Mon, 2018-07-16

Seoul Searching

with #DreaInKorea

Fashion and travel blogger Andrea Chong takes a whirlwind trip down Seoul. She shares some of the most Instagrammable places for taking the perfect #OOTD and gives us a glimpse of her life as an influencer.

Andrea Chong in Seoul

As seen on Andrea: The classic lambskin nude loafers from the PAZZION Spring/Summer 2018 collection is a versatile piece for the seasoned traveller.

South Korea Seoul

Step into the glamourous world of Andrea Chong, 26, which – at first glance, is all picture-perfect. But who knew, behind that styled demeanor, is a girl who still loves zipping around town in T-shirt, denim shorts and slippers. And that’s how Andrea turned up for our interview, at her favourite hair salon in Mandarin Gallery.

One of the first fashion and travel bloggers in Singapore, it was accidental fame for this petite influencer who, over the course of five years of blogging, has amassed a hefty 306,000 followers on Instagram, all of whom loves her for her tastefully styled and beautifully framed shots. 

We spoke to her about her recent trip to Seoul, her travel essentials and just what makes her tick:
Welcome home! How was your trip to Seoul?

It was a very short trip unfortunately, I was only there for two days for a press trip because we have to fly out to New York City… tomorrow! But I did get to explore a little bit of Seoul before the press activities began.
Andrea Chong in Seoul

What did you enjoy about the city?

It is always nice to shop in Seoul, just because it’s so different from what you can get in Singapore. Koreans are way more adventurous with their style. They can take a plain white sweater and wear it with a pinafore, a bomber jacket, or a trench coat. That’s only the outerwear. If you move on to shoes and accessories, the options are endless: boots, beret, or a beanie. Although our Singapore weather may not allow that.

In Singapore, our style is much simpler and cleaner, whereas in Seoul, it can be quirky, with a focus on colours and design. It’s always interesting to see what I can be inspired by and bring back to Singapore.

Oh! Another thing is Korean girls are very on-trend, their makeup is always flawless. Sometimes I feel under-dressed and self-conscious around them, just because they put in so much effort to dress up!

South Korea Seoul
Seoul Hello Kitty Seoul Line Brown

South Korea BBQ

What are the must-visits in Seoul?
The land of endless cafés, great for café-hopping and shopping. It is like Bugis lah, but ten times the size in Seoul. It is a very fun place to shoot at because it is so vibrant. Anywhere in Garosu-gil is perfect for the #OOTD shot. There are so many different themed cafes.
In the morning, I will explore an area with one outfit, have a meal, then it’s back to the hotel to change. I will have a short rest, then go out to shoot again. I typically try to shoot two outfits a day. If I can shoot more, that’s great; but I don’t want to stress myself out, I just take it as it comes.

Garosu-gil, also known as ‘artists’ street, is decked with plenty of quaint cafes, lifestyle boutiques, local labels and cosmetic shops that radiate charm like no other.

Price Range: $$ - $$$
Address: 667-37 Sinsa-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul

This is a place where you can get clothes at wholesale price — pretty much the Korean version of Platinum Mall in Bangkok. Some shops are open till 5AM daily, so you can shop all night. Some prices are steep, but you’re paying for amazing quality!

When you are done shopping, remember to hop over to Dongdaemun Design Plaza, the hub for all things fashion. You don’t want to miss out getting your perfect #OOTD shot at the iconic building.

Price Range: $$ - $$$
Address: 281 Eulji-ro, Euljiro 7-ga, Jung-gu, Seoul

Ewha Womans University Fashion Street

Ewha Womans University Fashion Street

Nothing is too expensive here and you can find practically anything a girl needs – from fashion, to accessories and skincare. There are tons to see and shop, you can spend a whole day getting lost in the alleyways.

To cater to the University students in the area, this shopping district sells fast fashion apparels and accessories at as low as $10!

Price Range: $ - $$
Address: 10, Ewhayeodae 1-gil, Seodaemun-gu, Seoul

Andrea Chong
Signiel Hotel
Park Hyatt Seoul
Park Hyatt Seoul
Can you recommend some nice places where a girl could rest in style?
This time, I stayed at Signiel Hotel located in Lotte World Tower, the tallest building in Seoul. You get stunning views of the river, especially in winter when it’s frozen!
On my previous visits I stayed at Park Hyatt Seoul, it also has great views and there is even an indoor swimming pool at the roof where you have a view of the rest of Seoul at your feet.
Signiel Hotel

Located within Lotte World Tower, the fifth tallest building in the world, this six-star luxury hotel boasts breathtaking views of Seoul’s city lights. The tower also houses galleries, cafes, a skywalk and observation deck - you will be spoilt for choice.

Price Range: $$$$ - $$$$$
Address: 300 Olympic-ro, Songpa-gu, Seoul

Encased in a glass structure, Park Hyatt is located in Gangnam and is close to COEX Mall, Garusogil and Apgujeongdong. Head over to Bongeun-sa Temple to relax or head to Park Hyatt’s Infinity pool to enjoy the view of Seoul’s skyline!

Price Range: $$$$ - $$$$$
Address: 606, Teheran-ro, Gangnam-gu, Seoul

Now, let’s talk about you! How would you describe you own style?
I’m pretty much like the everyday Singaporean girl: T-shirt, shorts and slippers all day. Honestly, what you see is the “glamourous” bit – that is only 10% of the job. The rest of the time I am replying emails, meeting people and preparing for the next event. But if I were to dress myself up, it would be very clean staples, sophisticated styling, nothing too revealing or showy!
Since you’re traveling so much, what is the one thing you absolutely cannot travel without?
It’s so embarrassing but I have to travel with my bolster. A lifesized one, no kidding! It reminds me of home when I’m away, and it gives me a good sleep, no matter where I will be. Embarrassing items aside, skincare is also really important. My three essentials: Micellar Water to remove makeup, moisturiser and sunscreen!
We’re curious, how did you get started on the scene?

It was quite accidental. I started blogging about fashion just for fun, that was about five years ago when I was still in NTU, studying English Literature.

I actually wanted to be a teacher, but blogging happened and I realised that I really enjoy blogging. It allows me to be creative, I get to meet new people, and I am allowed that independence to shape my career path.

“Passion comes first. If you have passion and are hardworking, success will follow.”  
What is the favourite part of your job?
Being creative! Believe it or not, I actually find it incredibly relaxing whenever I am shooting or editing. I also love the thrill of always having to think on my feet and improvising when necessary.
Any advice for girls out there thinking of heading down the path?
Passion comes first. If you have passion and are hardworking, success will follow. I never started blogging with the mentality of monetizing it, I think that’s a critical difference. You have to love doing it!

To see more of Andrea Chong, follow her on Instagram @dreachong, and her Korea adventures on #dreainkorea.

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