Dongdaemun, long regarded as the fashion and design centre in Seoul, is home to the largest clothing suppliers in Korea. Here in Dongdaemun, you can expect to find almost every fashion item you may need, from fabric to accessories, caps, wedding goods, shoes and many more. It is here in the many wholesale centres sprawled across Dongdaemun that many of the clothing retailers all over Seoul get their supplies from. Many of these malls do not do business with shoppers who are only there to buy a few pieces. However there are some malls such as Doota, apm and Migliore that caters specifically to such shoppers, albeit at a slightly higher price than wholesale price, which is of course perfectly reasonable. Even though they are sold at retail prices, they are still priced very attractively as compared to other places in Korea.
It is also not suprising to find many tourist buses packed at the parking lots located around these fashion malls. No trip to Seoul is ever complete without a trip here to Dongdaemun. Since many of the malls are open overnight, they are also popular with tourists trying to pack as much into their itinerary as possible.
Besides the customary shopping, marvel also at the architectural marvel that is the Dongdaemun Design Plaza (DDP). Iraqi British architect Zaha Hadid, one of the most renowed architects in the world, designed the DDP.
Walking out from Exit 1 of Dongdaemun History and Culture Park Station on Line 2/4 feels almost like a scene out of a movie. The moment you exit the station you are greeted by this spaceship-like building which is the DDP.
The DDP is a mega convention and exhibition centre, and was the scene for the Seoul Fashion Week, where models paraded on the steps of DDP. You can also find various other shops selling designer items at its Design Market.
A trip to Dongdaemun is never complete without checking out the one place that started it all – Pyounghwa Clothing Market located right next to Doota mall. It was here at Pyounghwa Clothing Market that refugees from North Korea starting selling clothes made from US military uniforms. As a result of this, the market was then named as such, as ‘pyounghwa’ in Korean means peace. The place then lent itself to the beginning of 30,000 more other stores here in Dongdaemun, which eventually led Dongdaemun to become a fashion Town.
As you enter Pyounghwa Market, you will be greeted by shops after shops selling everything from caps to socks, fabrics, scarves, shirts, jackets and even handbags. The first floor consists of mostly accessories whereas the second floor is when you can find clothes and jackets.
The second floor consists of mostly shirts and pants for the more mature crowd. You will find many Korean uncles and aunties doing their shopping or chatting with the store owners here.
Pyounghwa Market is divided into two sections, connected to each other by an overhead pass. Here at the overhead pass you can find many Korean aunties resting and sipping on their coffee. The coffee comes from the small makeshift stall located at the corner of the rest area, operated by a Korean auntie.
How to get to Pyounghwa Clothing Market:
From Exit 1 of Dongdaemun History and Culture Park Station on Line 2/4, walk straight until you have exited the DDP. From there, you can see the main street lined with plenty of fashion malls. Cross the street, head all the way right until you see Pyounghwa Market, which is next to the famous Doota mall.
As you explore the area near Pyounghwa Market, feel free to check out the Cheonggyecheon Stream, which goes all the way to Gwanghwamun. There are plenty of activities around the stream so do remember to check out this area the next time you are in Dongdaemun!