Fabric shopping in Seoul, South Korea



During what seems like a lifetime ago (January), we visited Seoul in South Korea. Although we were there for medical reasons, I did manage to sneak off for a few hours to the rather epic Dongdaemun fabric and craft market!

I'm not sure words or pictures can do Dongdaemun justice, but I'll give it a go. Picture a sprawling market/mall spanning seven floors and four 'dongs'/sections (A, B, C and D). Just think about that for a minute...let the sheer magnitude sink in!

Ok, have you composed yourself yet? 

This crafty heaven is overspilling with fabrics (literally all kinds) and more haberdashery items/notions than you ever knew existed. Frankly, it's overwhelming...but an absolute must if you're ever visiting Seoul.

I was dumbstruck by it all (the jet-lag didn't help) and ended up wandering around aimlessly for a couple of hours (getting very lost). I finally walked away with the three pieces of delicious rayon pictured at the top of this post, but I was particularly impressed by the gorgeous selection of jersey and knit fabrics...so much choice!







What really struck me is how meticulously tidy all the stalls are, despite their volume of stock. Many of them only hold samples and will place your order with their warehouse for you to collect within an hour or so. Here's a blog on how to buy fabric in Dongdaemun that I found useful, with a handy map and directions to boot.







I'm so glad I took on the advice here and arrived early (9:30am) on a week day, missing the crowds. You can imagine just how uncomfortably cramped the narrow aisles get at peak times!




Check out this blog for more information and pictures. Also, a MASSIVE shout out to Meg The Grand who took time to email me tips and advice based on her experiences in Seoul...I owe you one!

Have you been to Dongdaemun market? What did you make of it?

12 comments:

  1. Too bad I went there before I started sewing! I took all my jeans that needed to be hemmed and patched there while I was on vacation a few years ago. The ladies didn't speak English, but they took the stack and pointed at 5he clock for when to come back!

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  2. In my dreams, I go back to Dongdaemun, and I'm surrounded by all the pieces of fabric I didn't buy! I'm so glad you had time to go the market - it's such a fabulous/overwhelming place to go! xoxoxo :)

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  3. I was just there in July, 5 weeks ago. No labels (fabric content or price) & we don't speak Korean. It's fun to look around & appreciate the vastness, but I was hoping for at least fabric labeled with Chinese characters 絲 or in Korean 비단. I don't buy non-natural fabrics, and couldn't be bothered with trying to communicate to figure out what stuff was made of, then figure out the price too. All in all, it may have been great prices, but since NYC's garment district is a 4-hr bus ride away & Philly's only 2, I just decided I'd shop here. However, I've just applied for a job in SK, so I may be back at DongDaeMun soon.

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  4. That swatch of the grey corduroy-ish thing with the raised circles.....I really NEED it. Not in the cards, but I can only imagine what a great experience this was.

    ceci

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  5. Oh gosh, look at all that fabric!! I would go absolutely mad in a place like that, not giving a stuff about the bank balance!

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  6. Gordon. Bennett. Even with blogs to read and tips to follow, I wouldn't have a clue where to start. It looks mind-boggling.

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  7. I had such a great time shopping here about five years ago. It is still cash only?

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  8. Wow, it looks both dreamy and overwhelming... I wish I can visit someday. And I like your very reasonable selection :)

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  9. Amazing collection!! I am dying for these items.

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  10. I'm a designer who has 5 years experience in LA and now working for Dongdaemoon wholesale market.If anyone need guide or interpreter, please let me know. I also have many fashion district information from Seoul. email:cheerstoyou3@gmail.com

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