These days, old is the new black. While second-hand clothing has been sold at markets for decades, the vintage look is in, and you'll find no better places than the following shops for treasure hunting. These shops feature both vintage Korean fashion as well as imports from Japan, the U.S. and Europe, so you're guaranteed to leave with unique pieces that no one else around will have (basically, the ultimate hipster statement).
Where to find great retro clothing in Seoul
Hongdae is known for open attitudes and funky styles, so it’s only natural that some of the best vintage boutiques would open up shop here. Page One is one of these, a second floor space hidden in plain sight just off of the busy parking lot street that cuts through the center of Hongdae. The clothing is mostly women’s fashion, and the selection is not large—this isn’t a market or a Beautiful Store (Korean equivalent of a Goodwill) after all. But what they lack in volume, they make up for in quality, carefully curating each piece. You’ll find a lot of Japanese vintage from the 80s, including a long rack of dresses with fascinating prints and subtle shoulder pads. The bags are rarely designer pieces but always in excellent condition, and the jewelry is always fun to pick through. Page One’s prices are not cheap but they are reasonable, and sometimes if you are buying several things together and paying with cash, it’s possible to round down a little bit.
Walking into Kyahaha is like walking into a fever dream. This strange and beautiful shop is packed with vintage clothing and accessories, starting from the tiny courtyard and moving into the low-lit home—and really, home is best descriptor. You’ll take your shoes off at the entrance, exchange them for slippers, and will maybe then be offered a small glass of tea. A large heating stove takes up the center of the room, and the bathroom doubles as a dressing room. Large and fearful dolls stare down from the top of a traditional Korean lacquer cabinet. One corner is dedicated to the owner’s worktable, where she creates her own line of clothing in bright colors and patterns. You’ll leave with something unique, and the feeling that you’ve just been somewhere far, far away.
Storage & Co. started when a handful of friends with an obsession, specifically one with denim and workwear, decided to put their passion into practice. Initially a carefully curated selection of vintage clothing from Japan and the U.S. (some of it even pre-WWII era), the owners of Storage & Co. have since launched their own line of high-quality clothing under the label Well-Co. They use only cotton thread, employ historically accurate stitching and construction, and import buttons and fabric modeled after their favorite vintage items. While their clothing is largely geared toward men, a small selection of women’s clothing has recently become available [as of March/April].
It’s not easy describing Object in a single sentence. The slogan that hangs on their wall, “The beginning to wise consumption,” begins to describe who they are. After one quick glance of the shop, you might think it’s a normal living concept store, but upon further observation, you’ll soon notice its unique points. In one area, you can barter your gently-used items for ready-made goods like basic style clothing, hand-made accessories, shopping bags made from recycled products, and even other vintage goods. So bring along items that you have lying around at home—they'll find a new home, and you'll go home with some exciting new goodies.
What is a vintage shop without some ordered chaos? A vintage accessory shop worth the name should be packed tightly with an assortment of items, giving the impression that all the things have aged through time and developed their own voices. In this regard, Yellow Wall Studio is perfect. Here, you won’t find that the word "vintage" is a mere formality—anything but. It may look like a quiet place, but appearances can be deceiving: emotionally, it is full of noise and chatter.Although no one but the owner is ever there, it feels like so many eyes are staring down at you. The collection is so extensive it is almost awe-inspiring: it makes you wonder, "How did they manage to collect so many things?" If you're an obsessive collector, this shop is a must-see (or must-avoid, depending on how you look at it). It's also the perfect place to pick out an unusual gift for that hard-to-please friend who seems to already have everything. Should you need a quiet, solitary break from your walk around Samcheong-dong, there’s a small café with just one table.