Samsung - Dongdaemun

Creative strategy: Crafting a unique identity and suite of experiences for the Dongdaemun fashion district of Seoul.

Roles: Creative Director, Strategy


An international government and corporate collaboration focusing on social experiences and innovation on location in Seoul, Korea. Collaborating with the Seoul government, Seoul Design Foundation, LG, Samsung and the British Council we focused on the declining Dongdaemun fashion shopping district of Seoul.

Drawing from 6 weeks of preliminary research from researchers at KAIST we were able to quickly discern that Dongdaemun was operating on the traditional market/mall model seen all over Asia and as such falling into a predictable decline. The consequence of multiple factors but fundamentally due to the rise in internet shopping exacerbated by the advanced nature of Korean digital infrastructure and technological adoption rates.


The Dongdaemun I.D project recognizes that while Dongdaemun may have a fashion reputation it lacks a central theme, an identity for the area to attach itself to e.g Ginza, Tokyo and Xintiandi, Shanghai. This lack of identity is contributing to the fall in popularity of the area and consequently the destruction of its economic potential.

This project proposes to create a unique local and global identity for 2020, a strategy through 3 unique socially focused experiences to create a worldwide brand know simply as Dongdaemun.

Strategy & Execution

1. The Shopping Café

Firstly unique to Dongdaemun, The Shopping Café. Taking social experiences and existing concepts from the gaming cafe phenomenon of Asia we created a novel environment that blends the twin passions of the average Dongdaemun visitor, Shopping and Eating. The short film below will explain the journey our case user “Kim Nayoung” takes as she leaves home for the Shopping Cafés of Dongdaemun. In a nutshell the Shopping Cafés utilise interactive surfaces as dining tables allowing Nayoung and her friends, 2 businessmen on a lunch break or a group of socialising mothers to browse and compare a curated selection of Dongdaemuns 200,000+ products over 5 malls over a delicious meal.

2. The Brand

Subtlety is the key for taking the existing image of the area and unifying it organically against a central brand. We propose first a gently introduction of the brand through a universal bag system across the 5 malls utilising the 5 brand colour of Dongdaemun featuring the logo in small detail. Similar public vehicular branding and metro marketing specific to the area would follow.

3. A Dongdaemun Aspiration, A Hero

Choi Bumseouk is the archetypical Dongdaemun designer, with no formal fashion education he started in the fast fashion markets of Dongdaemun and has no risen to become one of Korea’s most successful fashion designers. Now CEO of internationally recognised fashion label ‘General Idea’ Choi has the power to return to Dongdaemun and lead a new generation of designer by attracting talent back to the area. We would use the influence of the Seoul Mayors Office along with the Seoul Design Foundation to attract Choi back to the area and champion him as the kind of success Dongdaemun can produce.