Photos by Im Sang-Hoon
Im Sang-hoon, just 21 years old, has accomplished more than most 30-year-olds. Read on, you might learn a thing or two.
Im Sang-hoon, aka Noognas Bio
Brief bio, occupation: I started a fashion community website called Musinsa in 2003. In 2005, I started a blog collective called Noognas, which I run with my close friends. I also launched an eponymous clothing label. Currently, I’m an editor at Maps magazine. It’s the first street fashion and culture magazine in Korea.
How long you’ve lived in your city: I was born in Andong, a small town in South Korea. I came to Seoul in 2002 on Christmas. I’ve been here ever since.
Eat & Drink
Favorite high-end restaurant:
Gorilla in the Kitchen
Yeonwoo 650, Shinsadong, Gangnamgu
It’s owned by Bae Yong-joon, a very famous actor in Asia. It follows the “well-being” trend that has recently become popular in Korea, but its marketing is different. It’s friendlier.
Best deal restaurant:
1F 81-15 Nonhyundong, Gangnamgu
For a businessman, a cheap and delicious lunch is crucial. Choissine Ummason is right in front of my office; the name means “hands of Choi’s mom.” It has the best food and prices.
Best street food:
If you ask foreigners about their favorite Korean food, they usually say ddukboki (rice cakes in spicy red pepper sauce) and kimbab (Korean sushi with cooked meat and vegetables instead), but I recommend soondae (blood sausage). My foreign friends e-mail telling me how much they miss it!
327-9 Seogyodong, Mapogu
Hongdae is an area in front of Hongik University, an art school. On the streets, music and art exist together. In I-rea, you can find people sketching while drinking tea. There’s also wi-fi, so a lot of freelance writers come here. Maps uses this space a lot for interviews.
Best bookstore & magazine stand:
1F 664-7, Shinsadong, Gangnamgu
Just a few years ago, it was hard to find HUGE, NYLON, L’Uomo Vogue, etc. in bookstores. One guy on Rodeo Street in Apgujong sold these out of a small truck. A lot of people started looking for this moving bookstore and shortly after, he opened small bookstore.
2F 661-14, Shinsadong, Gangnamgu.
At first, the store just sold brands like Supreme and Bape, but after moving, it expanded to include a gallery. They also sell Addicted, Dr. Romanelli, and other hard-to-find foreign brands.
Best touristy thing to do:
The Seoul City Tour Bus has a “Palace” loop that shows off our ancient architecture, a “Center of the City” loop that shows our dramatic redevelopment, and a “Night Scenery” loop where you can see our fascinating nightlife.
Favorite art space/gallery/museum:
Samsung Museum of Art Leeum
Favorite outdoor space:
Seoul Plaza. It’s a historical square in front of city hall. The March 1 demonstration was held there to protest the Korean and Japanese conference. There, Koreans gathered to cheer during the 2002 Korea-Japan World Cup. Every time there’s a major political issue, people gather there to demonstrate. Recently opened as a public plaza, families come here to picnic during the summer. In the winter, it’s a skating rink. I go to Seoul Plaza whenever I have time.
The must-see thing in your city:
Insadong has traditional Korean crafts. Samchungdong is full of old buildings and beautiful streets. Hongdae is the best place to people-watch trendy, young Koreans. There is always music in Hongdae. Next, I recommend Apgujung and Chungdam, where all the pricey boutiques are: from high-end hair salons to luxurious clothing stores. All the luxury brand flagship stores are there.
The Seoul Festival has been going on for a few years now. This year, it was held in conjunction with the World DJ Festival. DJ Mondogrosso, DJ Dr. Motte, and others performed. It’s getting big.
Best website for local info:
I recommend the online fashion community I started (http://www.musinsa.com). We have 10,000-15,000 hits daily. In the “Coordination” section, you can post pictures of your style and see what Korean style is all about. It’s a great way to meet fascinating Korean people.