When I traveled to South Korea, the two questions I got asked the most were “are people racist in South Korea?” and “where did you shop?”.
Shop the Look
The truth of the matter is, wherever I travel I google how Black people are treated there. Unfortunately, as a person of color it’s always something we have to consider. Our safety is always a concern. Especially as a brown woman who likes to travel alone, I need to go into new spaces fully equipped and armed with information (I reference safety in my post about my trip to Savannah this summer).
As a fan of K Pop, I know a lot of the modern culture in Korea is influenced by Black America. This was how I reassured myself I’d be fine; and fine I actually was. At no point was I made to feel “other”, though I am mindful of the fact that I was traveling with a press group. Since coming back I’ve been left to wonder – if I were exploring South Korea alone, would my experience have been different? Wherever I went, I was with someone who spoke the language (or at least a language adjacent).
As a plus size person, I also didn’t feel out of place. Some of the younger Koreans I saw were also plus – one young lady even complimented my outfit in a 7 Eleven and asked where I got it from! But going into this trip, I knew that fashion-wise there wouldn’t be very many options for me so I didn’t feel particularly left out of anything when shopping with the rest of the group. I put on my “plus shopping hat” and hunted mainly for accessories and shoes, including this MCM Visetos vanity bag I traveled to Myeongdong to get. I was extremely and pleasantly surprised to find many options that were oversized (including the sweater in these photos), and high quality! While options were few, they were there.
Overall, I have to say I had a very comfortable experience in South Korea. I was different, and that was totally fine. I wish we could all adopt that perspective.