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DFWM’s History   Take a look at DFWM’s history and tradition

History of Dongdaemun Traditional Market


Dongdaemun Market represents the Korean traditional markets throughout the 100 years of history.
Here is the story of historical moments from the beginning, to the modernization of Dongdaemun Market. Find out what have been changed around the town and the people.


Ihyeon, one of the three big markets in Hanyang, moves from Nanjeon to the headquarter of Sasang Dogo. (Late Chosun)

The market was formed in the Dongdaemun area since Ihyeon Market was established in this area late of the Chosun Dynasty. Ihyeon Market was located in the southern part of Baeokae [梨峴], and it is the origin of the Dongdaemun commercial district which is the forerunner of today's Kwangjang Market. The historian of the times, Park Jega, described Baeokae Market as follows;

Ihyeon (predecessor of the Dongdaemun Market), Jongru (Jongro) and Chilpae (near Seosomun) are the three major markets of the capital city. Numerous craftsmen and merchants gathered there and carts full of products were lined on the way to the market.

- Parkchojeonghanyangseongsijeondoga (朴楚亭漢陽城市全圖歌) (Kept in National Library of Korea)

From Baeokae Ihyeon to Kwangjang Company Dongdaemun Market (1905)

Ihyeon, which was well-known as one of the three biggest markets in Seoul, suffered from infiltration of foreign merchants during the time of enlightenment and collapse of the outskirt markets, which played the role of intermediate bases. In 1905, Ihyeon Market was reborn as Dongdaemun Market by Kwangjang Company headed by Park Seungjik (the founder of Doosan Group) and became the two major markets along with the Namdaemun market.

Dongdaemun Market sharing joys and sorrows with People

Markets in Seoul, including Dongdaemun Market, have been frequently closed. In the previous period, when the king died or natural disasters occurred, markets were closed. But in this period, the markets were often closed to join the independence movement. During the 1919 Samil (3.1) Independence Movement, most of the shopping districts throughout Seoul closed shops and showed their will to join the independence movement and to protest against the Japanese Imperialism.
The Japanese police forced the shop to open, but markets in Soule closed their doors until the middle of April. When Emperor Sunjong passed away in 1926, all the markets in Seoul closed their shops, and forbade songs and dances during the funeral.

Myth of ‘Bakkabun’ by Park Seungjik (1922)

Dongdaemun Market has become more diverse with the spread of mass production factory products, changes in lifestyle, the influx of Japanese and population growth.
Cosmetics such as fragrances, creams, blushers, lotions, tonics, perfumes, camellia oil, and fragrant oils were popular items. Especially, 'Bakkabun' was very famous, which was developed by Park Seungjik in Dongdaemun Market. It attracted sensational popularity being advertised as "Queen of Cosmetics". It is said that it was so popular to sell 50,000 packs a day.

Dongdaemun Market, from a small local market to a global ultra large fashion town

Markets in Dongdaemun area, which is called 'Dongdaemun Market', have undergone remarkable development since independence in 1945. In particular, the success of the Pyeonghwa (Peace) Market in 1960s as a modern shopping district (1961) filled Cheonggyecheon area with sewing factories. Following the success of the Peace Market, large-sized markets such as the Tongil Market, Donghwa Market and Seongdong Shopping Mall entered the market. As Dongdaemun Comprehensive Market, the fabric and auxiliary materials market, was completed (1969), its strength in the apparel market has been strengthened, and Dongdaemun Market has become a nationwide fashion apparel market.

Torch of labor movement

Late Jeon Taeil returned to the Peace Market in September 1970 and organized the Samdonghoi. On November 13, 1970, at about 1:30 pm, he set fire to himself. It has become a direct background for the creation of the first democratic union in 1970s, the Cheonggyede Clothes Labor Union of the National Union.

Dongdaemun Market, a Pillar to achieve National Income of $ 20,000

In the 80's, Dongdaemun market started to export their products to foreign countries and became a clothing export base. In the early 1980s, it started exporting clothes to Taiwan and the export volume surged by 1987. After Korea has successfully hosted the 88 Seoul Olympic Games, apparel exports in the Dongdaemun market have increased even more.

Dongdaemun Market(1988), Leader of Hallyu (The Korean Wave)

Following the successful hosting of the 88th Olympic Games, peddlers from Russia, Japan, China, Mongolia, Southeast Asia, and many other countries came to the Dongdaemun Market in the 1990s. Through those peddlers, clothes of Dongdaemun Market were sold to the world market and Korean clothing became an important item of Hallyu.

Dongdaemun Market, Designated as Dongdaemun Fashion Town Special Tourist Zone

On May 23, 2002 Dongdaemun Market was appointed as “Dongdaemun Fashion Town Special Tourist Zone". It is the world's largest fashion industry cluster with a mix of traditional market and modern shopping mall. It covers 26 large shopping malls, 30,000 stores, 150,000 employees as a one-stop center from planning, manufacturing and selling. It is the largest clothing fashion market in the world as a single area where you can do everything related to clothes within one kilometer radius.

Statute of Jeon Taeil built on Beodeul (Willow Tree) Bridge

There is the Beodeul (Willow Tree) Bridge on the Cheonggyecheon between 319 Jongro 5-ga, Jongro-gu and 17 Euljiro 6-ga, Jung-gu. It was completed when the restoration of the Cheonggyecheon finished in 2005, and a statue of Jeon Taeil, symbolizing and honoring the labor movement, was erected. Now it is also called Jeon Taeil Bridge.

Taking off of Dongdaemun Traditional Market

The Dongdaemun traditional market, which was the mainstay of the success story of 1960s and 1970s, experienced stagnation due to the emergence of the new market in the 1990s. Accordingly, they tried to modernize the facilities and to revitalize the local economy by improving the convenience of residents and promoting tourist attractions.

Leap into the Global Luxury Market beyond Korea

On July 11, 2016, the Dongdaemun Market Merchants Association - Doota Mall - the Small and Medium Business Administration - City of Seoul - Jung-gu Office joined forces and organized "the Dongdaemun Global Luxury Market Fostering Project" to "revitalize traditional markets through attracting foreign visitors. "Eight markets in Dongdaemun Market (Nampyeonghwa Market, Fashion Nampyeonghwa, Dongpyeonghwa Fashion Town, Gwanghee Fashion Mall, Belpost, Tongil Market, Pyeonghwa Market and Techno) were selected as candidates to develop the global luxury market project by Market Management Innovation Support Project. They will get support total of 5 billion won including national sponsorship. Various kinds of tasks such as Global education for merchants, and lounges for buyers were selected.

1,100 Sewing Companies and 3,300 Machinists

The sewing museum will be located in Changshin-dong, the backbone of Dongdaemun Market. It is the first 'Sewing Museum' in Seoul, and a 'Sewing Street' will be made in the neighborhood of the museum.

Dongdaemun Fashion Wholesale Market DFWM and specialized brand ABOUT D

The identity of the global luxury market, DFWM (Dongdaemun Fashion Wholesale Market) and DFWM's specialized brand, ABOUT D, were created. As Dongdaemun Market Global Luxury Market Fostering Project Team launched its first year plan, specialized streets were created through collaboration with artists and an online platform web site was established to open an effective channel for communication.



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동대문 패션 도매시장 Dongdaemun Fashion Wholesal Market (DFWM)

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