[Story of Dongdaemun People 1] Lee Seung-yeol in Tongil (Reunification) Shopping Center > PEOPLE

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[Story of Dongdaemun People 1] Lee Seung-yeol in Tongil (Reunification…

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[Storyof Dongdaemun People 1] Lee Seung-yeol in Tongil (Reunification) Shopping Center

 “Dongdaemun is three worlds to me. Iexperienced here Heaven, Hell and Purgatory.”





Ihave met Lee Seung-yeol, the chairman of Tongil Shopping Center of DongdaemunMarket, which has kept the position since 1969. He has been steadfastly in themen's wear sector since the establishment of Tongil Shopping Center. At the ageof eighteen, he came to Tongil Shopping Center and mastered all the processesof sewing while he worked as an apprentice to become one of the best tailors. Hetold me his story of 44 years with Dongdaemun market that he could say withpride that "making and sellingmenswear is the best thing I can do in the world."


-이승열2.jpgHello, could you introduce yourselfbriefly?

I amLee Seung-yeol, Chairman of Tongil Shopping Center Management Committee andChairman of the Association of Merchants of Eight Global Luxury Markets inDongdaemun Market.


Dongdaemun market is becoming a 'globalluxury market'. What is your pride in Dongdaemun market?

I amproud of Dongdaemun market as it becomes a brand that the world recognizes. Itbecomes a brand that is recognized as a 'global luxury market' in the worldbeyond Asia. I am very proud that Dongdaemun itself has become a brand as aresult of the many traders' perspiration and effort,.


Then, when and how did you come to theDongdaemun Market?

Icame to the Dongdaemun market at the age of eighteen. It has been 44 years nowsince I first came here. At first, I was doing various things to earn a living.For the time being I thought that I could do my best in making clothes. So Icame to Tongil Shopping Center which was famous for "men's wear".


What is the driving force that has beenable to keep you up to now?

Istarted with a firm belief in making clothes, and when I actually worked, I hada lot of good results compared to others. I thought that making and sellingclothes was what I could do better than anything else. The pride made me continueworking in this industry.


That has been 44 years. It is amazing.Is there anything that you think is most important when you work?

Inorder to become a craftsman, I think that sense of mission is the mostimportant. I always observe people's clothes wherever I go. It is important toconstantly draw designs in your mind while visiting different places andobserving people there. I work on adding and subtracting while thinking aboutwhich elements fit in the clothes and which fit the trend. I try to makeclothes that can be differentiated from others so that consumers feel that itis worth buying.


When did you feel most rewarding while youwere working in this industry for such a long time?

Inthe 1980s when textile exports were active in Korea, I was proud of producingand exporting good quality products at small factories. If somebody asks me ifI do it again when I go back to the past, I think I will not do it again. Butat that time, I was trying to send good stuffs without defects as I thoughtthat I represented the Republic of Korea. I would not do that again to riskfinancial damages. But at that time, I tried hard to send good products withoutdefects even I got some financial damages as I thought they would know Koreathrough me and my products.


I heard that you had also created aunique brand for Tongil Shopping Center. I think you must have a specialfeeling and view about the patented brand 'About D' in the global luxury marketin Dongdaemun Market to be launched this time.

Yes,I have previously launched an integrated brand called 'Denpol' by integrating anumber of Dongdaemun brands. It has been smoothly accomplished with thecooperation and efforts of many merchant members, but it is a pity that wecould not keep the name of 'Denpol' to the end place in the process of creatinga new brand. When I make a patent brand this time, I want to do better by usingthe experience of that time as a basis so as not to repeat the mistake.


As you have mentioned, you have haddiverse experiences in Dongdaemun for a long time. What is Dongdaemun Marketfor you?

It isvirtually everything for me. Dongdaemun is three worlds to me. I experiencedhere Heaven, Hell and Purgatory. There was a time when I lost all the money Ihad got and lived with my family in a small factory dormitory for about threeyears, and it was like hell. It was like heaven when I succeeded in recoveringfrom this ordeal with my own efforts, and it seemed to be in purgatory when Iwas not good enough. I've had joy, anger, sorrow and pleasure in DongdaemunMarket. I have thick brows deeply furrowed on my forehead that are not usual. Itseems that they were made in those difficult times and still remain.


What do you expect the Dongdaemun globalluxury market to be like in the future?

Ihope that Dongdaemun Market will be a fashion Mecca in the world beyond Asiathat produces popular and value products responding to the changes in thedigital era and new trends.

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