Dongdaemun has every fashion item imaginable: fabric, clothes, accessories, and wedding goods. the newest fashion trends, along with the newest fabrics, often make their debut in the market. it is home to the largest clothing suppliers in Korea, and aspiring designers also come to here to hone and test their skills. Cheap and diverse clothes attract not just fashion leaders but also the average consumer. It has become a place frequented by major Korean and international buyers as well.
Dongdaemun Market started as a traditional market in 1905 and experienced its first major tranformation in 1970s as it began to develop as a center of the textile industry (both wholesale and retail), further contributing to the fast economic growth of Korea at that time. With the later construction of mega shopping buildings in the area, the market became reborn as the most famous fashion street in Korea.
Wholesalers across the country visit the market at night, forming an iconic night image in Seoul. The market is a mixture of both traditional and modern stores. Some stores maintain their old buildings, selling clothing materials, crafting clothes, or processing them. Modern shopping malls (such as Cerestar, Migliore, Designer's Club, and Doosan Tower) pooped up in the late 1990s, attracting young people by holding frequent music and dance performance at night. Various fashion shows and festivities are also held year-round.
Event though stores may sell goods wholesale, individual consumers and tourists purchase them at retail prices. The market offers special fabrics not found anywhere else and sells material and accessories at very reasonable prices. Simple accessories can even be made on-site at some stores. Plenty of currency exchange services and information desks provide a pleasant shopping experience for international visitors.
Dongdaemun Market opened in July 1905 in Yeji-dong (예지동 禮智洞), Whose name means "a neighborhood for learning politeness", so the market was originally called baeugaejang ((배우개장, "market for learning"). The market was also called Gwangjang Market (광장시장) as a company of the same name was set up as market management.
The market was set in a closed structure until the Korean War, when the market was completely destroyed. The market slowly rebuilt over the years, and in 1959 a building was constructed and the market was revived. In 1998 and 1999, large shopping malls such as Geopyeong Freya, Migliore, and Doosan Tower were built in the district and the market was renovated with a modern atmosphere among the traditional market.
Dongdaemun Market is located near Dongdaemun of which it takes its name. The market is divided into five shopping districs -- A, B, C, D and a shopping town, with 26 shopping malls situated over 10 blocks, 30,000 speciality shops, and 50,000 manufacturers.
The market sells all types of goods but notably silks, and fabric, clothes, shoes and leather goods, sporting goods, plumbing and electronics, office supplies, fortune tellers, toys and food areas specialising in Korean cuisine. It also has many pet shops. The market is on the Seoul list of Asia's 10 greatest street food cities for the Korean snack Sundae and mandu.
The market was traditionally a night market and wholesalers oonce operated from 1:00 am to 1:00 pm. Now, the area is open for 18 1/2 hours a day from 10:30 am to 5:00 am., with some stores open 24 hours a day, although most stores close on Mondays and holidays.
Ever since its opening in 1905, Dongdaemun Market has been on of the major markets in Korea. Specializing in wholesale clothing, the market has grown large, having more than 20 shopping malls. A full range of fashion items that cover head to toe, are found in Dongdaemun Market at inexpensive prices.
- Section 1 - Retail Shops. The main street divides Dongdaemun Market into two sections. Section 1 is on the side where Doosan Tower is found, and Section 2 is on the side of Dongdaemun Stadium. Huge shopping malls in Section 1 basically sell wholesale and retail goods, but mostly deal with general costumers and tourists at retail prices. Thus, they have convenient facilities like money exchanges and information desks with English speaking staff. Opening hours are also aimed at general costumers, opening from 10 am to 5 am the next day. With a pleasant interior, and rhythmical music played all day long, shopping malls in Section 1 draw many young people every day. Various events organized by these shopping malls (7 or 9 pm) are also delightful. Sometimes you will get to see youth come up on the stage in front of the mall, dancing or singing. Major shooping malls are Doosan Tower, Migliore, Freya Town and Hello apM.
- Section 2 - Wholesale Shops. Shopping malls in Section 2 sell goods both in wholesale and retail, but mainly sell in bulk. That is why shopping malls here usually open at about 8 pm and close at 8 am or 5 pm the next day for the convenience of wholesalers. The peak time comes late at night through early morning. Since most shops deal with wholesalers, there are no dressing rooms. Refunds and exchanges are not guaranteed, so make sure to check the quality and size carefully. Major shopping malls in Section 2 are Designer's Club, Migliore Valley, Nuzzon, Gwanghee Fashion Mall, Jeil Pyeonghwa, and Heungin Stardom. Among them, Jeil Pyeonghwa and Heungin Stardom attract customers in their thirties and forties with items of simple and elegant design. Teens and youth in their twenties usually visit Designer's Club, Migliore Valley, Nuzzon, and Gwanghee Fashion Mall.
Near Dongdaemun Market is Dongdaemun Stadium. There is a variety of sporting goods shops around the stadium.
Tourist Information Center
Dongdaemun History & Culture Park Tourism Information Center
Located in front of Exit # 14, the Dongdaemun History & Culture Park Station, the center provides information in English, Japanese, and Chinese about the Dongdaemun Market, lodgings, and public transportation.
- Hours: 09.00 ~ 22.00
- Tel: +82-2-2236-9135~6
Seoul Subway Line 2 Dongdaemun Stadium Station, or Line 1 or 4 Dongdaemun Station
Source: Visit Korea, Wikipedia