Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Fashion magazine boutique for aficionados

A visitor reads magazines at Paper Muse, the first fashion magazine boutique in Itaewon, Seoul. The shop stocks about 150 kinds of fashion magazines including international editions of Vogue, rare trends, men’s fashion and children’s magazines.                                       / Korea Times photo by Rachel Lee

Magazine stands in large bookstores are usually swamped with readers looking for specific titles to buy, but who often cannot find the publications they seek. However, for these avid fashion readers, there is now an alternative.

Paper Muse opened in August in a quiet residential part of Itaewon in Seoul and is the perfect place for every fashionista to escape to because the shop holds everything there is to read about fashion.

“I have always been interested in models, photography and fashion magazines in my life, which I believe changed my career from a project manager in the electronics industry to where I am now,” said owner Sung Kyun-won in an interview. “When I was studying in London in 2003, I visited this old book shop called R.D Frank. Since that day, I dreamed of opening a shop like R.D Frank in Korea so I quit my job and dove into this business.”

Paper Muse stocks about 150 kinds of fashion magazines including international editions of Vogue, rare trends, men’s fashion and even children’s magazines. On the shelves are publications from around the world including The BITE, DASH, i-D, Stella, Man About Town, INDUSTRIE and Material Girl.

“Most of the magazines stocked here are from the United Kingdom, which I think is the biggest maker and provider of print journalism, especially in fashion. You will find a variety of stuff that you never heard before like LOVE. It has been a best seller here,” said Sung.

For Sung, magazines have never been disposable. Her massive interest in fashion and photography has led to a collection of about 300 publications at her house.

“I have collected magazines since I was 16. They mean more than just some stuff that I read to catch up with new trends. There are so many excellent ones out there that have amazing stories and beautiful pictures,” said the owner.

Despite such a short period of time since opening, an increasing number of well-known figures in the industry and celebrities are visiting the store as well as fashion students.

“One of my regular customers is fashion designer Park Seung-gun. He comes here pretty often. And the other day actress Kim Min-hee popped in the store and bought a copy of Twin magazine,” said Jung.

A 30-year-old man surnamed Park who works in the fashion industry was visiting the book shop with a colleague to browse new editions and do research.

“I absolutely love this place and have frequently visited here since my friend living in this area first introduced me to it a month ago. This place is ideal for people like me who constantly need a vast amount of information and ideas keep up to date with the industry,” said Park. “And you know these days people tend to read stuff online and on iPads but I find it never feels the same as seeing the original stuff, I mean, the actual copies,” he added.

“I hope to see an increase in sales in the near future but to be honest, I would like to collect all the magazines stocked here and take them to my house instead of selling them. I love magazines that much,” Jung added. The owner also said that she plans to open an online shop next year.

For more information about Paper Muse, visit www.papermuse.kr or call (02) 6406-6818. 

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