MCM is a major brand of leather goods here in Seoul, it is hard to go a few minutes without seeing someone walk by with something on sporting the logo pattern all over it.  MCM (which stands for Mode Creation Munich) is originally a German-based leather goods company that was founded in 1976 and was met with considerable popularity for its flashy looks in the 1980s.  Sadly by the mid 1990′s the label was pretty much dead since it clashed with the simple subtle style during that time.

2NE1 in custom MCM jackets

In 2005 the brand was purchased by Sung Joo Kim, a South Korean businesswoman who earned her fortune by licensing European luxury lines in Asia.  She proceeded to give the brand the breath of life it required and relaunched in Korea hoping to capture the market  here who is always hungry for high-end imported brands.

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MCM’s is a “masstige” brand ~ meaning it is a luxury line targeted to the general public! While the price range is expensive for some, it is still very affordable and within reach for most working Women and Men here.  This makes it a very desirable brand for the general population, which has lead to booming sales over the last few years.

MCM has spent tons of money on heavy promotion with fancy parties, launches, sponsorship,  and makes sure that as many Korean celebrities as possible here are sporting something of the brand (often custom-made) or at the events.  While the brand overall has been very popular with women (usually college age /young adults), over the last 2 years or so it has really seemed to boom as a fashion forward brand.

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Currently MCM is enjoying its rekindled success and popularity with the famous and fashion savvy vs the office girl masses just looking for a nice basic handbag~

Lately the lines have sported lots of fun bold colors, patterns, and plenty of metal studding and hardware which is extremely popular this year in Seoul.

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All MCM bags are handmade in South Korea using only top-quality materials. The leather is soft, durable, waterproof and sealed to protect it from UV ray damage.

Internationally MCM bags and other products are available in several countries through select retailers (Bloomingdales, Saks, etc) but its main success is in Asia.  In the USA the brand is sported by a few celebrities, but is still really under the radar for many shoppers.  The main draw for buyers outside Korea seems to be mainly because Korean celebrities are often spotted with this brand on… most foreigners coming here as tourists can often be spotted with a flashy MCM bag on and I am pretty sure it is because of its association with all the stars here.

MCM backpacks, especially the STARK line are very popular this year in Korea.

Currently MCM has one item that has been a fairly large hit here ~ I personally love it and I am spotting more and more young people in Seoul as well as international fans of Korea  with this item so I feel is worth spotlighting~  the MCM STARK leather backpack!  It is very striking!!

The price of the bag varies, but rages around 535,000- 800,000 won depending on the details and size.

It feels like almost every K-pop star here has at least one of these colorful backpacks with the awesome studs on the back! If you fire up Naver and do a search you can find tons of them, especially casual airport photos which I like because it means these are actually useful and not just for flashy show hehe.

Apparently this creamy nude Stark backpack is one of the most popular items being sold by MCM right now.

STARK backpacks by MCM come in 3 sizes currently, Large, Medium, and Mini!

I find the most common size is the Large, which is exactly like a normal backpack size.  Sometimes you see girls using the medium, but the mini is extremely small!  These bags come in a range of colors depending on the time of year and collection, some colors do seem to come and go or have special editions.

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One pop star (I think it is one of the girls from 2NE1) has a bubblegum pink version of the Stark bag that looks so cute, but apparently it was custom made argh!!! NEED PINK ONE PLEASE!

Cute couple sporting MCM Stark backpacks at Everland in Large and Medium ♥

On the street these two colors are the ones I see the most with both guys and girls~ the tan and the red.  The tan looks really cute and traditional, but the red is a very pretty shade!

 

I don’t know why, but I think these bags look REALLY hot on guys!

Japanese seem to be very fond of the unique colored MCM bags medium size, especially Japanese girls that are into K-pop or Korean style fashion! Here are a few casual girls I spotted during a visit to Osaka last fall

Where to buy MCM bags

If you are in Korea you can find MCM at almost every Lotte , Hyundai, or Shinsegae department store, usually in its own dedicated area.  These are predominantly in Seoul, Pusan, and Jeju Island. If you are on vacation and coming through the Incheon International Airport they have a very large MCM store in the duty free area as well!

