What's in for 2017? Here's some ideas.
A new year has dawned, and while still amid political turmoil and abhorrent social conditions, life goes on. What will we observe in our daily life throughout this year? Are they close to what we wish to see? Hopefully, 2017 brings new opportunities with the new contexts, for all of us.
A top-notch co-working space, Studio Black
Co-working space is a visible trend nowadays. Even within Seoul, you can easily find both local and global players of varying sizes and specs. With such growing array of options, we've come to think: what are the essential criteria for such establishments? While the central, business-friendly location and environment of certain aesthetics — with which most of them market themselves — do remain as a core element, what is needed is a lot more than, say, a hotel lobby lounge with a business center. They should, if at all possible, offer both tangible and intangible resources necessary to sustain individual and organizational performance, for all members to thrive: beyond pursuing productivity, proactively engaging themselves in creating the future that they envision. Fortunately, we will soon be accommodating such an option in Seoul, with Studio Black opening in the Gangnam Station area in January. From its facilities to every little tangible and intangible detail, Studio Black reflects the expertise and know-hows that have led Hyundai Card, the company behind the top-notch co-working space, to its groundbreaking success.
Read everywhere, Seoul
In Seoul, paper is popular this season. It is in large part due to these marvelous bookstores, libraries as well as book bars and cafés providing unique atmosphere and materials ranging from poetry to fashion magazines and LGBTQ books. Here’s our list of places for your autumn reading.
Best to do this season
Wear hanbok on Chuseok? Nah, that’s not exactly what we’re saying. We get enough of that on the evening news. What we are suggesting is that hanbok is returning to people’s everyday lives. On Instagram, you can definitely find those who go on overseas trips or on short tours to hanok villages in their hanboks. (Search #hanbok or #한복 if you don’t believe us). Hanbok promoter and traveler Kwon Mi-ru roams around the world in hanboks she made herself and says it feels like she loves herself better when she wears it. This spotlight on the hanbok is coming from outside of Korea as well. Chanel’s KarlLagerfeld, as well as foreign fashion media outlets like style.com praised the beauty ofhanbok—which many Koreans had no idea was going on. “Tchaikim” is one brand that’s mesmerized even Tilda Swinton. Designer Kim Young-jin’s second brand “Tchakim” not only shows a modern interpretation of hanbok but also makes you want to wear it. One of their most popular items, the “Cheollik dress,” was inspired by the traditional uniform for military officers, and yet it manages to still be new and beautiful. Tchaikim refuses to be bound to names like “daily hanbok” or “fusion hanbok.” Instead, they want to be known as a readymade brand that brings hanbok aesthetics and sentiments to life. Along with Tchaikim, several other brands are introducing various styles of modern, beautiful hanboks which are perfect for you to wear right away.
Our Northern Neighbor
My grandfather has only once discussed the passing of his parents in the Korean War to his children and grandchildren—when I came back to Korea after 17 years. A kind but stoic man, he welled up with tears as he rushed through the story: He was only 13 years old when his parents told him to pack and run away and that they would catch up soon. A few minutes from his house, he looked back to see that his home, with his parents in it, had been lit on fire. In his own way, by telling me this anecdote, my grandfather wanted me to know the significance of this place he believed I should consider home. My story isn’t particularly unique; many South Koreans can relay similar tales of their parents and their parents’ parents. Seoul is a blooming, blossoming city but the color of our capital is made even brighter when contrasted to the war only a short drive from here (an armistice agreement was signed in 1953, but the two Koreas are technically still at war). The cuisine, culture and stories of that some might consider brother or enemy still hold so much relevance here in Seoul. Our histories are inescapably intertwined and they are, to say the least, our neighbors. By Hahna Yoon
City Stories: Jeong Ok-sun
PHOTO: PARK JUNG-WOO Jeong Ok-sun (Yakult saleswoman in Sangam-dong) How long have you been in this line of work?It's been almost two years. I'm a manager of a Yakult branch in Sangam-dong, Mapo-gu. Lots of people get excited to see you, don't they?Very excited to see us, indeed. Some run at me saying, “Ajumma, I've finally found you!” What lots of people want to get from me these days are Cold Brew coffee and Kiri cream cheese. I run out of stock so quickly. Which one's more popular?Currently, Cold Brew coffee. You know how lots of Koreans drink more than one cupof coffee these days. I remember singing this, sort of children's folk verse, that goes: “Yakult lady, give me some Yakult please.” Do you know if kids these days do the same?Kids still do sing that song! I respond to them: “Yakult isn’t ours, Yakult is yours.” [laughs] The carts used to be all manual, pull-and-push. Are these new electric ones provided by the company?Technically, we rent it from the company. There's a security deposit we pay in order to rent one. What does it feel like to ride the electric carts?It’s a lot of fun. Some customers ask me if they could have a ride on it. Unfortunately, that’s not allowed. I’ve been riding it around for about two years now, and it's kind of like driving a car. At first I thought it was pretty fast, but now I feel it’s slow. [laughs] The maximum speed is 8km/h. It’s powerful enough to handle both uphill and downhill slopes. Have you encountered interes
Nothing to overcome, only getting better each day
During her recent visit to Seoul, while lip sinking to K-Pop songs, Kim Chi was wearing the exact same red dress as what she wore on the final episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 8. Crowds filled Club SKRT in Itaewon giving her a celebrity status right here in Korea, which Kim Chi herself had not imagined. Her shockingly beautiful presence was creatively redefining the boundaries between femininity and masculinity. Kim Chi, whose real name is Shin Sang-young, is a Korean-American raised in Chicago who worked as a graphic designer. She started drag in 2012 when a friend asked if she would like to do try drag for the first time during Halloween. That same night, they were booked and continued a successful drag career. Having been one of the top 3 finalists on RuPaul’s Drag Race, exuding her unique charm and ways of approaching her identity that is different from any other contestant, Kim Chi has garnered a lot of media attention and love from fans of all ages and genders. Here are a few questions she was kind to answer during her visit to Seoul. (Author: Ruby Kim from DAZED Korea)
Best of Seoul
5 secret day trips near Seoul
TBH, as much as we love Korea, long holidays during the summer usually mean vacationing outside of it. After all, the country's small enough that you can explore most places over long weekend breaks. Another TBH? As much as we love Seoul, we need to get out of here every once in a while too—even if it's just for a day or two. In our October issue, in light of the beautiful weather, that's exactly what we did. We drank beer all day long, listened to music in a 1,100-year-old forest, watched the sunrise from the west coast, traveled on trains for hours and had everything but bibimbap in Jeonju. Here are all our secrets to all our secret places, so go on and escape!
The Best Hotel Rooftop Bars in Seoul
Fancy the rooftop bars in Manhattan, Marina Bay in Singapore and Bangkok, with sweeping skyline views? We're happy to let you know that Seoul's checked another box as an exciting metropolitan city. In addition to the hotel terraces that have been transformed from existing outdoor space, a number of well-known hotels in Seoul have opened up new space with the sole and serious purpose of spectacular views. Unextravagant yet astonishing skyline of Gwanghwamun, N Seoul Tower's presence right in front your eyes, and thrilling night views of Gangnam—they're all included in this list. Enjoying a moment high above the city, you might fall in love with the city all over again.