THE Most Extensive Guide to THE Textile AND Apparel WholeSale Market in the Capital of SEOUL
Where Boutiques and Shops from ALL over Korea come by actual Bus-Loads over the Wee Hours of the Night 0o0
*I will mostly have TWO names for each building, the first Korean pronounciation for you to get there, then its meaning in English to better understand how it all came to be .
*old Korean term of “ShiJang” traditionally for “open market”, now designates whole shopping buildings, as the nation has modernized swiftly //
[ DONGDAEMUN HISTORY ]
old downtown of the Capital of Seoul was geographically bordered inside the “Great Gates”, of which two stands today – this East Gate “DongDaeMun” AND South Gate “NamDaeMun”- BOTH which have spawned large traditional open markets next to it, where everything could be had .
in Post-Korean-War Modern South Korea onto 1980’s : DongDaeMun became the textile AND apparel wholesale district, with miniscule shops stuttled inside a handful of buildings South of the actual East Gate, with textile market to its immediate West and pet wholesale area, mostly of birds and aquatic fish on the long stretch a block South-East (dogs and cats further South in the movie industry AND motorcycle shop area of CheungMuRo). this was a time when export was vital in the development of this nation, and lots of export items were smuggle-out to here, sold to locals without its original labels, thus tabbed “bo-sae”, along with the alley across the now-Grand Hyatt atop NamSan (South Mountain).
fashionable apparel for domestic sale was then in South Gate “NamDaeMun”. but as development in East Gate “DongDaeMun” pushed to claim the area as a “fashion town” in mid-1990’s, high buildings soared and its booth rented and higher fashion items now sell along-side earlier casual-wear, while NamDaeMun still acts as bargain retail for the general public (while current NamDaeMun sports wholesale for fashion accessories, eye-glasses, cosmetics, hair products and cameras).
[ DONGDAEMUN ACCESS ]
over the Millennium, DongDaeMun is connected with an incredible FIVE Subway Lines ! but watch-out before you come-out of the train platform, because some inter-crossing subway lines are connected AT the actual train-platform many levels under-ground, than above outside of ticketing . older buildings such as the textile market composed of several-connected-buildings, remain as a maze daunting for new visitor to find anything . add to this : more apparel buildings are going-up even as of this writing AND hotels are increasing right on-premise . still, a few of the earliest buildings remain as de-facto for wholesale and consumer discount, each (earlier pre-1980’s buildings were FIVE-floors at most BUT longer in length, while newer post-1990’s buildings go up more than FOUR times that)
≫click and enlarge the map in a separate window for best routing≪
Subway Stations and Landmarks in BLACK – Hotels and Restaurants in GREEN – Main Shopping Buildings in BLUE
[ TEXTILE MARKET ] top-Left of above map : we start from Seoul Subway Line 1 and 4 DongDaeMun Station Exits 8 and 9, which places you at the old DongDaeMun JongHapShiJang (integrated Market) which is an inter-connected maze of Blocks A, B, C, D and the NEW Wing . it is virtually impossible to find your way through here, unless with at least 2 hours of good leg-work . after-which you would collected a dozen business cards, and then an ultimate favourite carrying ALL your needs, for most booths have their own distinct theme of items . and the first thing to do after spotting your favourite store, is to find out which of the many exit/entrance to which which block building it is ! You will eventually feel the product groups are gathered on similar floors than building blocks . here a rough which-is-where guide with many exceptions :
- 5th FLOOR : sewing tools and accessories,
- 3 & 4th FLOORS : fabric, silk and furs,
- 2nd FLOOR : fabric including Korean traditional, weaves, lace, curtains and buttons,
- ground FLOOR : men’s suite fabric, blankets, curtains, carpet, towels and even china bowls,
- under-ground : thread, blankets, lace, interior fabric, sofa covers and made-to-fit,
open hours are roughly same as Official business times, and differ as these tiny booths are private stores and begin about 8am ~ 9:30 to close around 6 or 7pm early evening .
every one eventually has their recommendation, and if you are looking for 100% silk :
- NEW Wing 3rd FLOOR #52 Life Silk has softer and plain colors,
- Block D 3rd FLOOR $302 HanSung Silk has thicker, joyfully varied motifs,
[ FOR CONSUMERS ] and as you exit out of their Norther blocks, across ChunGaeChun Water Stream above which once rose a freeway running West-East, through old downtown Seoul – now demolished to amazingly allow citizens to stroll-by and even ducks to swim it 0o0 you will see the original PyungHwa ShiJang (Peace Market) apparel wholesale market, which is another series of buildings this time : lining the North bank of ChunGaeChun Water Stream .
