From an online community featuring street snaps to a game changer in the Korean fashion industry

August 31, 2023

“When you do fashion, do it with MUSINSA.”

MUSINSA stands as South Korea's premier fashion platform, playing a remarkable role both online and offline, with over 13 million members. Showcasing an extensive array of local and global brands – spanning categories from street casual to contemporary, kids’ fashion, sports wear, and more – MUSINSA goes beyond the role of a mere fashion commerce in Korea. It has served as a reliable supporter for emerging designers, and also an active community where fashion enthusiasts converge to exchange narratives about brands and style.

In September 2022, we launched a global store across 13 countries, including Japan, the United States, Thailand, and Singapore. This strategic move introduced an impressive repertoire of nearly 1,000 Korean fashion brands to the global. Korean designer brands in our global store such as thisisneverthat, acmé de la vie, RECTO, THUG CLUB, and Matin Kim have garnered not only domestic acclaim but also captured the adoration of artists and celebrities worldwide.

MUSINSA global online store

MUSINSA, currently a leader of K-fashion, had its inception as an online community showcasing sneaker photographs taken by a high schooler. Now, let's delve further into the beginning of this pioneering force in the fashion industry.

Phase 1

A community called MUSINSA: A place with tremendous sneaker photographs

In 2001, the founder of MUSINSA initiated a journey as a high school student, driven by his passion for sneakers and fashion. He began sharing updates about newly released sneakers online, and that soon garnered increasing attention. In response to the growing interest, he took a step further and introduced a website named '' On this website, the founder showcased street-style photographs matched with sneakers (called ‘street snap’ now) that he captured on the street. 'MUSINSA' is a Korean abbreviation, translating to 'The place with tremendous sneaker photography' – a direct reflection of its content.

Photographs taken in Hongdae and Apgujeong were uploaded on between 2005 and 2009.

The website ‘’ became popular among fashion enthusiasts in Korea due to the absence of SNS such as Instagram and YouTube for casually sharing #ootd (outfit of the day) at that time. During that period, a saying emerged: ‘if you wanted to stay updated on the latest fashion trends, MUSINSA street snap were the go-to source.’ Photographs taken and uploaded to MUSINSA, showcasing one's personal style, were regarded as delightful surprises for fashion enthusiasts. This was because ‘’ was essentially the only outlet for showcasing one’s style and sharing comments about it.

While you can now find over 428 million posts about #ootd on Instagram, but back in 2001…

Currently, we create a diverse range of contents, encompassing brands’ lookbooks, Codimap - styling contents with partner brands’ items, fashion editorials and blog posts covering life in Korea, along with entertaining fashion-related videos on our YouTube channel. Despite this diversity, street snap remains as one the most iconic elements on MUSINSA.

You can discover street snap at MUSINSA(kr)

Phase 2

Emerging as a game changer in the Korean fashion industry: Launching MUSINSA Magazine & Store

Over time, the founder started to consider how to attract individuals to engage with the community and extend its influence. This led to the realization that creating ‘original content’ could be the key. The team shifted their focus towards producing unique content with a strong emphasis on fashion-related topics, more than a street snap. This content encompassed interviews with brand designers and artists, comprehensive coverage of new brand collections. These original contents subsequently evolved into a business avenue, as they prompted collaboration requests from various brands.

However, in pursuit of the objective to foster a community, generating original content alone was not enough. Consequently, the team initiated a new approach—curating and offering products that were exclusively available on MUSINSA. The platform began showcasing limited-edition items from well-known brands, and soon transitioned its focus to collaborating with local small and medium-sized brands. At that time, online shopping was quite widespread, but it was still hard to find a trustworthy platform for authentic brand products. Furthermore, the conventional means of accessing fashion brands were through offline and department stores. This posed a dilemma for small and medium-sized brands who didn't have enough resources in their quest to discover new markets for selling their products. In this context, MUSINSA emerged as a great partner for them to meet customers online, without using a big investment. (COVERNAT, thisisneverthat, which are popular in Korea and overseas, have been associated with MUSINSA since the beginning of the store. They have grown with the development of MUSINSA!)

MUSINSA operates 'musinsa terrace' in Seongsu and Hongdae, for brands that want to connect with their customers offline. In August 2022, thisisneverthat had an exhibition with their new f/w collection at the Seongsu location.

This transition proved win-win for MUSINSA and small-medium sized local brands. MUSINSA gained the ability to provide its customers with exclusive offerings, available solely through its platform. Simultaneously, emerging brands gained a stable market presence without offline shops.

Phase 3

New Mission: Unveiling what K-fashion is to the worldwide

As MUSINSA solidified its position as a prominent sales channel for small and medium-sized brands while enhancing its branding and marketing capabilities. Concurrently, the recognition and sales of those brands have started to increase. The fresh designs of these small medium-sized brands resonate with millennials and Gen Zs through MUSINSA's trendy marketing campaigns, leading to the attainment of coveted status as a favored brand among Korean millennials and Gen Zs. As one of the favorite brands loved by young consumers, MUSINSA achieved the remarkable feat of becoming the first fashion platform to surpass USD 75 million in GMV (Gross Merchandise Volume) in South Korea in 2021 . Moreover, its growth exceeded 40% annually, firmly establishing its position as an influential leader within the Korean fashion industry.

While still steadfastly continuing to support up-and-coming fashion designers, MUSINSA has firmly established itself as a pioneer within the Korean fashion industry. Moreover, MUSINSA has undertaken a new challenge to extend the appeal of K-fashion across the globe. In 2022, MUSINSA launched a global store in 13 countries, offering content in 3 languages.

In the MUSINSA global store, you’ll discover the latest cutting-edge K-fashion trends. Drawing upon our experience in content creation, we produce a variety of fashion content on our global store to enhance the allure of K-fashion. In addition, MUSINSA has collaborated with New Jeans, appointing them as a brand ambassador. The collaboration entails a series of marketing campaigns, encompassing engaging fashion editorials, all aimed at promoting both K-fashion and local brands. Given New Jeans' role as a trendsetter with their distinct style, they serve as an ideal icon to propel local fashion brands onto the global stage, thus raising a new wave of K-fashion.

MUSINSA has teamed up with New Jeans to showcase and highlight trending K-fashion and styles.

We are committed to persistently pursuing initiatives that contribute to the ongoing expansion of K-Fashion and local brands. Stay tuned for our upcoming endeavors as we delve deeper into the newness of fashion!