Whenever I travel, domestically or internationally, I shop. I don’t play myself by finding the closest Gap or another American store, I go to underground neighborhood boutiques to get a sense of the local fashion scene. On my recent trip to Korea, I stayed near the capital city of Seoul so I knew I’d find variety. I specifically went to areas popular for their large stores selection but what I initially overlooked was how many fashionistas I’d meet walking the streets! I intended to photograph the city’s landmarks but as I whipped out my camera, I couldn’t help but capture the stylish people I saw during my jaunt.
Most of the locals I met didn’t speak English so their initial reaction when a Black woman approached them with a camera asking to take their photo in a language they didn’t understand was confusion … and possibly fear. Once I explained in my best unoffical sign language, pointing to their outfits and displaying a thumbs up, they warmed up and became rather bashful and humble. Some didn’t want their faces shown, but I still appreciated their allowing me to photograph their cute ensmebles.
What I loved most was the outerwear, the jackets were so detailed with bright colors that popped out against Seoul’s overcast skies. Coats with accents like bows and feathers looked so good the women didn’t need to take them off because those pops of eccentricity made the outfit. Often belted and at knee lengths the pieces really kicked up the dressy factor on otherwise casual outfits.
I also felt kind of jealous because I didn’t have any arm candy with a matching sense of fashion to walk around with like some of these divas below.
And single men I met sporting cool jacket and kicks didn’t go unnoticed either!
What I liked most about Seoul’s fashion was its similarity to the United States. The pieces people paired weren’t too over the top or gaudy like I’ve seen depicted in a few Asian fashion magazine spreads. I don’t know the next time I’ll make it over to South Korea, as I was there for military training, but I enjoyed my short trip thanks to the local fashion scene.
And I definitely didn’t come home empty handed! Visiting the small shops of Itaewon and a mall that sold exclusive fashions from Korean designers in Myeongdong, it was a blow to my self-esteem trying to find items that fit because all of the clothes were one size … and they definitely weren’t mine. My height and curves were a bit much for the pants and tailored dresses, so I had to stick to the oversized sweaters and skirts with lots of elasticity. Still, I had a ball. Thanks Seoul for your sartorial treats!