippo Della Valle started his shoemaking business out of a basement. It is now famous worldwide for its luxury shoes and accessories.|
|Repetto||Repetto is a French ballet shoe company that was founded in 1947 by Rose Repetto. They are also famous for providing ballet shoes for the National Opera of Paris..
In South Korea, by some miracle, they actually seem to carry size 41 and 42 on their Korean website. They are however on the pricier side as far as shoes go as a pair of their ballet flats will set you back around 400,000 KRW.
|Aldo has unfortunately exited the Korean market as of December 2020.|
|Stuart Weitzman||You can find Stuart Weitzman at department stores like Shinsegae or Lotte! However, sizes seem to stop at a Korean 250.|
|Charles & Keith||Large sizes are available online.|
|Crocs||I’ve only seen one style in a US Women’s 10 online, but you never know! As Crocs have become less hideous over the years, it’s worth considering.|
|Vans||Since Vans Sneakers are pretty much all unisex styles, you’ll be able to find most sizes online and offline!|
|Jimmy Choo||You can find Jimmy Choo in most department stores in Seoul! Bigger sizes are limited online, so watch out.|
|Converse||Offers both men and women's styles, but if you happen to be bigger-footed, you may want to try the unisex styles.|
|Skechers||Women’s styles seem to be limited in sizing (nothing past a Korean 250).|
Shopping for Clothes that Ship to Korea
If the selection at local stores doesn’t work for you, embrace the power of online shopping.
IMPORTANT: Take notice of any import fees that you may have to pay to ship to South Korea. Unless the store includes the custom duties & VAT in your final price, you may be charged extra when the item goes through customs in South Korea. If the order is under $150-200 (including shipping), you may be okay. More information about Korean customs clearance can be found here.
|Borderfree.com||Includes retailers that are part of BorderFree shopping, shipping worldwide.|
|Everlane||Ships to Korea with duties included in price.|
|Nordstrom||Ships to Korea with duties calculated at checkout.|
|Asos||Ships to Korea, but watch out for duties for orders over $150.|
|Shein||Fast-fashion chain that ships to Korea. I’ve heard the quality is lacking but carries plus-sized clothing.|
|Aliexpress||Extensive selection of goods, mostly from China.|
|Amazon.com||Opting for Amazon Prime in Korea may not be worth it if you don’t shop as frequently. You’ll still have to pay to ship but at a slightly lower cost. Their global store can be a godsend when you can’t find an item’s equivalent on Coupang.com or Gmarket.|
|The Reformation||Duties and taxes calculated at checkout.|
|ShopBop||I’ve ordered shoes from ShopBop to Korea which took about two weeks to arrive (the usual).|
|Revolve Clothing||Trendy women’s fashion that ships internationally. Duties/taxes not included.|
|MyTheresa||Luxury fashion! You can also find MyTheresa goods on SSG.com which could be helpful if you’re paying with a Korean credit card and want to choose payment installments.|
How much are import fees to Korea?
If you’re shipping items to Korea from overseas, keep in mind that you will have to pay duties over 150,000 KRW. For most products, you’ll have to pay 8% customs duties and 10 % value-added tax (VAT). However, some goods are liable to special excise taxes and other taxes. More information is available here: customs.go.kr. Sign up for a personal customs clearance code here: unipass.customs.go.kr. You won’t need a personal customs clearance code on Amazon.com though.
Some (but not all) websites will calculate duties and taxes at checkout like Everlane or The Reformation.
Now, that you’ve read my list of international clothing stores in Seoul and (potentially) 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!