the whole immense block West of Subway Line 4 which cuts through North-South the whole DongDaeMun Apparel Market, is lined by new high buildings geared for consumers . the two earliest AND most popular buildings Doota and Migliore (pronounce without the ‘g’) are at its North-West entrance, BUT with a stark contrast in attitude towards customers : as Doota is basically price-labelled, while Migliore begins with notorious price-calling, to eventually tone-down drastically as customers start leaving the booth for another . so I definitely recommend the former -_- which also accept credit cards, but as you yonder onto the newer buildings, which have substantially gone-up following success of the earlier two, charge YOU their credit card processing FEE Jesus //
also behind these block await many restaurants AND massage parlours to soothe your stomach and muscles day-and-night . and in the very alley between the popular Doota and Migliore : the well-known Chinese restaurant – because it is more Chinese-Chinese than your much-common variety of Korean-Chinese situated on almost every neighborhood throughout South Korea – open 24 hours .
and across the large street from Doota, as you enter the wholesale area : the only coffee shop Caffe Bene large enough to lay down your shopping luggages – again, open 24 hours . the massive ovular green behind the coffee shop was formerly DongDaeMun BaseBall Stadium, now demolished to pave way as a goliath structure is being built to spurn the egg of Fashion Town dreamt by Seoul City Mayor yawn .
all-that-said, one can never get much detailed information on each shop, as there are so many in each building, and some do change frequently depending upon the market and their target . so the best is to get the big picture of the whole area and characteristic of each building . this can be best done by getting one upon a hand-ful of fold-out maps distributed FREE at tourist information booths (usually at main intersections) and at hotels and residences (simpler, no-frills hotels).
＊even though there are not much detailed information available on consumer portion of the whole DongDaeMun Market as explained above, even less can be found for wholesale districts . this is because the middle-players need to protect themselves from copy from competitors, as well as keeping general consumers out . so the following information is as much you will be able to find, more-so in English ! other-wise, if you are a store-owner and is serious about purchasing here, contact me through eMail noted in business section on Top Menu . no replies will be given on whole-sale inquiries on comment section below //
[ WHOLESALE AREA ] turning to the Right awaits the two most popular, or rather trendy wholesale buildings in DongDaeMun : U:Us (You, Us) and Nuzzon (pronounce New Zone). U:Us is more trend-cutting of the two, therefore vendors exchange owner-ship quite frequently . business is mostly done in cash, thus purse-snatching occurs quite frequently, even though vendor rows have video cameras to check after-wards . a great sight is the rows of apparel stacked in front of the buildings, awaiting courriers to shift them throughout the country . also, the ground floor entrance of larger building sport UPS and DHL-like courrier services .
then entering another alley toward more wholesale buildings to the North-East, a popular vegetable-rolled meat restaurant named “DaChae” (meaning varied vegetable), offering joyous Korean salad buffet with either grilled Korean pork or beef 😉
but this is NOT all, for as in all aspects of Life, especially today’s virtual : there interestingly lies a grey area in between the consumer AND wholesale areas, BOTH price-wise AND geographic . meaning : they sell whole-sale, BUT also about +20% price for consumers as well – but may give you wholesale price if you buy more than TWO identical model . it is the inverted-triangle across from the coffee shop mentioned above . most notably two lower-than-rest buildings :
- NamPyeongHwa ShiJang (South Peace Market) whose under-ground floors sport hand-bags as well as luggage . although consumer buildings out-West in Doota as well as Migliore have luggage areas on top floors, I as a luggage enthusiast prefer NamDaeMun (South Gate) Market South Block AND iTaewon South-West Block .
- Jae-il PyeongHwa ShiJang (Number One Peace Market Yes, the names are beginning to sound like those of BeiJing) whose ground, 2nd and 3rd floors are stacked with ladies and especially children’s AND menswear – NOT only local BUT even European imports (although NOT your top-designer brand of Gucci and Prada variety) which sell at over-double prices in chic boutiques in posh KangNam, rightfully translated as South of the Han River .
[ BUSINESS HOURS ] notoriously irregular but mostly :
- Textile Market : office business hours,
- Consumer Buildings : 24 hours,
- WholeSale Buildings : open late night, to close before sun-rise .
listed in detail by building at link portion on bottom of this Page :
[ AUTOMOBILE PARKING ] under-ground floors of consumer buildings on the West, as well as the whole under-ground of the main intersection in the wholesale area in the East of DongDaeMun Apparel Market has large parking areas, BUT traffic comes to a dead-lock during commuting hours 7~9am and 6~8pm, then especially late-night when boutique and shop owners and operators arrive literally by the bus-loads from all corners of the Korean Peninsula . so public transportation is utterly recommended, as FIVE subways criss-cross through the whole of DongDaeMun, then taxi cabs abound during mid-night to 5:30 am when subways and bus don’t run .
[ DONGDAEMUN ( EAST GATE ) MARKET LINKS ]
14.7.2 DongDaeMun East Gate Market Open Hours
12.12.28 DongDaeMun FAQ
13.8.3 DongDaeMun MAP
13.8.2 DongDaeMun Apparel WholeSale Market Summer Vacation Holiday Dates Closed 2013
13.9.13 DongDaeMun Market SEOUL ChuSeok ThanksGiving Holidays Closed Dates 2013
all information above holds true as of Christmas 2012, and partially updated February 2016
– the always-extensive Korea Expat BLog –