MCM has a really nice flagship store in Seoul that has the best selection and is where Koreas main MCM launch, VIP, and promotional events are held.

MCM HAUS 78-12 Cheongdam-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul

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If you live outside Korea do not worry, it seem that every country has at least one location that sells MCM bags!  You can check the store locator in English HERE to find the place nearest you! It seems like London, NY, and Germany also have flagship stores ♥

And for the curious~ here are my top MCM picks right now!  I would love to add these to my collection, the more studs they use the better~ don’t you think?  The extra stud-tastic purple MCM Stark backpack in large will set you back 755,000 won,  The pastel blue clutch is from the 2013 spring titled “Sunshine Nomad” price TBA, and the cute black clutch is “honshu tantris” and runs about 450,000 won.  Maybe Santa will bring me one for Christmas, lol.

Do you like the brand MCM?  Do you own anything from them or have a wish item you would love to have?  What to you think about the popular STARK MCM backpacks here in Korea, would you wear them too?  Spotted MCM on a show or your favorite K-pop star? Share below!! 

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38 Responses to “Celeb Style Spotting – MCM Backpacks”

  • Custom avatar Cheryl:

    That baby blue-grey clutch is kind of amazing!!!

  • Custom avatar Mariel:

    I’d love to get the red or cream nude backpack. They look really nice! I’ve never bought backpacks, and the MCM backpacks look nice for travel/daily use~ Thanks for this post, Elle! :3

  • Custom avatar Moni:

    oh god… those prices hurt a bit!! luckily i’m not too fond of this style lol

  • The studded stuff is so pretty! <3 I'm all over leather and studs, which is slightly odd since I like really feminine things usually. And the purple backpack is adorable! I can't imagine wearing a backpack around, but I'd love a tote in that color with studs! I remember seeing something about MCM coming back, bug the stuff was not half this cute when I saw it then! Have you seen the Louis Vuitton Yayoi Kusama line? It's very pricey, but I can imagine you would enjoy it too :)

  • Custom avatar Razi:

    just found your blog and its awesome!

    went to seoul the 1st time back in Sep’2012 for the SM town concert and bought the lime mcm backpack too.

    And im going again next april. and your blog really help me a lot..

    now, i can plan where to go…just by review your awesomeness post.

    thank you….

    • Elle:

      Aw thank you! Ohhh the lime MCM is very cute, how it is? They seem very comfortable to use ^^
      I am going to call the Gangnam flagship store and see if I can do a location feature, but if not you can at least visit by using the address ^^ ♥

      • Custom avatar Razi:

        The backpack is very comfortable… and its worth every penny =)

        Your blog really very interesting and helpful,
        Since i’ll be traveling alone it really helps me a lot for planning my next trip to seoul in april.

        will keep visiting your blog ^^

        Regards,
        All way frm Brunei.

  • Custom avatar Nishi:

    I was reading this post on my phone at a bus stop the other day as I was heading back to my dorm after a lecture. When the bus got there, I looked to my left and a Korean exchange student was carrying one of these backpacks! My jaw almost dropped, and I swear she was looking at me like I was some sort of weirdo. I just thought I would let you know that these are spreading all over outside of Korea as well!

    • Elle:

      hahahaha omg that is way too funny! You should have waved ^^ SEE, I SPEAK THE TRUTH!!! XD

      • Custom avatar Nishi:

        I totally should have!!!! We could have become best friends, and I would have convinced her to get me one from Korea. But I’m seeing these all over campus now after reading this. My dorm is close to my university’s International House, and so many Asian international students have them. I’m actually seeing a quite a few of the brands you feature, so it’s like a treasure hunt of sorts for me! XD

        • Elle:

          lol maybe I should do a Korea Bingo game huh? XD Yeah, this is one of those brands that you never really notice till you are aware of it, then it kinda pops up everyplace *_* It was like that for me here, a few months in I had to stop and go “ok what the heck is this MCM I am seeing every flipping place???” actually a lot of brands here are like that now that I think about it…I’m going to do another feature soon on “Pancoat” which is another heavily K-pop promoted brand here that everyone is buying like crazy this fall. Its this yellow duck shirt or eyeballs, you may see those around as well lol!

