Thursday, January 27, 2011

Snowboarding Korea Style – Adventures in Fashion

If you ever happen to find yourself in Tokyo and you’re looking to buy snowboard gear you will end up in the district of Kanda, because every single snowboard shop in Tokyo is in that district. In fact every single snowboard shop in Tokyo can be found in a small area of Kanda called Jinbocho, all one on a single street called Yasukuni Dori. Go there and you’ll find 40 snowboard stores all right next to each other, all selling snowboard gear at exactly the same, suspiciously high prices. The one other thing all these stores have in common is that they all stock the same snowboard gear that you’ll find if you walk into any snowboard shop anywhere in the world, a selection of US and European brands dominated by Burton. Great news for the established brands but not so good for diversity, and as a result if you run into a snowboarder from any country in the world they might look different, talk oddly and eat very strange food, but they will be wearing and riding pretty much the same stuff as you.

There is however one country that does things different, a country that has a whole array of snowboarding brands producing some pretty unique gear that you’re not going to find anywhere else...South Korea

Here are some of the brands we found after blindly stumbling around the Korean language internet...

Donna - Massive hoodies, massive jackets and massive pants, basically they aim to satisfy all your massive apparel needs.

Acefuzz - Another purveyor of colourful oversized hoodies.
Oddly Acefuzz have sponsored a team of riders in Banff Canada called the Hoodshit Crew...

Bubblegum - And you’re probably sensing the start of a trend here, Bubblegum produce oversize colourful hoodies, including some nifty asymmetric cuts.

Kareta - Providing tall t-shirts specifically for people of a gothic persuasion.

White Strawberry - Offer pretty much the same thing to the Korean stoner niche.

Venoti - Yup, more tall tees and hoodies, this time for colourful gangsta wannabies. 
Essentially Korea’s Tech Nine
Gfrog - Now we’re really going niche in the world of massive clothing. Gfrog provides exclusively for folks with dodgy tashes that like biting girl’s arses.

So clearly Korea is not short on companies selling t-shirt and hoodies, but if you are looking for other types of colourful snowboarding gear you are also in luck because there are a number of bigger brands out there who are happy to help including...

Felice - One of the bigger South Korean brands producing clothing and hardgoods for men, women and children. It’s all pretty colourful stuff, but our favourite is the rainbow-leopard jacket.

Sugapoint - Sugapoint offer a wide range of clothing and to help the fashion conscious Korean snowboarder out they've even provided a handy style guide to help people dress themselves.

STL - Another of the bigger brands and their main standout is that they employ some of the finest Korean posers. 
To see some truly inspired catalogue posing click here or here.

And if you are looking to finish off your outfit there are few companies specialising in colourful accessories...

Purplecow - These guys concentrate on colourful underwear and accessories including these huge shoelace belts.

Cross - Masters of ass protection

Hello Kitty - Like every possible sales opportunity in Asia the Hello Kitty marketing behemoth gets in on the snowboarding action, producing these goggles.

Binding Bag - Handy for carrying your sandwiches and your dignity.

A Quick Guide to Korean Snowboard Fashion Trends
Do you also want to look like a Korean snowboarder? Here’s five things you need to do:

1. Go Colourful. It pretty much goes without saying that this is the major trend in Korean snowboarding. Find the brightest coloured garments and gear you can and rock them all at once in one blazing multicoloured ensemble.
2. Oversize. Another huge trend you might think, but in fact the photos are a bit misleading, the trend is for ordinary sized clothes and the South Korean snowboarders are just very tiny people.

3. Ineffective Snowboarding Clothing. In Korea they don’t limit themselves to wearing practical snowboard gear like anyone else in the world would, so don’t let yourself be limited by stuffy convention. Feel free to wear anything as long as it’s vaguely snowboard themed. 
This lad for example is rocking this season’s big trend, the sleeveless jacket, and he’s finished it off nicely with an upper arm bandana.
4. Ass Protection. No one protects their asses quite as much as the Koreans. Get some.
This is an advert is for a "Women-only cute protector"
5. Posing. If you are going to wear some fly gear, get your pose on. This is something done in the rest of the snowboarding world but the Koreans are true masters of the art.

What’s Going On?
Thanks to the power of protectionism it’s very hard work to import foreign goods into Korea. As a result there is an opportunity for local businesses to supply the market with cheaper equivalents and that’s why there are so many Korean snowboard brands. Japan by comparison, the world’s second largest economy and the country with the most ski resorts per person in the world, has no significant home-grown snowboard brands.

Great idea you might think, but unfortunately because these companies grow up without international competition their stuff usually ends up being overpriced, a bit shonky and as we’ve seen here a bit too specialised to the local market. Despite their advantage at home, when Korean firms try to export to other countries they often struggle, so don’t expect to see any of this stuff round your local store anytime soon.

