K-Fashion: Top Thrift Shopping Spots in Seoul, Korea

by Jasmine Kim

Vintage shopping, thrift shopping or second-hand shopping, however you want to call it, has really become a sought after form of shopping and activity. It’s become a trend to be your own unique self and to express who you are. Many people want something no one else has, and what better way than to go thrift shopping for one-off unique pieces of clothing and accessories? I don’t fly out to Korea often but when I do, I always make sure to visit a few spots in Seoul in hopes of finding a hidden gem for an amazing price. Both the times I flew out to Korea in the past 6 years and visited these places, I had managed to score at least one bargain! Here are the top 3 places to thrift in Seoul, Korea. 

Dongmyo Flea Market


Seoul’s DongMyo Flea Market is one of the best locations to go to for vintage finds and thrift shopping of all sorts including clothes, antique jewellery, vintage furniture, artwork, cameras - pretty much anything really! The flea market is easy to find, all you have to do is get off at Dongmyo Station if you’re taking the subway. The beginning of the market is more old-skool and traditional and what I mean by that is, antiques and clothing are sold in massive piles on the ground. So you have to really be willing to dig through to score a bargain. As much as it’s hard to find, you may be able to find something incredibly rare and nice. Most of the pieces sold here are very cheap with items ranging from as little as 3,000 WON (roughly $3 NZD) with the occasional 2 for 1 deals or deals like ‘fill a bag’ depending on how the owner feels on that day!


If you’re more of a shopper who likes organised chaos, walk a bit further into the alleyways. That’s when you’lll find actual shops where the clothes are easier to see as they’re hung on coat hangers. You can find vintage designer pieces as well like Ralph Lauren, Yves Saint Laurent, Carhartt and more. Some pieces may have been altered and reformed into a style that’s more modern like cropped Ralph Lauren hoodies, skirts that have been shortened, making them unique and a ‘one-of-a-kind.’ Last year on my trip to Korea, I had managed to find an oversized men’s woollen coat, fully lined in great condition that’s probably worth hundreds back in the day for only 10,000 won (roughly $10 NZD). I was able to score it at that price because of a broken button! If you’re brave enough and usually buy more than one item in these shops, you can haggle and bargain your purchase for at least 1,000 won (roughly $1 NZD) cheaper, which may not seem like much, but every dollar counts if you’d like a snack after your big shopping spree!

Gwang Jang Market

Naver | @hj48ca

Most tourists know of Gwang Jang Market as the place to eat and experience street food. What they don’t realise is that upstairs of the bustling food market, is a floor of thrifting paradise with many vintage designer pieces too. The area is definitely one of the more expensive places to shop as there are many tourists, but if you’re a fan of vintage branded pieces, this place is a must-visit. It’s best to tie your Dongmyo Market trip and Gwang Jang Market trip in one day as they’re only 3 stops away from each other on the subway. This place is also another spot where you can try your haggling and negotiating skills especially if you’re paying by cash. I had scored a Champion vintage hoodie for 10,000 WON (roughly $10NZD) in reasonable condition in a style that’s been discontinued. Remember how I had mentioned that it’s worth saving every 1,000 WON? After your bargain hunt upstairs, make sure to head downstairs to eat some delicious street food. The market as a whole is an experience on its own and once you’re there, you’ll understand why Gwang Jang Market is voted one of 10 must-visit locations of Seoul.


Naver | @bordor90

Hongdae is a well-known suburb bustling with young energy and vibes. You can find buskers, delicious food and great shops for shopping including thrift shopping. There are many second-hand shops with designer goods in excellent condition, but with the location and condition of the goods, I found Hongdae to be the most expensive spot for thrift shopping. Majority of the pieces were very hip and trendy though without much digging. There are also hidden stores in the lower grounds (a tip is look for the signs!) with second-hand thrift goods including Burberry trench coats for roughly $200 NZD, Vivienne Westwood Scarves and clothing for around $100-200 NZD in good condition with maybe a few stains or two. I was so tempted to buy a vintage Burberry coat as it’s something I’ve always wanted to purchase but forgot to go back to the store! My family members did score great condition Ralph Lauren Angora knitwear for 20,000 won (roughly $20NZD). 


Whether you’re into thrift shopping or not, the locations mentioned are definitely famous tourist destinations and should be visited and experienced when in Seoul. The three locations have very different vibes and although the goal of thrift shopping is to find unique pieces, it’s also good to experience K-Culture in a different way. If you are going to Korea soon and attempting to score some treasures, we wish you all the best of luck and don’t forget to take plenty of cash with you at all the markers!

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