  • Thanks for posting this! I was looking for a new bag…and I came across your post. Definitely getting one if I can afford it!

  • I love those jackets!! They are wild! I don’t carry backpacks myself but I’d totally rock one of those sharply cut jackets in pink :)

    • Elle:

      yeah I love those jackets!! I think they are a custom pieces for the k-pop group, wish they would sell more stuff like what they make for them lol!

  • That’s funny you posted about this because there’s a purse that my mom once bought on a whim at the airport duty-free shop, and it’s been collecting dust in her closet ever since. Thinking back now, I think the bag’s brand was MCM! I’ll have to double check the next time I go home and possibly swipe it from her closet now that I know it’s a famous brand, HA.

    • Elle:

      haha yeah it is really one of those random brands for a lot of people outside Korea (or Asia) I think! If she got one, you can swipe it and be K-trend styling! Lemme know if it was one XD that would be so funny and awesome at the same time for you hehe

  • Custom avatar Olivia:

    I have the STARK backpack in purple and LOVE IT!!!! Kinda pricey but totally cute and functional. Next time I’m at their store I’m hoping to pick up one of the wallets they have that’s bubblegum pink with a patchwork bunny printed on the front. So cute! :3

  • Awesome backpacks !! from where i can get it?

  • Custom avatar oBAGsession:

    I love mcm bags but how do I know if im buying a real/fake one? Can you make a comparison on how to spot a faKe MCM BAG?? Alot of fakes nowadays you know..

    • Elle:

      I’m very sorry, since I do not buy these bags often I am not very skilled at telling the fakes from the real apart from seeing the obvious like pattern cutting off, stitching quality, and fabric/leather quality. The best way to avoid fakes is to buy them directly from MCM of course :)

  • Custom avatar ahtracy:

    I love MCM bags.

  • Custom avatar ehsx:

    is it true it will be cheaper if you buy them from incheon intentional Airport?

    • Elle:

      They will be tax free if you buy them from the airport so you can save a bit thanks to that. The MCM store at incheon airport is really nice too ^^

  • Custom avatar ehsx:

    thanks for the info. do you happen to know the price of the MCM Reversible Shopper Project Medium Bag ? I really am Intersted in purchasing it

  • Custom avatar ehsx:

    or maybe the standard price of it in Korea it self?

    • Elle:

      Sorry I have no idea, your best chance would be asking them directly on the facebook page or check the website.

  • Custom avatar Worried:

    Can someone please tell me if my MCM backpack straps do not have MCM logo stitched on it does it means it is not genuine…I bought is from the Boutique in Seoul

    • Elle:

      The actual mcm stores (in the department stores like lotte mall etc) in korea sell real bags. If you bought it someplace else or from a random booth in dongdaemun the authenticity is questionable. If you are worred you can look online, they have some designer bag forums to help you identify real vs fake.

      For mcm like with all designer bags the bestvway to make sure you have a real one is to only buy them from the MCM stores.

      • Custom avatar Worried:

        I got mine from MCM at the airport though but I see most MCM back strap has MCM impression but not mine ??

        • Elle:

          I dont know about that, but the mcm at the airport is a real official store (along with the other designer shops at the airport) so I am sure it is just the way your style is supposed to be. That would be like a prada store selling fake prada bags, so I highy doubt it ^^

  • Custom avatar sophia:

    I want that bag so adorable hmmm can I ask if I can buy now that bag here in the Philippines or still I can but that through orders only ??? So desperate I really want that cool bag

    • Elle:

      You can check the location listing, they may have a shop location in the philippines :) its a large brand so its not impossible to find, just be wary of bootlegs!

  • Custom avatar Aditi:

    I saw a bag in bubble gum pink, in Nordstrom, with matching wallet and key fob.Hope that helps u, since u said u would like one in that color.

  • Custom avatar Aditi:

    Hi! Since u said u wanted a bubble gum pink one, I just wanted to let u know I saw a pale pink one on Nordstrom’s website. However, u may need to preorder it, as it is part of the fall collection, I think.

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