Sinsa-dong is my favorite neighborhood in Gangnam because unlike Apgujeong and Cheongdam-dong, its vibe is more artistically inclined. There are more independent boutiques than designer chains, albeit still expensive. Obviously, we’re talking about Seoul’s most affluent district — as confirmed by Psy’s hit song.
Garosu-gil, which means “ginkgo tree-lined street”, is the generative hub of Sinsa-dong. It’s home to numerous chic shops, stylish cafes and great restaurants — no wonder it’s a cherished hangout for creative types and Seoul’s most well-dressed. As a designer and illustrator, what I love most about this area is the good dose of design inspiration I get. There are so many pretty storefronts and I find it really cool that despite these stores being cramped, they still manage to set themselves apart so well. Seriously, did everyone take a short course on visual merchandising or branding? Perhaps it’s just innate talent.
However, big brands are slowly taking advantage of the beautiful area. Hence, independent shops, cafes and restaurants have been springing up off the main drag, and these side streets took a name of their own — Serosu-gil.
Two of my favorite local brands include Low Classic, or Korea’s version of COS (think streamlined and edgy basics as the name would imply), and Gentle Monster, an eyewear brand known for its unique designs and in-store installations which they change every season. During my visit, the first floor had worn-out furniture with modern style interior. I also got to visit their branch in Hongdae (blog post coming soon), and the installation was different but equally awesome.
Also situated in Serosu-gil, my best friends and I stopped by Lay Bricks for a cuppa and to try their amazing apple pan (cookie crumble, apple pie and ice cream). I think it’s the most Instagrammable dessert on the menu.
I can’t wait to go back and try other cafes! I’m eyeing on Fika, a Scandinavian coffee/lifestyle shop, Remicone, a laboratory-inspired cafe which specializes in soft serve ice cream, Bloom and Goûté, a vintage French-style flower cafe… and a lot more actually. Ugh, so many cafes, so little time.