Being a fangirl or a fanboy of Korean celebrities is a lifestyle that involves enjoying your bias’ contents, like their shows, songs, etc., and showering them with undying love and support. A certified fangirl and fanboy would want, and will stop at nothing, to get their hands on goods, fondly called as “merch,” so they can both enjoy their fave’s content and show them support.
And there is no better place to shop for these merch than in Korea itself.
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So if you have a friend who loves K-pop or into K-dramas, or if it is you yourself who are into these, a day (or two) in your itinerary is definitely worth reserving for hunting these goods.
While official merch can be a bit pricey, Korea does not fall short on alternatives if you can’t afford to splurge some won. There are tons of unofficial merch that are way cheaper but won’t deny you that giddy feeling while holding that precious item with your bias’ face on it. Save time and just head straight to Myeong-dong Underground Shopping Center, which has become a mecca for K-fans. It is accessible through the Myeong-dong Subway Station, then turn to Exit 6, and there you will find several shops that solely sell these goods.
Statisfy a fangirl and fanboy’s heart with these heart eyes-inducing merch.
For fans of idols or idol groups, perhaps the perfect merch to give them is an album. Be it the latest release or even the old ones (which in some cases are more precious as it may have already been sold-out or are already limited), it will surely warm every fan’s heart. Your gift will surely have a rightful place in their album collection, and I assure you that every fangirl and fanboy has one.
A K-pop fan has to have his/her fave group’s official lightstick. And like albums, it is also a fan’s must-have. If a lightstick is a bit pricey or might take too much space in your luggage, you can opt for the mini version.
There are a wide variety of paper merch on sale in these stores, from notebooks to notepads of different shapes and sizes, to puzzles (yes, you read that right) and mini standees. You will also never go wrong with giving posters, photobooks, or photocards as fans love to use these as display.
Gift your friend the opportunity to be with their bias for the whole year with a calendar. Some calendar, the bigger and the pricier ones, cover two years, so if your friend is planning to stan his/her fave for the long haul, this is the perfect thing to give.
A passport holder may just be the perfect merch to give that friend who is also a traveler. There is also this unique idol-themed passport that resembles the real one, but this one has the group’s photo on each page and it even has stickers.
And speaking of stickers, various choices for this stationery good are also available in these stores such as the transparent deco stickers and the non-electromagnetic wave stickers.
For that friend who loves fluffy and huggable stuff, why not hand them their biases in huggable dolls or plushies that represent their character from a K-drama or characters that they created themselves. Aside from plushies, other huggable items are pillows that come in different shapes and sizes and neck pillows.
Some wearables are also available like socks; shirts; accessories like necklaces, bracelets, and rings; caps; wallets, pouches, and bags.
There are also goods that are perfect for techie fans like earphones, headphones, power banks, earphone plugs, phone cases, and pop sockets.
Other novelty items that can be purchased are tumblers, L folders, pens, name plates, mirrors, keychains, magnets, straps, lenticular fans, T-money, slogans, banners, and mind you many more others to choose from.
The underground shopping center is as small as just few rows of side-to-side stores just outside a train terminal but you will find yourself stuck at the place for hours with the many things that can be bought there; not just K-drama and K-pop related goods, but also Korean foods, drinks, and snacks; clothes; bags; shoes; and souvenirs—all at such affordable prices, that is why it will not even be a surprise if you find yourself coming back to this haven for some last-minute shopping.
Feeling generous? Are you the kind who spoils their friends and is willing to shed thousands and thousands of won just to make them happy? Then head down to Lotte Young Plaza, which is located not far away from Myeong-dong Underground Shopping Center, to buy your peers some official merch. There you will find pop-up stores from big-time entertainment agencies, YG Place for YG talents and SM Entertainment for SM artists. If you are willing to go the distance or maybe visiting the area, SM also has another pop-up store in Dongdaemun Design Plaza (DDP). If you stan SM artists be sure to check out the multi-level SMTOWN at Coex Atrium that has a store, cafe, museum, and cinema, and the SUM Market and Celebrity SUM Cafe in Gangnam which also has the artists’ dance studio.
Celebrities are the most powerful endorsers for brands that you will see in Korea. Every nook and cranny; every tall or small building; posted on the windows of every establishment; billboards; buses, trains, and other modes of transportations; basically everywhere there is an ad that a celebrity endorses. Be it for a beauty product; food items like drinks and snacks; gadgets; clothings; and accessories, you will surely see them gracing the packaging of these goods with a huge approving smile on their faces. And these products, some are even given for free like cup sleeves for celebrity-endorsed drinks, are more than enough to warm a fan’s heart.
Believe it or not, it is very easy to make fangirls and fanboys jump with joy even with just the littlest of goods as long as their faves are on it. So be prepared to be showered with hugs and kisses and other physical manifestations of their excitement and giddiness as you hand them your gift from Korea with love.
She loves music that she needs background songs 24/7. She watches TV like a dutiful binge-watcher. And she writes mostly about the music she listens to and the shows and films that she watches.