Instagram It-girl Irene Kim’s insider guide to Seoul, and the story of her new line of tote bags, tees, sleep masks and scrunchies
The social media star and style influencer, who’s been on a buying spree in the South Korean capital recently to furnish her new apartment, tells us where to stay, shop, and eat and what to see, and lets us in on some Seoul secrets
Irene Kim, the Korean model and social media star, dropped a new line of merchandise last month that featured fun (and affordable) tote bags, scrunchies, tees, and sleep masks for her legion of 1.1 million Instagram followers.
“I picked every font and every fabric,” she says. “I’m constantly flying, so I wanted to make things that I always wish I had with me.”
Kim’s favourite item is a PVC bag which comes with a secondary pouch inside with her eyes printed on it.
“I wanted everything to be fun and playful,” she says. “Positive vibes only.”
When she’s not on a plane you’ll find Kim making the most of her precious days off in Seoul. After a brief stint in New York for school (Kim was a student at the Fashion Institute of Technology until she left to pursue a career in modelling, social media, and styling), she’s taken a full-time address in the Korean capital and has recently moved into a freshly renovated apartment.
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“I’ve been really into interiors because I just moved,” she says. “I bought a really fun meeting table and a mirror at Chapter 1. “The mirror is just like me – it’s brightly coloured like a rainbow.”
Kim shares her top spots in Seoul for home-shopping – as well as the best hotels, restaurants, and other insider tips for exploring the city like a true local.
“Glad Live is one of my favourite hotels. They have a huge cosy bar and the seats are pink velvet – very Instagram-friendly and cute! It’s a really fun place to go with your girlfriends and the actual rooms are very modern and chic.
I also really like the Park Hyatt. It has an indoor pool and each room has a big bathroom. For my birthday I like to staycation there by myself and order room service.”
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“Visitors don’t always know this, but you can go anywhere at any time of day in Seoul. Shopping malls are open until 5am and you can have anything you want delivered to your door. My guilty late-night order is Korean-Chinese food. There’s also a service called Do It For Me [in Korean] and they will come and kill a cockroach for you if you ask them!”
“I love Korean food so I’m always down to eat it wherever I am. There are lots of amazing traditional barbecue spots in Seoul, but for something super easy and comforting I like to go to Parc in Itaewon. It’s hearty and everything is home-made. I like dining in the bottom floor food court at the department store Galleria, too.”
A post shared by Park Eunkyung (@nail_unistella) on May 23, 2018 at 3:52pm PDT
“Unistella is like the Pat McGrath of nails in Korea, so if you can get an appointment with her do not miss it. She created the glass nail and is kind of a celebrity in Seoul. Her studio is next to my office so I like to pop in for a mani-pedi whenever I get the chance. One time she drew neon signs, like a cute palm tree and my name, on my toes.”
“Rare Market is one of the coolest shops in Seoul. They have their own line, but also stock brands like Y/Project, Preen, and Rosie Assoulin, as well as a bunch of young international designers.
Gentle Monster is another fun store to go to. I actually got a lot of inspiration for my home there, because they do a lot of interesting art installations.”
“D Museum always has the best exhibitions. Leeum Museum in Hannam-dong, Yongsan-gu is good for a day trip too. They have two different sections for traditional Korean and contemporary works of art.
“I also love to visit the Gyeongbokgung Palace because it’s just beautiful. The best time to visit is in the spring when you can sit outside and look up at the roof, which has the most incredible pattern painted on it.”
In the bag
“I don’t like to carry much about with me when I’m out in the city, except for the essentials like sunglasses, a good face mist, and maybe a medical mask. Sun block is always a must too. At the moment I’m using Chanel Le Blanc SPF 40, which I like because it goes on really smooth and is a good make-up base.”