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Garo Golmok, The New Trend in Garosugil
Written by Sanghee Han | Published. 2019.10.08 21:04 | Count : 1074
[An LED sign above the Garo Golmok entrance.
Photo taken by Sanghee Han.]

Garosugil is an upscale street that stretches 650 meters across Sinsadong, which is one of the busiest and trendiest areas within the globally renowned Gangnam area in Seoul. Just 50 years ago, however, Gangnam was an undeveloped patch of land occupied by rice paddies. It was not until the 1980s that Gangnam – which translates to “south of the river” – started to become the new economic and cultural hub of Seoul and the rest of South Korea. Gangnam’s prominence as the new heart of Seoul led to significant changes in Korea’s art and gallery culture. Once concentrated in the Gangbuk (“north of the river”) region, the elite class and their wealth became increasingly concentrated in the Gangnam area. Artists and galleries quickly followed and settled around a relatively cheaper area in Gangnam that is part of Garosugil today. Moreover, in the 1990s, fashion designers who had studied abroad founded their companies along Garosugil to develop one of the first fashion and designer streets in Seoul. Ever since, Garosugil has been recognized by locals and tourists as one of the hippest spots in Korea.

It did not take very long for global fashion brands to flock to Garosugil and strip Garosugil of its unique identity. The street quickly became a tourist spot and shopping center not any different from other shopping centers around the world.

Just this month, however, Garosugil opened a new cultural complex, the Garo Golmok, where visitors can enjoy exhibitions, performances, shopping at individual retail stores, and delicious food and drinks in rooftop cafes. The Garo Golmok, which translates to Garo Alley, was created to elevate Garosugil from a mere shopping street into a lifestyle destination where visitors can become more immersed in and experience in first-hand the cultural richness and diversity that Seoul has to offer.

I visited Garo Golmok last week to see whether the new cultural complex is really as good and interesting as people say it is. The first thing that caught my attention was an exhibition held on the fifth floor. The exhibition showcased paintings of a young Spanish artist, Leonardo Pastrana, who is just five years old. His paintings reminded me of my childhood and how I used to paint messy lines on a clear canvas without a clear shape in mind and with whichever color of brush I happened to grab at the time. However, Leonardo’s paintings were different. It was clear that the young artist intended to draw a rocket shooting up into space, and the colors he used were all in harmony, without a single color being alienated. As I walked around the exhibition, I overheard a number of visitors remarking about how Leonardo’s paintings reminded them of their childhood and how they, too, once used to be full of creative thoughts and imagination without any boundaries.

[Paintings by Leonardo Pastrana. Photo taken by Sanghee Han.] 
[Paintings by Leonardo Pastrana. Photo taken by Sanghee Han.] 


Then, I headed over to the lower floors, where there was a conspicuous assortment of editing shops for clothes, glasses, school supplies, plants, and so on. At these editing shops, customers can easily purchase or customize items to create an entirely new product that blends perfectly into their unique individual fashions and preferences.

Lastly, I visited the rooftop terrace, where I was able to catch a stunning panoramic view of Gangnam. The terrace was decorated with strings of shining light bulbs, and pleasant music flowed from the hands of the guitarists busking in the corner.

[Rooftop view from Garo Golmok. Photo taken by Sanghee Han.]

With Garo Golmok, Garosugil has successfully transformed itself into a place where Seoulites can escape the ordinary and their hectic lives, and always find and experience something new and pleasant.


Sanghee Han 
Grade 11 
Hankuk Academy of Foreign Studies

Sanghee Han  student_reporter@dherald.com

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