Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Migliore 밀리오레

I think I now understand how Seoul is considered a shopper's paradise...

Migliore (which means "better" in Italian), is a chain department store that originated in Korea in 1998. They have about 5 locations in Korea and one in Taipei. The one I visited is the original store in the Dongdaemun district. It basically consists of 4 or 5 floors selling clothes for both males, females, and kids, accessories, bags, shoes, and household items catered towards the young (25yrs and under) crowd by offering the latest fashions at wholesale prices. You have the chance to try on most of the clothes here (if you want) and they do have changing rooms, which is quite rare for Korean malls. A lot of the time, they don't have price tags on their clothes, so you have to ask, while pointing to the item,
"olmayeyo?", which means "how much?". You have two methods of payment: credit card (which means you can return/exchange the item), and cash (said 'cash-ee'). If you pay by cash, all the shops knock off 10% automatically except for the shops that sell items for 15,000 won (approx $13CDN) and under. Although I'm sure the SAs have memorized a bunch of prices, it seems as though they raise or lower the price depending on how much they think they can get away with, how much they like you, or how much effort you put in to speak Korean if you're a tourist. You're also allowed to bargain... but the "walk-away" tactic I found so effective in Hong Kong and Taiwan does not work here. They do not call you back and shout out lower prices. A good tip is to ask for a discount. They're quick to punch in a lower number in their calculators. Sometimes, they even let you tell them how much you'd pay!

Even though this is a wholesale department store, do not expect to get all items for dirt cheap. It's easy to tell that Korean clothes are much better quality than the ones sold in HK and Taiwan so the prices are a bit higher than what you'd see there. I bought two coats today. One, a light khaki long windbreaker, was originally 88,000won but we knocked it down to 50,000 because Tiffany bought a coat too, and the other was originally 59,000 and I bargained it down to 45,000won. Quite reasonable and still much cheaper than what you would find in Vancouver (if you were to buy the same thing). The going rate for cardigans and blouses are 35,000won.

Migliore is in between 4 other department stores (but they were under construction).
Dongdaemun Shopping Complex
Another interesting thing about this mall is that it opens from 10:30AM to 4:30AM every day (except it's closed on Mondays). Is that not ridiculous?!

The SAs are friendly and always ask if you would like to try clothes on. They help you put on coats and snip off any loose threads. Mens clothing is on the 3rd floor. In the inner shops, only men work as SAs. Tiffany warned me that they would try to do anything in order to get you to buy from them. I had one guy confess his love to me, one tried to guess our ethnicity (but failed horribly), and one tried to pull me back towards their store (isn't that illegal?)... they were all complimentary.
Sometimes, shops put brand-name tags (like Dolce and Gabbana) on the items that are similar to runway styles.OH and sizing -- most of their coats come in 3 sizes (S, M, L), but their "oversized" shirts only come in one size and it fits a M/L. T-shirts and fitted shirts fit a XS/S, cardigans fit M/L. Jean shorts and most skirts are for people with no hips and I don't think they have over a size 3 here though you can find up to a size 31 for jeans elsewhere.I wasn't too fond of the 4th floor because they carried a lot of luxury brand name fakes...This is a short video I took while following Tiffany and walking through the crowds in the mini market on the way to tackle Migliore for the 2nd time. I pass by the street shops, some food vendors, a psychic-type tent, and then enter Migliore's first floor: women's clothing. Warning: it's very shaky so sorry if you get motion sickness...
Migliore is overwhelming, crowded, and an absolute maze... but I think it's worth it!

The Hangeng River. This place is quite well known - especially those stepping stones. A romantic spot - a lot of couples visit this area. I might take a Hangeng River cruise on Saturday.
It was 16 degrees today!!! Can someone pinch me? I remember just a few days ago I was freezing my tail end off. BUT apparently, the yellow dust is quite heavy right now. I say
apparently because I hardly notice it. When I first read about it, I imagined everybody wearing those mouth masks trying to stay indoors as much as possible... even having school cancelled because you couldn't see 5 metres ahead!
I guess it's a bit hazy...
OH yea another lucky thing happened today. I decided last Friday to switch out of Management Accounting to Operations Management because I didn't want to torture myself while abroad (number crunching is not my forte). This new course is a 200-level course (2nd year) at KU but is considered a 400-level course at SFU. The professor is French and she has a strong accent. I was lucky because even though this is the 3rd week, the professor was absent (for some reason) and had only arrived in Seoul 2 days earlier! SO today was technically the first class and I didn't miss anything (though I was prepared to work hard to catch up). The only drawback is that there will be 3 make-up classes off school hours... I hope it doesn't conflict with any of my plans out of town. About 1/5 of the students in this class are international students but I only recognize 3. I wonder how the locals can understand her English...

Chal ja~


  1. woooow! there are SO many people shopping around! how do you walk around w/ out bumping into ppl and maneuver around them to get to the clothes you want to see???
    and was the music blaring in the background of your vid music from the street or did you add it?

    ugh..i wanna shop there w/ you badly!!!!

  2. haha it was crowded!! But you know.. a certain someone owns the aisles... hehe j/k
    Yea a lot of people squeeze past each other!

    I'm not tech-savvy enough to add music let alone clip my videos! It was music from the street -- Migliore played a lot of songs I knew!

    When you come, we will shop!

  3. great to see what a chinese canadian is experiencing in korea! but i have to make a few corrections. migliore isn't a department store. it's basically an indoor flea market or a "shi jang". for clothes and stuff. a department store or bek hwa jum is much more upscale. hyundai department store, shinsegae department store, gallery, etc etc. these are all department stores. AND they all have adequate changing rooms. only shi jangs sometimes lack changing rooms. also, that river you showed wasn't the hangang (which i think you spelled hangeng). that is a famous stream called the chungehchun. it was covered over by a street last century and was then redeveloped via a large urban/nature reclamation project by the current president of korea when he was the mayor of seoul. it is regarded as one of the most successful reclamation projects in the world.

    also, why do you always mention the price when talking about everything? i find this is common with 90% of my chinese friends. is this cultural? it makes it seem like chinese people are cheap/bargain focused above all else!

  4. Anonymous: I wonder if you'll ever see this reply, but thanks a lot for your comment and for clarifying! I realized the Hangang mistake when I went to Cheongyecheon =S
    haha and yes - I've never thought of that, but now that you mention it, I guess price is a Chinese cultural thing.. or semi-Asian thing in general. A lot of people ask me "how much did you pay" which gets a bit much so I just add it. Also, it's to give people a sense of how cheap or expensive shopping is. I've actually received quite a few e-mails from random readers asking "is shopping more expensive in Seoul than ____?" so they can judge for themselves! =)

  5. you're pretty right about the walk-away tactic! hopeless! arrhh! they really depend on how they like us to give good price!they're ignorant,i say! but what to do..they do sell good stuffs! >__<

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