From crystal-studded, jade sandals to red-hot high heels and every in between, shoes are an extension of a woman’s style. In a unique find, nestled in the heart Seoul, the Seongdong-gu is the handmade shoe capital of South Korea. This area is known to local Koreans as the place to buy customized, handcrafted, and stylish shoes at a great price. For any woman, this is an absolute dream.
Visiting with the students of the Seongdong-gu shoe design school, I was able to view up close the design process of building the perfect pair of shoes. According to the head design teacher at the shoe design program, the students are trained for a year and then hired as shoe designers for the Seongdong-gu shoe stores. The training program for handmade shoes provides students with the opportunity to create innovative, stylish shoes that build off traditional design methods, but invoke a contemporary twist.
After visiting the design school, I walked next door to the actual shoe studio where over 15 professional shoe craftsmen build the perfect shoes for men and women. To my surprised, an average of 100 pair of shoes are produced daily, and shipped to boutiques across Seongdong-gu. The shoe studio manager stated that Seongdong-gu offers handmade shoes that combine craftsmanship with passion, which are the quintessential ingredients for the perfect pair of shoes.
In order to increase the Seongdong-gu boutiques with tourism, the city is in the works of creating and developing a robust marketing and social media campaign to convey how this area is the heart of where shoes are made in Seoul and a destination must for all who love shoes. It’s interesting to see how much communications plays within efforts to brand and market areas for tourism. Once Seongdong-gu propels its integrated communications plan, the area will transform into a must-see tourist destination.