Earlier this month I visited Seoul, to see some of the tailors I had been intrigued by but mostly seen from afar, and to visit some of the shops and brands.

My impression was of a dynamic city – new development, new retail, every shop with a distinctive concept and branding. There seemed to be an independent coffee spot on every block, each with a fully-fledged identity, complete with period furniture and branded stickers.

Comparisons with Japan are probably inevitable – especially for a westerner – and Seoul felt newer, more tech-savvy, more open. It’s said Tokyo feels like the city of the future, in 1990; Seoul feels like the future now.

This is not necessarily good. I like tradition and I like old buildings. In many ways Seoul is not my kind of city. But there are some more neighbourly areas and the longer I stayed (we were there a week) the more I liked it.

The retail was also exceptional. Just like the coffee shops, every block of Seoul has multiple fashion start-ups alongside the normal big-brand flagships. They’re fast changing and (another difference from Japan) fuelled by social media.



I was told retail has matured in the past 10 years though.

The criticism of Korea used to be that it was all hype; that it adopted fashions quicker than anyone else but dropped them quicker too. Speaking to those that have lived there – and either worked in menswear or been consumers – that seems to be changing.

Classic menswear was a big trend for perhaps 10 years (a big thing in a place where, unlike Japan, few people wear suits). That has started to fade in recent years, but there still seems to be enough makers and customers for it to be sustainable. Vintage was also a big thing, but even though it’s not as popular as it once was, there are still some really great stores (in fact, perhaps my favourites anywhere). There’s a little less hype these days, and a little more diversity.

Tailoring has been on its own journey too, and I’ll cover that in a separate article. Today I’m just going to mention the best shops we went too – something a few readers have already asked for.

The list is by no means comprehensive, as it was our first visit and we spent a lot of time seeing tailors. But I think it’s a great set of places for any Permanent Style reader to visit, and hopefully I’ll get a chance to flesh it out in the future.

Thank you Sam, Matt and everyone who was so generous to myself and Alex during our time in Seoul. Hopefully this and future coverage will do some kind of justice to your city.



San Francisco Market

San Francisco Market was the first real menswear multibrand store in Korea, though that only makes it 30 years old. It’s an interesting mix today, with brands like Nepenthes and Engineered Garments alongside Alden and Andersen-Andersen. Upstairs there’s Liverano and Jacob Cohen jeans.


Unipair is the second generation of menswear in Seoul, tracing its history back to the start of PS and so much else, in 2008. It began as a shoe space inside San Francisco Market and is now a large, traditional shop with an impressive entrance, stocking the widest range of classic shoes in Seoul. They’re planning on launching a bespoke service next year. Joe’s Garage (below) and the Drake’s shop are operated by the same group.

Joe’s Garage

A good shop for Japanese repro brands, with a particular emphasis on Toys McCoy and Boncoura, which we don’t see so much of in the UK. There are also the more standard brands such as Full Count and Warehouse, plus Korean brands Demil and Eastlogue. The latter is a good example of what Korea has become increasingly known for abroad: down-filled and other outdoor clothing, also seen at FrizmWorks for example.




I have to say, being in Seoul makes you miss good multibrand (‘select’) stores. There are so few in London, and they always give you a fresh perspective on the brands they choose. They also (in Seoul as in Tokyo) often have European brands that are hardly available in Europe. Barbershop is one of the best, with highlights when we visited being a long long row of Harley shetlands and a selection of Owen Barry shearling.


A shoe store that’s part of the same group as Barber Shop, Parlour (above) also has some smarter clothing – they’ve just introduced a ready-to-wear selection designed by Sartoria Jun, the first foreign-trained tailor in Seoul. The shoes included exclusive make-ups of Alden (such as a rather nice kidskin) and my first look at La Botte Gardiane.

Random Walk

The third, most recent generation. Random Walk has a mix of smart and casual, with JM Weston shoes alongside Coherence and Scottish knitwear brand Esk. Also Filmelange, which Manish highlighted in a recent article, and the American brand Crescent Down Works. Next door they also have a pop-up space which when we were there was led by Rocky Mountain Featherbed, Anatomica and Big Yank.




Omnipeople (above) is two vintage shops, one in the north and one in the south of Seoul (Gangnam). The one in the north is the better and certainly larger. It’s the biggest I’ve visited anywhere in fact, with full size runs of American military clothing and an impressive range of periods, including a lot of 1960s-1980s outerwear, from Eddie Bauer and the like. The rarer stuff is in a small space upstairs.

