Just when you thought Korean fashion has already reached its peak, retro style is making a grand comeback and is now dominating the pop culture scene in South Korea. From flowy long-sleeved dresses to classic suits in earthy tones, the comeback of retro Korean outfits is attributed to the popularity of period K-Dramas like Mr. Sunshine.
This youth culture trend is called “Newtro”, a combination of “new” and “retro.” As the name suggests, Newtro is about adding modern twists to vintage Korean outfits. This is also done by combining elements of different periods, from the 19th century to the 1970s, 80s, and 90s. Koreans and tourists who are trying out Newtro also flock historic places and traditional villages to take pictures and immerse in an authentic cultural experience.
Curious about this Korean phenomenon? Here are the best retro clothing shops and restaurants you should visit in Korea:
88 Changgyeonggung-ro, Jongno 1(il).2(i).3(sam).4(sa), Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Gwangjang Market, known to be around during the establishment of the Gwangjang Corporation in 1905, is popular among young Koreans because of its vintage clothing arcade. Shoppers will also find silk goods, textiles, bedding, bags, shoes, hand-made goods, and Korea’s traditional outfit, hanbok. This market is also known for fresh seafood, Korean street food, and food stalls that feature Korean snacks like barley rice with wild vegetables and mung bean pancake.
Located along Geotgoshipeun-gil in Hongdae
Luna, the first vintage shop in the neighborhood, sells affordable blouses and dresses, making it well-known among students, theater personnel, stylists, and even to celebrities like K-Pop group Wonder Girls and actress Lee Young-ae.
77 계동길, Gahoe-dong, Jongno-gu Seoul, 110-270, South Korea
Shop for clothes, accessories, trinkets, purses, and houseware at Vintage Bonnie. Here, you’ll find items dating back to the 1920s to the 1980s. Their shelves are filled with antique goods, ceramics, toys, and house ornaments. This popular shop is located right across a café and bar called Sik Mool.
Storage & Co.
26 Wausan-ro 29-gil, Mapo-gu, Seoul, South Korea
This vintage haven is known for its array of denim, military jackets, and checked shirts. Its rare pieces are said to be dating back years prior to WWII. Storage & Co. also features shoes, shirts, caps, and jackets. The owners also started creating their own clothing line made with vintage fabric. They also carry Korean fashion brands that recreate outdoor workwear using modern style. These brands are Needlework, Eastlogue, Blackship, Moss Green, Labor Day, and All-Knit Works.
Ikseondong (Jongro 3rd Street)
Try on the type of retro outfit that your favorite characters from the Korean dramas Chicago Typewriter and Mr. Sunshine wear at Ikseon Boutique. Book an Ikseon Boutique Korean Retro Outfit Clothing Rental and be the star of your own photoshoot in a 1980s-themed photo studio. Choose from a variety of retro outfits and accessories and bring home some awesome photos as souvenirs.
When you are done with shopping, you can unwind in retro cafés and admire their vintage interiors while sipping Korean coffee.
Fritz Coffee Company
68 Mapo-daero, Dohwa-dong, Mapo-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Fritz Coffee Company is a café located inside a mansion with a courtyard. They serve Caffe Mocha, Cappuccino, Espresso, Vanilla Latte, Americano, and Latte as well as freshly-baked pastries.
Cafe Hoho Myoll
50 Wausan-ro, Sangsu-dong, Mapo-gu, Seoul, South Korea
This quaint vintage coffee shop can be spotted easily because of a vintage bicycle outside and as hippie Volkswagen bus inside. Their interior features 70s fashion magazines, toys, and a collection of mugs and saucers. Aside from coffee, panini sandwiches, cakes, cookies, and muffins are also available.
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*Featured image courtesy of KKday Supplier