Food, art and fashion of Seoul

What it says on the tin.


At one of the many, many open-plan cafes in Hongdae. This is a choco-tini and pecan pie.


This is a latte martini at Coffeelec, a boutique coffee shop with an award-winning and handsome barista. Here he’s mixed creme, vodka, espresso and chocolate. These probably give the impression my tastes are childish/decadent. I enjoy plain espresso, but on weekends I need to feel I’m living large.



This is aA Design Museum in Hongdae, the Soho of Seoul. The owner collects 1960s decor and arranges it in a giant concrete space. You can sit on curvy, wooden things and order cake.


The basement is equally large but under renovation; last I looked, the bar had lights and there was a giant paper mache shark being affixed to the ceiling. In the stairwell, a lego-octopus chandelier:


A little room with no apparent purpose in the stairwell between floors:


Salaryman goat in Hongdae:


And his uncouth American cousin inside the store:


I haven’t been into Cafe Brick yet, but its vintage Vespa and sidecar are glorious:



Fuck yeah. I never thought I’d see this in Korea – it’s the kind of thing everybody thinks and no one says, at least openly.

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Don’t know what this jewelry store was going for, but it succeeds as creepy. Why is she naked, why is she stuck on by her face?

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Swastikas are a common sight here, since they’re Buddhist icons. But for a thematically-pleasing misinterpretation, I like the communist-fascist-pacifist spread here:



English clothing

To be precise, English messages on clothing.


“Water levels are rising because Jesus is crying.”


Occasionally I spot designers who genuinely have a message. This is a nice summary of the temporary nature of capitalism:


If only:


Actually ‘working class hero’, but I prefer this:



“All women shall be happy only for the fact that they are woman.” That’s as feminist as you’re likely to get in Apgujeong, the equally-upscale fashion district next to Gangnam.


A boutique in Doota, one of the megamalls in Dongdaemun, downtown Seoul. It seemed fitting after my last post.


“I’m so intelligent.”

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I spotted this guy on the subway. The superhuge glasses look good on Koreans and ridiculous on everyone else. I don’t know why. Also check out the studs on his Converse.


Finally, as a reward for making it this far, one of the most fashionable women in Seoul. My girlfriend had actually spotted her a few months earlier, which isn’t easy in a city of 10 million, but she obviously stands out. I wouldn’t have had the courage to approach her on my own, but my girlfriend was with me and agreed I needed this photo for my blog. So I caught up to her outside the subway gate in Gangnam, explained I kept a blog and asked if I could take her photo. She graciously assented. Note not just the giant spectacles but the winged sandals, black leather accessories and translucent sleeves. And as a composition, I really like this photo: the colours work, and the moving, glancing passersby contrast well with the still model. Yes, this woman is uncommon; no, she’s not the only one pursuing a ‘post-goth out for a summer stroll’ look and pulling it off. People have criticized Korean fashion for being endless variations on the same theme, but there are people taking a standard repertoire and doing some amazing things with it.



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