Magnolia Miss

A smaller vintage shop (below) but just as impressive. In fact I found more things here to try on than anywhere else, including old American flannels, American-made Rocky Mountain, and a range of chambrays. As with all the vintage shops we visited, each owner was behind the counter and keen to explain the history or interesting aspects of any piece.


A slightly more personal, quirky vintage shop, but really worth a visit. The collection is eclectic, with great clothes but also Sony tape players, a little collection of Cartier watches and great books like the Margiela: The Hermes Years. The kind of place I’d like to go back to if I ever wanted to find something really different. They also make some of their own pieces, including a nice range of belts.



Take Ivy

A small vintage place selling (you guessed it) Ivy clothing. Cheaper and more modern, it was notable for selling not just Ralph Lauren but the Japanese line of J Press, and a lot of Van Jacket. I picked up a varsity jacket that Van had made for a Japanese prep school.


Just across the road from Take Ivy (which is why I’m placing it here), Tannery has a mix of smart and casual just like most of Seoul’s menswear. That includes Boogie Holiday (also a brand worth checking out separately), East Harbor Surplus and Kenneth Field. It’ the shop in Korea stocking Fortela.

Jack Fort

A little space around the corner from the Assisi bespoke shop. Jack is a trained tailor who takes apart vintage clothing that can’t be sold otherwise and remakes it into new pieces (above). That might be M65s remodelled as a double-breasted jacket, or his own design of a field jacket made with deadstock cloth and backed with new alpaca.

There were many other shops we would have liked to check out, including Korean brands that are doing things adjacent to more classic menswear – such as Document, Niftydo, Havati, Ourselves, Rinostore, Calico and others. As I said, hopefully next time.


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Hi Simon,

I have not been to Seoul, but, I did live in Tokyo for a couple of years, 20 years ago.
The shopping would have been great except for one thing.
Being of Western dimensions, I found it near on impossible to get anything in my size.
In two years I don’t think I was able to buy a single item of clothing.
Is your experience different?



Hello there!

Any recommendations for Strasbourg? One name will do if anything springs to mind.




Many thanks!

It really seems that Asia is doing well on the style front. As someone who used to live in the US and has been in London since 2007, I’m afraid we’re not winning the stlye war, in my opinion. A walk around London today does not inspire me! So much so, when you do see someone awesome, it’s a rare sighting.


Hi Simon,
A lovely quick guide and enjoyable read. Perhaps one day you will be able to organise a Far East themed pop-up in the UK of brands that are only available online (if at all) in the UK.
Eg The Real McCoys, Coherence , 45R and some Korean brands. I don’t know enough about retail marketing to know if this would be a hit, however if well communicated, I would hope so.
One to ponder when you can and other readers to comment upon.


I recommend Andrea Seoul for the best and largest selection of RTW tailoring of any shop I’m aware of globally. They have four different brands, from their own made by Ring Jacket up to Cesare Attolini, all full canvas in great fabrics especially tweeds from Fox, Marling & Evans, and others at competitive prices. They also carry a few other nice things like Coherence outerwear.


Would you do an article on Athens?


Anyone know who makes those chelsea boots in the first picture?


JM Weston Chelsea Boots 705. You can find it on Randomwalk’s Instagram(@randomwalkshop)


Hello Mark, that’s Weston’s Chelsa boot w/ brown leather.


This is a really enjoyable article, Simon. I have no plans of going to Seoul, so probably won’t have the chance to visit these shops. However, I have followed randomwalk and unipair on instagram for a while and I really like their styling. It is also annoying (in a lighthearted kind of way) that the stuff that I particularly seem to like from them is made in the UK, e.g. particualr models of crockett and jones, edward green and chrysalis outerwear, yet I am unable to get it here in London. Oh well..


Your article is quite interesting and I love to read your shopping guides and the associated inspiration. On the second image is a bright yellow golden rollneck. The combination of cream trouser and navy coat looks great. I would not have the idea to combine it, but like to adopt …Do You have and clue which brand it could be?


Dear Simon,
Could you please identify the shop as seen in the top image of the article?


Great article as always and looking forward to the tailoring as theirs such an incredible range much like japan.
It seems to me that one of the things that really sets apart places like Seoul and Tokyo is the ecosystem and how it allows for such diversity. What would you say are some factors that allow for such incredible variation and quality.


There are also a lot of second hand shops (not vintage). In the UK, marrkt is the most obvious one, but in Korea there are so many websites and physical shops. Of course this information is quite inaccessible if you’re foreigner as Korea uses Naver rather than google.
There’s one store called 2nd Square (you can find on instagram) that sells mostly 2nd hand tailoring. It’s great especially for those who can’t afford to make expensive mistakes.
Another great shop similar to Joe’s Garage / Clutch Cafe is ModeMan, also in Hongdae.
Cost of living in Korea is cheaper as well, so I felt much easier to explore different styles.
Not surprisingly, Alden is an exception.
Anyways too many great stores to list.


you can say that again Henry. 2nd square is by far the best second hand place in Seoul.


