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Hongdae is a college town in Seoul, South Korea, but it’s really so much more than that.
It’s a hub of culture for all of Seoul, especially those ages 12 to 35. The streets are filled with busking, street food, bars, clubs, and the most fashion-forward Seoulites around. On many occasions I’ve run into models, k-pop dancers, and even celebrities on the streets of Hongdae. That’s why ever since my Gangnam Street Style post last fall I’ve been dying to get to Hongdae to shoot some of the craziest and most gorgeous looks the area had to offer. So when Ethan asked me if I’d like to guest post on Seoulinspired I knew immediately what I wanted to do. Especially since Seoul Fashion Week is this coming week, I think the timing is perfect. Welcome to Korea. Let’s get inspired.
Hongdae Street Style, Fall 2018
Outfit 1: Red Beauty
We were running through Hongdae looking for inspiration. Kwon kept pointing out possible models, but I kept shooting him down. I didn’t want someone with good fashion sense. Nor did I want someone with a cute outfit. I needed someone with that something. I needed something iconic.
It was hard to explain what I was going for, but when we saw this girl we both knew instantly. From her mysterious rose tattoo that matched perfectly with her bright red dress, her platform sky-high booties, and her broad-shouldered blazer, I practically ran across the street chasing her down for a photo.
Most people in Hongdae have good fashion sense, but there’s little details like the tint of her lipstick and the bag hidden under her coat, that separate the fashionable from the fashion icons. I’m so happy to have captured her look in this post.
Outfit 2: Fitness Finesse
Hongdae has changed a lot since I came to South Korea 4 years ago. When I first came to Seoul I was told that Myeongdong was where foreigners went to hang, and Hongdae was where Koreans went. No more. When I went to Hongdae to take photos for this blog post the plan was to spend about an hour taking photos of fashionable Koreans and call it a day. But it was impossible! I ended up going to Hongdae FOUR TIMES over several weeks, and every time I saw someone iconic they turned out to be a foreigner. Finally, I came to a realization. Hongdae is not where cool artsy Koreans go to hang out anymore. It is, but it’s more than that now. As the world grows more interested in Korea through skincare, fashion, and K-Pop, Seoul is becoming an international city, which is awesome.
Outfit #2 was the first photo I took after realizing Hongdae is an international hub of fashion now. This man wasn’t Korean, but he is everything that Hongdae represents. Edgy, alternative, quirky, yet oddly cohesive perfection. From his dangling earrings to his socks over his sweatpants, his Harry Potter glasses to his beautiful tattoos, this is the new Hongdae.
Outfit 3: 80’s Iconic
On my first day shooting street style in Hongdae I struggled to find anyone iconic in the streets. It was probably my fault for going at midday on a weekday, but everyone was in sweatpants and baggy T-shirts. It is a college campus after all. After an hour and a half I had just about given up, and was thinking of telling Seoul Inspired that I would need to change my post topic. But then, all the way down the street, I spotted this guy.
I don’t even know where to start. Bleach blonde bowl-cut mullet. Bright yellow tie. Ripped bluejeans corset. Leather sandals. If he’s in a band I want his album, if he’s a model I want his Instagram, if he’s in a movie I want to watch it. I don’t know his name, I don’t know his story. All I know is that he is forever a legend in the Coffee Cats Kimchi archives, starting today. Iconic.
Hongdae Street Style Autumn 2018 Lookbook
Thank you so much to everyone that participated in this lookbook. Your street style is what makes Seoul what it is. Vibrant, creative, and beautiful.
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