Emerging Fashion Designer: Jimin Kim
1. Designer Name?
My name is Jimin Kim.
2. Where are you based?
I was based in New York until last month. Currently, I'm preparing to move to Paris.
3. Where are you from?
I'm from Seoul, South Korea.
4. Where did you study fashion design? What was that experience like?
I graduated MFA majored in Fashion Design & Society at Parsons School of Design in New York, Class of 2018. For the past 2 years, I focused on finding my distinct elements and making new things and felt convinced that I should continuously walk forward in this path. Through the past two years of my master’s program, I learned about all the skills required for a personal collection such as toping setting, mood board, illustration, fabrication, printing, knitting, pattern making, draping, sewing, and styling. Due to the topic of my graduation collection and the properties of the fabrication, almost all the procedures were done by hand, so I had to personally do almost everything. Regarding the material development, I applied the French bracelet knots that I developed through the Swarovski project along with the inspiration that I gained from the Korean traditional knots, as I personally became familiar with traditional and modern method of making knots and executed all the works. Since it was a collection that was mainly focused on material development, I combined various ingredients and developed the material and I partly used knits from digital textile printing or dubied hand knitting machine. Not only this, as I personally did pattern making and draping that makes up the clothes and also did the seamstress work. In particular, in case of my collection, it is an operation that takes a lot of time for material development and the process of connecting the fabric, but I did not ask for help from the intern aside from the aspects that required simple labor such as bidding to decorate for a finishing touch. It was very exhausting and physically difficult since I had to do almost all the operation by myself, but in the end, I accomplished a satisfying collection and it was an opportunity where I grew in many aspects. I acquired all the basic abilities required for shaping a collection, and I clearly identified my strengths and also the parts that I had to make up for, so I gained the confidence that I can gain better outcomes without having to go through trial and error. As a result, I formed my identity as a designer and progressed and grew into an independent designer in Parsons.
5. Please tell me about your current Spring/Summer collection? What was your inspiration?
The Modern Girl Collection embraces my identity and the cultures that have influenced me. My identities as a Korean, woman, an international student and someone who was greatly impacted by the American culture such as hip-hop were indispensable. Then, I was researching about the new woman (modern girl) during the enlightenment period of Korea in the 1900s by chance and found out that these women had lots of similarities with me. Korea is a country that received the Western culture relatively late, and the society has changed dramatically since its cultural opening. The male-oriented feudal society adopted the Western culture and shifted into a horizontal society with women being at the center of the change. Many women started to receive education and accept the Western culture. Such change made the social sentiment where men started to mock, ridicule and criticize these women. These women were mocked for their ill-temper while being the modern women at the same time. I personally believe that this belief still exists in the modern Korean society. The conversation about feminism is a verysensitive and uncomfortable topic, and ‘misogyny’ is the keyword that is indispensable amongthe existing issues in Korea. From this perspective, I felt like I was living in the same era as the modern women although we are different generations. I wanted to convey such messagevisually with my skills by representing the current era’s modern girl. My identities played vitalroles to the question of how to fit the textiles and patterns to this Modern Girl Collection project. I researched the traditional Korean knotting technique and applied to the textiles and shape development of my garments. In Korea, traditional knots are mainly used as a decorative accessory for women. Among them, norigae, the traditional Korean ornament that was worn by women, holds another definition in a sexual context that means playing with women like an object. I wanted to use the knotting technique more actively than just a mere decoration. I separated the patterns by making the knot in a big size through the guideline that divides the shape and connected the knots to the edges of the pattern by combining the knots and the patterns, a non-traditional needlework technique. Because the pattern naturally shrinks when the knots are attached, I used the loosely fitted items such as from men's hoodies, sweatshirts before I divided the patterns to focus on developing a new silhouette. The combination of various textiles that have different characteristics such as nylon, vinyl, denim, prints, etc., and the knots become the garment itself; all of these factors create an important and meaningful representation.
I started design when I was 14. I went to art high school in Korea and that’s my official start. I choose design major after I went to a short academic trip in London when I was 15. At that time, I visited RCA and other art school and I shocked their education system and atmosphere in school and I decided to study abroad in future.
7. Please tell me one of your favorite designers and why?
Coco Chanel, Martin Margiela, Phoebe Philo, Vivienne Westwood. They all made style and revolution in fashion through their own way.
8. What is your goal for the next upcoming years as a designer?
My practical goals are to build experiences as a designer and create my own brand. It is because I want to study knitwear in order to grow into a designer equipped with greater expertise. Additionally, I have a high interest about teaching students, who have the same goal as me, based on what I learned, and improving the system. In Parsons, I formed my identity as a designer and progressed and grew into an independent designer. In IFM, I am looking forward to gaining practical experiences by closely cooperating amongst the expertise with the designer and the high fashion industry. My goal is to become a designer who attempts new fashion and also equipped with a sense of balance with the industry through real-world experiences from luxury fashion house that can only be learned in France. I want to base on this, and ultimately build a platform for emerging designers, regardless of their region, race, and nationality. I would like to build a commercial platform like Rei Kawakubo to foster and proudly present gifted emerging designers or establish an organization like Fashion East that prioritizes on providing an organized system for emerging designers.
9. What is your motto in life?
I achieved my desired goals sequentially and I think the reason I got it is because I don’t think too much before I actually do something. And recently, I am determined to go up for a challenge again instead of settling for the reality. Someone says that it may be a risky choice where I cannot be sure about anything to moving Paris. Still, I believe that it was the moment when I felt the strongest assurance in my life.
‘Just do it. Don’t hesitate once I decide.’ That’s my motto.