Photography & Text HyeIn Jeon
When people think of Seoul, some people might only think of it as a capital of the K-POP country, but these days Seoul is full of fashion and beauty, 24-hour shops, and very tech savvy with its old and new buildings spreading out across the city with beautiful mountains as their backdrop.
If you visit Seoul, you might find yourself carrying shopping bags full of beauty products and fashionable (and cheap) clothes, or go hiking in the middle of the city to see the full view of Seoul with the river flowing through it and skyscrapers rising to the sky. Maybe you might go drinking with friends “Korean style” and stay out until 6 A.M. for a bowl of hot soup together to soothe your hangover before retiring to a famous Korean Spa where you can eat, sleep, get a massage or even play video games.
Anything is possible in Seoul at all times of day, but I’m happy to give you a look at some of my favorite spots in the city for an insider’s perspective on a city that is constantly changing and evolving.
Wolf Social Club
158 Hannam-daero, Hannam-dong, Yongsan-gu, Seoul, Korea
Wolf Social Club is a small cozy café with good music and for a good cause. You can find feminist posters and books all around the café, which also holds multiple lectures and seminars on feminism. The illustrations and logos used by this café are quite brilliant as well.
This is my go-to spot when I am feeling down or want to spend time by myself while eating satisfying meals, coffee and pies. The atmosphere is welcoming and the music selection is perfect for your soul. I always try to remember Wolf Social Club’s motto “More Dignity, Less Bullshit” and live it in my own life. It is also very comforting to find fellow feminists in the café.
D Project Space: 구슬모아 당구장
B3, 85, Dokseodang-ro, Yongsan-gu, Seoul, Korea
Seoul is attracting many international art collectors and galleries to cater to its rising crowd of young artists. D Project Space is a perfect place to find cool young creators’ interdisciplinary works. It’s located in Han-Nam, close to the D Museum with many hip restaurants and cafés nearby. You can have coffee or drinks at D project Space while looking at the cool exhibitions or enjoy indie music gigs there as well.
As an illustrator/artist myself it is important for me to have these spaces that encourage young artists to work freely and innovatively. D Project Space is special for me because it creates a platform to connect new artists with an extensive new audience. When I am in Han-Nam area, I come here to look at the exhibitions and talk with my friends over coffee or drinks.
Gentle Monster Sinsa Flagship Store
23, Apgujung-ro 10, Gangnam-gu, Seoul, Korea
In the heart of Seoul, Sinsa has long been a hotspot for fashionistas, models and designers. I love going to Gentle Monster because of their unique approach to design and layout; they are famous for having a different structure, theme and aesthetics in every location. They have two flagship stores across from each other in the Sinsa area: Sinsa Flagship Store and Sinsa Parallel. The Sinsa Flagship store has five stories, and each floor has a different story to follow, creating various different moods through the over-the-top design elements that have to be seen to be believed. Different types of glasses and sunglasses are on view and the place resembles a fine art gallery with contemporary art pieces even more than a store. Sinsa Parallel has more of a refined, quiet touch compared to Sinsa Flagship’s kitsch feel.
Whenever I visit the Gentle Monster stores I take my time and try out as many sunglasses and glasses as possible but cannot quite decide on what to buy since I love every pair! Their uniquely shaped and kitschy sunglasses are a particular favorite of mine.
18, Seongsu 1(il)-ga 1(il)-dong, Seongdong-gu, Seoul
Or.Er. Archive is a hidden gem in the upper east of Seoul. On the way, you can see the Seoul Forest as well as the Han River. The building has three stories; the first floor is a café, the second floor holds seminars and the third floor is the Or.Er Archive.
I still remember the day when I first walked into this store—it was simply magical. Or.Er Archive kind of reminds me of my grandmother’s old house with wooden floors, walls and low ceilings that make me feel nostalgic. The space is quiet and delicate, full of vintage ceramics and silverware collected from all over the world, one of a kind ceiling glass lamps, crystals and little objects that captivate and delight. I always find it hard to walk out of the store without purchasing at least a little something special.
About HyeIn Jeon
HyeIn Jeon is an illustrator & embroiderer based in NYC and South Korea. She lived in South Korea, China and Hong Kong before moving to New York and graduating from the School of Visual Arts with a BFA in illustration. Mainly working with embroidery, Jeon illustrates her favorite movies with colorful thread and fabrics. You can find her work on her website (hyeinjeon.com), Tumblr (hyeinjeon.tumblr.com) or Instagram (@hyeiniillo).