Concept shops have been a serious topic of discussion since the most famous of them, Colette, closed its doors in December. While a few contenders seemed obvious choices to pick up the baton in this space – Rei Kawakubo’s Dover Street Market being the most commonly cited – there is at least one that was overlooked as being in something of the same vein as the world-famous Parisian output that was launched in 1997 by mother-daughter duo Colette Roussaux and Sarah Andelman.
Tucked away in “secluded pocket of Seoul’s Cheongdam, removed from the hustle of Rodeo Street, lies a glimmering jewel box of a shop that’s a full-on fashion dream: lemon yellow Vita Kin vyshyvankas, their tassels embroidered with black thread; a butter-soft Forte Couture leather jacket, the words Mr. Fringe hand-painted on the back. It’s here,” wrote Vogue’s Monica Kim, “at Rare Market, that an incomparably chic duo has curated a treasure trove of clothes that are changing the way Korean girls approach fashion.”
Founded in 2014 by Jessica Jung and Dami Kwon, Rare Market, one of Seoul’s buzziest fashion establishments – routinely lands on the quintessential lists of the “Top Boutiques in Seoul.” But as its founders have been known to say, Rare Market going against the current. “In Korea, it’s always Chanel, or Louis Vuitton, or Gucci,” Jung told Vogue. In place of these traditionally established brands, Rare Market consistently offers up, well … rarer finds. “We’re here to introduce them to pieces that are unique,” including its own private label, We11Done.
Thanks to the wave of buzzy young designers come out of Korea – many of whose wares have been stocked by Rare Market for quite some time, alongside Western rising stars like Marine Serre, Y Project, and Barbara Bologna – and an endorsement here and there from Kwon’s younger brother, K-pop mega-star G-Dragon, Rare has become a bona fide must-visit boutique for serious fashion folks and K-pop aficionados, alike.
With e-commerce capabilities for just about anywhere (the U.S., included), and plans for expansion on the horizon, this is one concept shop that is not to be overlooked.