May 22, 2008

Seoul: Well-being

The ongoing well-being trend in Korea has mostly stayed within the realms of aesthetics, food, and skin care, although a recycling program ensures that plastics, metals, glass, paper, and food scraps get a second life -- in the case of the food scraps, as pig feed. Seoul's hectic streets mean it's not especially bike friendly, which is a shame because there are so many charming, vintage-inspired Korean bikes. But just as the American media have caught onto the eco-trend with eco-issues, May brings green issues of Korean Vogue and Korean W. Vogue has even gone so far as to create eco-collaborations with Adidas (center left), Benetton, and other popular brands. With the nation's fixation on perfect skin, foreign natural-skin-care brands like Lush and The Body Shop are flourishing in Seoul, while local brands such as The Face Shop seem to have outposts near every subway station (and sometimes inside the stations!).
The main upshot of the wellness trend seems to have been a resurgence of pride in traditional Korean culture, with organic and home-style restaurants proliferating, and a rustic architectural style popping up in trendy neighborhoods like Apgujeong.

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