Bored of Forever 21 and H&M? Annoyed with being unable to try subway clothes on? Then take things into your own hands, and start accessorising the clothes you already have, à la a thousand blogs encouraging you to ‘get crafty’. A button here, a feather there, and boom! got yourself a new-looking outfit with the satisfaction of boasting ‘oh this old thing? I made it myself’. But where to go in a foreign city?
The answer, mon chingus, can be found at the Dongdaemun Fabric Market. Whether you’re looking for a jeans zipper, or to match Karl Lagerfeld with your dressmaking skills, go and spend a morning hopelessly lost in the maze that is the fabric market. I am not exaggerating on the getting lost bit, this place is huge. Contained within four interlinked buildings, everything you could ever want for your own clothes customisation is here: lace, silk, jersey, buttons, zippers, thread, feathers, sequins, pins, denim, belt buckles, handbag straps, wool, ribbon…and that’s just what I found. Who knows what else is hidden?
It was all a little overwhelming, so I stuck to minimal decision making & purchased some embroidery thread to make my own friendship bracelets (DIY tutorials on Pinterest could be ignored no longer). At just W2,000 for 25m, it’s definitely an affordable place to shop. There were many fabric buyers and designers bartering with vendors for wholesale quantities of material, but with a cheeky smile, smaller amounts could easily be bought I’m sure. One floor is also devoted to interiors, so if you’re seriously gifted in the ‘making things’ department, you could theoretically knock up your own curtains. But I’ll leave that to the experts and carry on creating the bracelets I last made when I was 10…
How to get there: Dongdaemum station on line 1 & 4. Exit 9. Walk straight & Dongdaemun Fabric Market is the big building on your left. Good luck!
Words and images by Verity Inett.