IISE's signature products are loosely fitted and oh-so-light. Taking inspiration from Korean traditional attire, hanbok, IISE uses traditional Korean design techniques with naturally dyed Korean fabrics (such as guangmok cotton) to create a unique combination of modern and traditional aesthetics. The matte finish of its clothing line looks natural, comfy and unique at the same time. IISE which directly translates to second generation is created by two Korean American brothers. East and West, tradition and modern. This combination of "stranger things" is rather captivating than strange, and the brand's studio/showroom located in Pyeongchang-dong really ties this wonderful combination together. The showroom filled with architectural elements of traditional Korean housing (hanok) imbued with the brand's design philosophy: a mix of contemporary street style and traditionally more reserved Korean sentiment and a mix of past and present. At the core of IISE's brand identity is a connection of the past, present and future—like the old Korean saying: "Find a guide into tomorrow by taking lessons from the past."
Wonder through these fantasy stores, kidult boutiques
These boutiques are unique in the sense that, what they sell usually depends on the owner’s taste. Glancing through the shops, don’t be surprised if you find something that just completely confuses you. “Why would anyone buy that?” Don’t worry, if it’s not you, there’s going to be someone who’ll want it. From vintages Barbies to all those ‘useless’ stationery items you wanted as a child, you’ll be able to find so much more at these kidult boutiques.
Join kidult pilgrimage to these character shops
One of the sub-groups of the kidult community are those that focus on one item, one brand, or one character and become crazed maniacs about it. In Korean we politely refer to them as "odeokoo." There are a few worthy places in Seoul that are catering to these ‘maniacs’, they include the Gundam store, Marvel store, Lego store, and the two very Korean Line and Kakao Friends stores. See what kind best suits your likings.
They’ve got it all, Mega kidult markets
These places don’t just offer a stress-relieving session of shopping, they will offer a thrilling experience. Going through the vast amount of shops within each complex, you have a plethora of options to choose from that suit your distinct taste. Seriously, these places will have everything you dreamt of as a child.
Dressing back to the Joseon Dynasty – Hanbok rentals
Hanbok — to wear one usually means you are headed to an extremely formal event. Well, that’s how it used to be. More and more, hanbok-wearing crowds in Seoul are becoming a common sight, especially in the trending Bukchon and Seochon areas of Northern Seoul, with the palaces providing a fitting atmosphere allowing young couples and groups of friends alike feel comfortable enough to adorn themselves with the traditional attire. Interestingly enough, while many have assumed that this is merely a passing trend, being out and about in a more traditional or modern hanbok seems to be only growing in popularity. Among over 80 hanbok rental shops in the Jongno-gu district, Time Out has picked out a selection for all you traditional, modern and postmodern souls.
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Shop for a good cause: Marymond Post-it
The ‘Marymond Post-it’s’ is an art and human rights project. Each season, a victim of sexual slavery under Japanese colonial rule (the wianbu 'comfort women') is asked to be interviewed for her personal stories and histories, in a form of an in-person interview or an autobiography. These personal accounts and narratives are translated into patterns and designs, each with a type of flower delicate to the women and their sense of dignity. The latest edition of the ‘Marymond X Post-it’ collaboration shows Rose of Sharon flowers and Yellow Roses in full bloom. The Rose of Sharon symbolizes Kim Hak-soon, a daughter of an independence activist and also the first victim to have testified her ordeals; the Yellow Rose represents Gil Won-ok, a surviving victim who remains strong and inspiring for the younger generations. The full series contains the ‘Post-it® X Marymond Rose of Sharon Pack’ (3,500 won), ‘Post-it® X Marymond Yellow Rose Pack’ (3,500 won) and ‘Post-it® X Marymond Yellow Rose Flags’ (2,000 won). 50% of more of all profits made by the collaboration will go into supporting the war rape victims of Congo and Vietnam, establishing a non-profit foundation and memorial and funding international campaigns and welfare for the women.
Line Friends Store & Cafe
If Mickey Mouse was our friend in the 20th century, the beloved characters of today are in our smartphones. One of the most popular brands among Seoulites these days, Line Friends opened its second flagship store in the middle of Itaewon’s main street. The characters became famous through a messenger app and thanks to their familiarity the brand collaborated with different brands such as Perioe (toothpaste), Uniqlo (t-shirts), Lamy (fountain pens) and Thermos (vacuum bottles). You can see these characters basically anywhere on everyday items like notepads and mouse pads. The store in Itaewon is also called the Line Friends Villa, as the rooms are decorated under the themes of Line Friends’ characters of Brown, Sally and Cony. They have already opened stores overseas in Japan, China and Taiwan, but this three-story shop in Itaewon is the biggest and is more special in that all of their collections are available. You may also want to take a photo here with the biggest Brown (3.3m) in the world.
The Gangnam location of the Shinsegae Department Store has finished their remodeling just in time for their 15th anniversary. The most noteworthy changes took place on the 4th and 9th floors. On the 4th floor, which has been extended, there is a shoes department with shoes from about 140 different brands. The remodeled Gangnam location also has a Culture and Lifestyle Zone with select beauty stores, like La Perva, an anti-aging and slimming specialty shop, and the athletic wear store, Work Out. Bean Brothers and Bandi & Luni’s have collaborated to open a book café, which is also located on the 4th floor. Moving up to the 9th floor, you can find many items for the home as well as products for the bedroom, living room, bathroom, kitchen and more. Cook Shop, which sells a variety of kitchen-related products, and Jaju Table, a table decoration store that also sells food, are both located on this floor. Another new addition is the kids’ section on the 10th floor.
Flying Tiger Copenhagen
How should I explain it in a more professional term? Right, the Daiso of Northern Europe. Well, at the similar price range (1,000 won - 10,000 won), what you'll see reflect particular Northern European sensibilities, though. Its variety of selections include notebooks, cooking wares, home decor items and accessories, that demonstrate the brand's clear identity, unique sense of humor as well as creative efforts. An example is the series of notebooks designed by artist David Shrigley, which includes one featuring a drawing titled “We hate meetings" (4,000 won). You'll see many other fun items like the memo pad designed in the shape of a biscuit (6,000 won), as well as clever ones including the silicon kitchen brush for baking (4,000 won). Despite the variety (and colorfulness!) of items stocked here, it's easy to navigate around the store. The sections are well organized into "home decor," "kitchen," "stationery," "accessories," "party items" and "hobbies." Having started as a small novelty store in Copenhagen, Flying Tiger now has about 660 stores across 28 countries. Korea does have 2 stores already, with one at Young Plaza located in Myeongdong and the other inside of the Hyundai Department Store located in Pangyo. Considering the creativity and attention to detail that the brand demonstrates, such popularity we'd say is well deserved.