When I woke up this morning, I never thought my day would happen the way it did.
So since I moved to Korea, it’s always been in the back of my mind that I need to buy a hanbok while I’m here, mostly because it’s so much cheaper here than in the States (probably because the shops in the States have to ship in the fabric from Korea). I originally thought that I would get a white hanbok and a traditional one, then I thought about a Joseon-style hanbok and a Gogoryeo-style hanbok and then after some thought I decided that one Gogoryeo-style hanbok and a fusion hanbok. But I’ve constantly been putting it off because I keep thinking, I’ve got time, etc. But now I really don’t, it’s already the end of November and next thing I know it’ll be the beginning of February.
So I’ve been searching for a place to get a Gogoryeo hanbok and I enlisted my two favorite co-teachers, Ji-hye and Min-hui, to help me search the Internet in Korean. And basically, we came up with nothing. Then last weekend I stumbled across a shop that the owner agreed to make the style in raw silk that I wanted for about $600. So now that I have the (uber)traditional hanbok pretty much done with, I turned my attention to a fusion hanbok.
When you google fusion hanbok, you come across two designers, Bae Young Jin and Lee Young Hee, as the top designers for fusion hanboks. I found out that Bae Young Jin had a store on the outskirts of Samcheongdong that’s opened on Saturdays. So I trekked out there today to see what the prices were exactly for her dresses and the styles.
She had amazing stuff. There were three dresses that I liked. This is one of the dresses that I saw in a Korea Times article about her and kinda fell for.
I was trying to talk to the shop assistant about the dresses and she didn’t really understand my Korean, she asked if I spoke English, which of course I said yes, so she said that she was going to get someone who spoke English and lived in the States for a while. I turn around and she’s brought Bae Young Jin (!!!!!) to talk to me and help me figure eveything out. So then next thing I know I’m doing basically a fashion show for Bae Young Jin in her clothes and she’s giving me fashion advice. She picks the dress that she said is the best fit for my figure and coloring. I asked her a question and the next thing that I know she’s picking the right colors for my hanbok. And the whole time in my mind, I’m thinking that Bae Young Jin is helping me pick out my hanbok, seriously, no kidding. So the one that I decided to buy is like the one below, but instead of the teal-blue fabric, it’ll be a blue between royal blue and navy blue (closer to navy blue), salmon instead of fushia, and a salmon three-quarter sleeve bolero jacket. All picked out by Bae Young Jin.
I know that the set is a bit pricey…about $1,600…but it’s not like I’m going to have a growth spurt, I’ve been this height since middle school. Also, I’ve been this weight for about the past twelve years, and to be honest hanboks are quite forgiving in the weight department. And to buy a dress like this in the States, I’m going to have to go to New York and pay a whole lot more, because it’s not a very popular style, so not many people specialize in creating this style.
Then Bae Young Jin asked me about where in the States do I call home, we talk for a bit and then she said that she wanted me to meet her daughter. So she calls her daughter over to her shop, we talk, walk to her shop in Samcheongdong, and then get something to drink.
Yeah, this isn’t something that I thought would happen when I woke up.