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San Francisco Market, Sinsa-dong 

After a decade working in Italy, Han Taemin founded this admired multi-brand shop in 2005. Here he shows the men of Seoul how to match a Lardini suit with an Engineered Garments overcoat, or Mason’s trousers with a tailored jacket. “I’m all for a good chambray shirt, a wool suit and a pair of Alden shoes,” he says. Han favours the basics, made from the best fabrics, and has a loyal clientele who appreciate his sharp attention to detail. As well as leading the way with his own brand, East Harbour Surplus, he works with partner brands to tweak products to suit South Korean tastes. 

29-10 Dosan-daero 49-gil, Gangnam-gu 
+82 (0)2 542 3156 
sfmarket.co.kr 
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Beaker, Cheongdam-dong

Part of Samsung’s fashion arm, Beaker stocks close to 300 men’s and womenswear labels from the US, Europe and Asia, including Helmut Lang, Closed, Aspesi, Armor-lux and Maison Kitsuné. Peppered among the clothes are lifestyle products and design and travel magazines. 

All of the above are organised on recycled-wood shelves and display units made from abandoned construction materials that are sourced from across Seoul by upcycling design firm Fabrikr; the Korean studio also designed the façade of the second site in Hannam-dong. Look out for Beaker’s much talked about collaborations with independent Korean brands, as well as its capsule collections with labels such as Rag&Bone and Amsterdam-based trainer designers Filling Pieces. 

1-2F, Cheongdam Building, 408 Apgujeong-ro, Gangnam-gu 
+82 (0)2 543 1270 
ssfshop.com/beaker
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The Book Society, Tongui-dong 

The Book Society opened in 2010 to house the tomes – art books, illustrated journals, zines and research series – that founders Helen Ku and Lim Kyung Yong were producing at their independent publishing house, Mediabus. Today the shop stocks art and design titles from Korea, Japan, Europe and the US, in both Korean and English. The set-up also fills a gap for alternative creative spaces in Seoul, as the Tongui-dong site, known for its artists’ studios and smart graphic design, regularly hosts talks and presentations on the city’s publishing culture. 

22 Jahamun-ro 10-gil, Jongno-gu 
+82 (0)70 862 15676 
thebooksociety.org
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Gentle Monster, Sinsa-dong

This Korean eyewear brand’s themed showrooms are as much of a draw as its specs. There are five outlets across Seoul but start at Sinsa-dong, with its kinetic and light sculptures. Nearby is Parallel, the label’s concept showroom, which takes a naturalistic approach to design (lots of greenery, sand and rocks) and exclusive products. Known for their large acetate frames, Gentle Monster’s bestselling models, Absente and Black Peter, are often spotted on celebrities. 

23 Apgujeong-ro 10-gil, Gangnam-gu 
+82 (0)70 5080 0196 
gentlemonster.com
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Platform Place, Sinsa-dong

This small chain has six outlets, each selling clothes, accessories and household goods with a focus on great craftsmanship. The Sinsa-dong shop stocks London’s You Must Create and Veja from France, as well as Neul, a womenswear brand founded in Italy in 2015 by South Korean designers Cho Sung Jun and Hwang Ji Hyun.

47 Apgujeong-ro 42-gil, Gangnam-gu
+82 (0)2 517 4628
platform.co.kr

Images: Jun Michael Park

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