Hi Simon, a very interesting guide. I’ve noticed before how sometimes something I’d like from a British brand is only available in Japan or Korea or the USA. Now that William & Son has gone for instance, one can almost only buy Chrysalis country clothes in Europe; many of their other, less country, coats and jackets are only available overseas (I believe Random Walk and Barbershop are among those who stock them). Possibly anecdotal, based on Korean TV and social media, but it seems like there’s quite a strain of Anglophile fashion there. I rather like the way Random Walk for instance will style a country coat as a practical winter garment, with jeans and trainers or similar, rather than aiming for the traditional hunting look with plus fours etc. The way they mix smart and casual is also very inspiring. I’ve also noticed it among their women’s fashion; Elborn did a loverly, very 1990s Sloane Square campaign a few seasons ago. Could you perhaps write some more about the different way they approach social media as I think it could be of wider interest here?


Thank you Simon.


As a long-time fan of yours, I hope that the memories of Korea will remain beautiful. Please remember the citizens of Seoul who remain warm even in the midst of dynamic and new trends, and I hope you come again to Seoul next time with a smile. Thank you for writing about Seoul with a wonderful message🙏🏻 (I am a big fan of Unipair and Sanfrancisco Market!!😁)
There’s one more question I’d like to ask you: what difference did you feel between the suit of Ciccio of Japan and the suit of Sartoria Napoletana in Seoul (Sartoria Jun) that you wrote in the past? They learned the suit from the same teacher, and each is at the top of the table in Korea and Japan. I’m curious about your beggar’s views on the differences in style, silhouette, making, etc. There must have been a time limit to experience Bespoke. I’d like to ask you the difference in intuitive feeling. Thank you very much for your kind response always.


As a Korean (but I live in Europe now), this article pleases me. As you have seen, in Seoul (and almost all Korean cities as well), many traces of the old architecture have disappeared for various reasons, similar to Tokyo or Beijing. Also changes too fast. I was born and raised in Seoul, but it’s still amazing (and sad) how much it changes every time I visit. In South Korea, menswear hasn’t found its place since it went out of fashion a decade ago. However As you’ve found, there’s a tremendous energy in the city. Perhaps that explains Korea’s recent influence in pop culture. I think Seoul has been so undervalued compared to Hong Kong and Tokyo for so long, I hope it can be reevaluated through your contributions.


I hope you had a nice stay. Now that you’ve tried Assisi, BnT and LucaMuseo, would you say that Korean tailoring (of course that’s a broad word) has anything that is distinct and unique to it? How would you characterize it now and where would you say it stands in comparison to Italy on the one hand, and other Asian tailors such as WW Chan on the other?

Ludwig Jernberg

Thank you for a great thorough article!

I spent four months in Seoul in the autumn of 2019 and I absolutely fell in love! And the selection of shops really is next level. As I live in Stockholm I’m accustomed to visiting trunk shows but during my time in Seoul my four months were packed with trunk shows! Anglo-Italian, Orazio Luciano, Spacca Neapolis, Ambrosi, Drake’s and Edward Sexton all came to visit. So there really is a great interest for custom menswear and tailoring!

Some other shops for a future visit could be Andrea Seoul, LaMarche and Maniac Mansion.

I’m glad you enjoyed your visit!


Hi Simon

I’m heading to SK soon and am hoping to get a down jacket. I saw Crescent Down Works feature on your Instagram stories, do you have any other recommendations?



I’ll take a look, thanks Simon


I dodn’t see a mention of Bastong, or did I miss something? Seems like an interesting shop, doing collaborations with British manufacturers as well, like Gloverall duffle coats?


“I like tradition and I like old buildings. In many ways Seoul is not my kind of city.” As somebody born and bred in Seoul but currently living overseas, your depiction of Seoul really hit home because I feel the same way about the city.  


Hi Simon,
Are there any good shirtmakers you’d recommend around Seoul?


Could you maybe ask one of your many Korean friends? I’m sure it would be pretty useful info to other readers as well.


I did, and they recommended their own service. I was looking for someone who does only shirts though, a bit like Abbarchi or Avitabile.


Hi SImon, I have been searching for a casual unconstructured blazer like the drake’s one (but at a more affordable price point) for a long time now and I stumbled upon a nice one by boogie holiday (see link below). What are your thoughts on the colour? Do you tnink it can go well with khaki bottoms or is the colour too close/similar?