Amber Finlay | November 17, 2022

The Seoul Retail Edition

On innovation, creativity, and merchadising

Amber Finlay (AF) leads product marketing on the SNKRS app at Nike. She previously contributed the Good Place Edition, Sonic Parenting Edition and the Lightning Edition

Amber here. I’m in Seoul this week on business, which for me involves visiting a lot of shops that sell sneakers and streetwear.  From what I’ve seen, Seoul retail experiences are truly experiences—the presentation and creativity of some of the shops is absolutely beyond. Some are funded by large companies, which explains the lack of pressure to use all available space for product, resulting in high concept, stunning spaces that are actually fun to shop in.

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Why is this interesting?

These are some of the best places I’ve been so far: 

Ader Error 

This is one of the wildest concept stores I’ve ever seen. Ader Error has several locations throughout Seoul. I took the photos below at their Seongsu flagship space, which is like a Disneyworld ride + avante garde patisserie + sweaters and giant suits.

The theme of their spaces changes about every 6 months, and the current theme was explained to us as the feeling that happens when an idea crashes down from space into your mind.  The staff of Ader Error design and fabricate all the fittings and objects in the store themselves; this theme features an animatronic sinkhole, a rocketship hovering above an indoor pool, and giant crack filled with moss running through the entire floor. 

On the second floor, there is a cafe with coffee and cakes, with some amazing wooden seating designs. It’s pretty common for shops in Seoul to have a coffee and pastry/cake offering, and drinks and food at Ader Error were as visually stunning as the space. It is honestly so pure just to see friends sitting and enjoying an insane looking cake together. 

I need this dining set.

Commes Des Garcons Seoul Flagship

A multi-story rabbit warren full of every CDG diffusion line in existence, and a few other brands. No other words needed. I got some pants. 


Worksout has a few locations in Seoul, one in Hongdae and one in Apgujeong. It’s stacked with streetwear brands small (Thames, Praying) and less small (Obey, Fucking Awesome). The fixtures at the Hongdae location are cross-sectioned concrete blocks with weird things inside them, like half a Barbie airplane. 


Located in a huge pink compound in Seongsu, Peaches is a showroom for a creative collective focused on car styling and modification, video production, and other pursuits. There is a garage where they do custom car paint jobs, a gelato shop, a hookah bar, and a doughnut shop. Basically the Fast & the Furious with snacks. 


After visiting lots of cool shops meant for the youth, I needed this luxury immersion. Boontheshop is split into two halves-serious fashion in front, party in the back. The building is absolutely stunning, a stone and silver monolith at the top of a very steep hill.  Reminded me of *sniff* Barney’s. 

Gentle Monster

Housed in a three story brutalist concrete building, Gentle Monster is Korean eyewear brand with retail locations in many major cities, including NY on Wooster Street.  The major stunner at their Apgugeong location is the cafe at the bottom floor, where Nudake, Gentle Monster’s dessert division, sells Extremely Goth cakes and beverages. Can confirm they were delicious. 

Thanks for reading,

Noah (NRB) & Colin (CJN) & Amber (AF)

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