For those who don’t know, hanbok (한복) is the Korean traditional costume, which women still wear occasionally, particularly for special occasions such as a funeral or their daughter’s engagement party (please note my knowledge of when hanbok is worn comes chiefly from watching kdramas). Recently I had the chance to visit a shop that sells hanbok in LA. It’s located on Eighth St. across from Dong Il Jang.
Of course, I knew there had to be places you could buy hanbok here, and I think there are actually quite a few shops that sell it, but this was the first time I’d noticed one. The shop wasn’t large, but it was brightly lit and showed off the various dresses nicely. I noticed mostly bright colors, didn’t see anything one would wear to a funeral. I admit I didn’t root through the racks in a big way, but everything I saw was stylish (er, if you can call something that’s centuries old stylish) and beautiful. There were some interesting color combinations, bright pinks paired with bright yellows, etc. You can see some of the shop’s offerings in the picture to the right.
I was asked not to take pictures inside the shop, or rather I explained to the shopkeeper in English that I wanted to take pictures and blog about her shop, and she explained to me in Korean that she would rather I didn’t take any pictures. Yes, we understood each other. Don’t ask me how. Let’s just say I’m good at context clues and gestures are a godsend.
We weren’t the only customers in the shop. In addition to us, there was a bored young man who was there with a young woman who was trying on hanbok. I forget what colors she had chosen, but I know why she was there: I heard something in Korean about an engagement. He got away with taking pics of her on his camera phone. Maybe if I hadn’t asked for permission I would’ve had better luck picture-wise. No, then I probably would have gotten in trouble. Oh, well.
Now if only I could find an excuse to wear hanbok myself sometime…
P.S. I guess the place is called Kim Mi Hee’s Hanbok Shop, or at least I’m assuming 고전방 might translate as “hanbok shop” or “place to buy traditional clothes” or something like that. Like I said, it’s at 8th & Hobart across from Dong Il Jang (okay, I didn’t say it was at Hobart, but it is).