Lastly a few other interesting things we found on our virtual travels
If Korean Vogue are anything to go by, Korean snowboarding fashion should get even stranger in the future.

And if the snowboarders look strange then the skiers are even stranger. Here’s a picture we found as we were trawling the Korean internet that was simply titled Miss Bongpyeong and penis-showing” 

Appendix – because all good blog articles should have one
A bunch of other Korean brands that are just as colourful that we didn’t cover...

Related Articles...
If you're looking for more flash gear, then go buy a designer snowboard, or maybe restyle your face.


  1. Effing awesome! I found this post while searching for why Korean snowboarding is so weird. I recently moved here for work and a friend took me out to a "mountain" for my first trip. The reason, i've decided, for all the wacky fashion is that the run lasts about a minute and half but the wait for the lift is well over an hour. So you have to look like as much of an ass as all the others in line. I also noticed koreans love hopping on board. So while the fashions might seem ridiculous to us, culturally they feel shame if they dont look the part. The best part tho were about the 50 guys and gals dressed like that standing at the top of the pipe all waiting to see if someone would drop in.

  2. any ideas on how to order from Donna? I managed to deal with STL and it was great got clothes sent to the UK and loved them, as for Donna ive tried emailing the owner in English and a silly google Korean translated luck!!!

    1. Hi. I tried ordering at the STL site and payment wouldn't work. Did you call them direct?

  3. Looks like you've already given it a good shot. There is a phone number on their site if you want to have a gamble and see if anyone speaks English there. Donna are a much smaller company than STL and I can't find anything to suggest that they are set-up for or interested in dealing with international orders.

    Maybe drop an email to someone like these guys and see if they can help you out.

    Korea Ski & Snowboard Club

  4. hello

    i sell stl products.
    and can speak english a little.

    e-mail me at

  5. I actually work at the Artec distributor in Korea. I speak perfect english. Yes the fashion here can be quite retarded. Vogue came to us asking if they can get some boards for a photo shoot. Exposure never hurts. I have no idea where they got their outerwear.

  6. Does anyone know how to order things on STL in English???

  7. I just went to Seoul and found some sweet gear and i wrote it down as GLTO but i cant find it anywhere. Its super bright colors. Thanks!

  8. This article is awesome and hilarious. Thanks.

  9. Really intrested in ordering some of these t-shirts any idea how?

  10. Certainly colourful! Interesting to say the least - not sure how well would go down in France!

  11. Hi. I just ordered a pair of pants with STL. Just emailed them. They sent an invoice and I paid by PayPal. Let's see if anything arrives. Bit of a gamble but their stuff looks nuts. Hoping my size calculations are correct.

  12. hey this clothes are so sick, is it possible to order holiday hoodies international??

  13. Just recieved a pair of STL pants. Fantastic. Careful with size. I usually take a burton medium or large. Got these in XL. Just right. These styles are NUTS! I'm hooked. Tall hoodie and T next.

  14. Can somebody tell me where I can order donna snow clothing online?

  15. Where to order?? Tell me pleaaase!!!!

  16. $49 Holiday Mt. High Lift Tickets! (No Black Out Dates)
    Prices rise to $59 after Friday the 21st. Call us from our website for group rates! we're willing to work with you!

  17. I just ski in Jinsan, Seoul last two weeks. How come I can't see the bikini girl and the man with 2 balls? strange...

  18. bit of a late reply but I just wanted to ask your stats if possible? waist size in inches and height please?

    I want to order some STL stuff but the size charts just make no sense... like the XXL pants is 34 inch waist but 105 cm??? 105cm in inches is 41 inches so bit confused... im a large in burton pants so am looking at XL i think.



  19. ROMP

  20. Not sure if this help but I use a lot of rules at work and I notice they use something like a size measure that is actually wrongly translated as inches the symbol in Chinese (not sure about Korea) look like a "R" but is actually something closer to 3 cm (an inch is 2.54 cm) so a foot length is 10 R (30 cm) so then those 34 "inches" (times 3) equals 102 cm.

  21. Not sure if this help but I use a lot of rulers at work and I notice they use something like a size measure that is actually wrongly translated as inches the symbol in Chinese (not sure about Korea) look like a "R" but is actually something closer to 3 cm (an inch is 2.54 cm) so a foot length is 10 R (30 cm) so then those 34 "inches" (times 3) equals 102 cm.

  22. i love your fashion style.. they look so cute and so cool.. if you have some time you can check my Asian Fashion Style Here.

  23. FELICE's Global site - Perfect!

  24. you need to research a bit further, japan's domestic brand is just fine, they have plenty of high quality brands that are up with recognition. does FLUX ring a bell? loads of decent board brands as well.

  25. Hi. Could you please write the email through which you made the order? The problem i faced with is that they didn't replay to my email. I wrote an email about 3-4 weeks ago :/


    Can see the en page if click the US flag


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