Seoul is the capital city of South Korea, the once war-torn country whose electric path to industrialization made other developing countries pale in comparison. Now home to nearly half of the nation’s population, this intensely populated city was able to quickly absorb a myriad of cultures and radiate an energy all its own. Creativity, in short, is boiling over in what is now one of the world’s hottest “it” cities. In this book, we explored six of Seoul’s various lifestyle scenes. And through those scenes, we were able to look at the city and its inhabitants as a brand.

Welcome to the 50th edition of magazine B.

As we release 10 issues a year, our 50th edition marks our five-year anniversary. Although we started with the simple goal of highlighting meaningful brands, we found ourselves continually growing and succeeding, bit by bit. We owe this growth to our readers in Korea and around the world, and on behalf of everyone in the magazine B family, I’d like to thank you all for your interest and support.

Print media has been endangered for a while now. Although some companies still subsist
on advertising revenue, the future of the media business remains opaque. Although magazine B was born amid such instability, we’ve established a clear company identity and have made ourselves known even to some of the best in the world’s creative industries. Personally, I think our growth was rendered possible by our consistent efforts to improve and develop the conventional format of printed magazines. I believe that as a form of print media, magazines need to redefine themselves and evolve if they’re to remain in business. We at magazine B hope to lead such a transformation, and we intend to continue evolving.

The more issues we released, the more intensive and reflective we became when choosing
the next brand — the burden of expectations increasing each time. The obligation to become better than we were last year, to make this issue better than the previous one, can sometimes be crushing. While it’s important to perfect a single issue, we also need to consider the growth and expansion of the magazine B brand. Thus, with every edition, we refocus our efforts and work to establish a proper sense of perspective and maintain an ideal balance.

Additionally, to cover a variety of brands more thoroughly, we have constantly shifted and expanded our perspectives on the concept of a “brand.” As we started out analyzing a maker of bags, we looked into the industry of individual components. We’ve covered sports events, the IT industry and even cities. Whenever we hear that we’ve changed the way our readers perceive brands, we experience a tinge of gratification. The various discourses on brands go beyond simple consumerism, as they deal with our attitudes on different lifestyles and expand our horizons — which is a beneficial development. Our decision to cover an entire city reflects our expanding views on the brand concept.

Of all our reasons for choosing Seoul for this edition, the most important factor was our
desire to make our 50th edition particularly meaningful. Seoul is home to magazine B and
to the people who create it. It’s also a city that’s starting to receive significant global attention. Although it entered the modern era as a war- torn capital, it underwent one of the fastest periods of industrialization in human history to re-emerge as a modern capital. As Seoul and
its metropolitan region are home to nearly half of the nation’s population, it contains a certain restless energy that we think is unique. To simplify our coverage of the city, we decided to approach it from a lifestyle perspective. We set out to explore the city through what people wear, what they eat, what they drink, and where they live. As there were realistic constraints of time and page count, we accepted our inability to cover everything, although that was unfortunate. However, we invite you to view the city through the professional lenses of those who craft a specific lifestyle.

Taehyuk Choi, Editor-in-Chief

Editor’s Letter


Photos

Seoul as seen on Instagram


Intro

Scene 1. Fashion

How the vibrant local fashion
scene is turning heads


Scene 2. Lifestyle & Design

Unique lifestyle shops


Scene 3. Stay

Hotel culture as an integral part of life in the city


Market

Seoul’s markets, a potential business platform


Quotes

Seoul in the foreign press


City Tour

Seoul through the eyes of three Seoulites


News

Stories that symbolized Seoul in 2016


Essay

Objects

Items suggestive of life in Seoul


Scene 4. Music

Where old school meets new wave


Scene 5. Dining

A blend of the trendy and traditional


Scene 6. Coffee

Seoul’s extraordinary coffee culture: as much about space as coffee


Garden

A secret garden in the city


Index

Contributors

Consultants who made this issue possible


Figures

Seoul by the numbers


References

The people and books to consult for more on Seoul


Outro

PUBLICATION RIGHT

Publisher  Suyong Joh
Editor In Chief / Creative Director Taehyuk Choi
Senior Editor Eunsung Park
Editor Jaewoo Seo, Yeongmin Kim
Guest Designer  Gyeongtak Kang
Filmmaker  Sukwang Baak
Marketer  Hyunjoo Kim
Correspondents  Mihye Nam (Tokyo), Nari Park (London), Lena Shin (LA), Sanghyeok Lee (Berlin), Jeewon Lim (Milan), Hyeseon Jeong (Paris)
Publishing  JOH & Company

REFERENCES

Urban Society
Seoul Community Radio
Urbanlike
Post Seoul
Wallpaper* City Guide Seoul
A Geek in Korea
The Seoul Story
Casa Brutus Travel 2: Seoul
Louis Vuitton City Guide Seoul
edit. Seoul