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Traditional meets modern at Hanbok Market : The four-day event features different styles from 50 retailers

Jan 22,2018
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Five modern hanbok (traditional Korean dress) designers display their latest works in the main hall of the Culture Station Seoul 284 in central Seoul, where the 2018 Hanbok Market is being held. [YOON SO-YEON]
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From left: Visitors shop for hanbok at the 2018 Hanbok Market, which has some 50 hanbok pop-up stores; Visitors can take pictures wearing hanbok; Comedian Jang Do-yeon, right, has a go at making bolggi, traditional earmuffs, with visitors to the market. [HANBOK ADVANCEMENT CENTER]
It’s not easy to visit the different stores scattered around Seoul selling hanbok, traditional Korean clothes, let alone tracking down the style and color that suits you perfectly. The 2018 Hanbok Market, which opened on Friday at the Culture Station Seoul 284 in central Seoul, will make it easy for visitors to finally pick out a hanbok of their own at an affordable price ahead of the Lunar New Year, as about 50 hanbok brands are gathered in one place.

Organized by the Hanbok Advancement Center, the four-day market not only allows visitors to shop for hanbok in diverse styles, from very traditional to modern hanbok that could be worn more simply by mixing and matching with normal outfits, but also try different hands-on programs like wrapping gifts using traditional wrapping cloth, learning to tie the ribbon of a jeogori (the upper garment of hanbok) and trying on different accessories that go well with hanbok.

“I never owned my own hanbok, but I took this opportunity to zip through different shops and finally pick one out after trying on different styles,” said 33-year-old Park Yoon-seon from Seoul, who was walking out of the market on Friday with a bag full of modern hanbok, hair accessories, and a traditional-looking handbag that will match her new hanbok.

“I’ll wear this when I visit my parent’s place this Lunar New Year. I won’t feel so embarrassed to get on the train wearing this hanbok because it is very modern. I always wanted to get one of these modern hanbok that I can wear often, but couldn’t because I just didn’t know where to start. I was happy to try on different styles from diverse brands, compare prices and get one that I really liked.”

The most popular section in the market on Friday was the Hanbok Photo Booth, located on the first floor. Here, visitors can try on a hanbok they want and have their pictures taken by a professional photographer in a room decorated with velvet curtains. Each person receives a printout of the photograph for free.

“This is the best shot ever,” said Kong Ji-soo, a 23-year-old student who took the picture with her boyfriend. “We waited 40 minutes for this but it was definitely worth the wait.”

On Friday visitors with children could have a go at making bolggi, traditional earmuffs that are worn with hanbok during winter, together with comedian Jang Do-yeon - one of the hanbok ambassadors.

“It was so fun to try making bolggi that will be so useful during winter,” said Jang. “It will be this winter’s ‘it’ item for me.”

The 2018 Hanbok Market ends today. It will open at 11 a.m. and close doors at 6 p.m. At noon hanbok ambassador Christian Burgos, a Mexican celebrity who has appeared on JTBC’s “Non-Summit,” will accompany a gugak (traditional Korean music) trio, as a haegeum (traditional Korean zither) player.

Visit www.hanbokcenter.kr or call (02) 398-7980 for more information.

BY YIM SEUNG-HYE [sharon@joongang.co.kr]