Introducing Minju Kim, the South Korean designer everyone's been talking about in Singapore
There are a steady stream of young and upcoming talent from Korea, but the one we'd like you to bookmark now is Minju Kim, an Antwerp Royal Academy of Fine Arts graduate designing uplifting pieces for women. Whimsical and playful with intricate craftsmanship (specifically in fall/winter 2018), her clothes feature quirky illustrations atop gorgeous jacquard fabrics. Oversized Peter Pan collars, dramatic rounded shoulders and voluminous A-line skirts styled with 3D-floral embellishments and socks worn with brocade flats remind us of the early eccentricities of a younger — less commercial — Miuccia Prada. In town recently to launch her collection at SocietyA, we spend some minutes with the up-and-comer to get to know her and her design vision a little better.
Tell us a little about your background.
I have been running my own label, Minju Kim, since 2015 after I graduated from the Antwerp Royal Academy of Fine Arts. I started my collection in Antwerp right after winning the H&M award 2013. However, now Minju Kim is based in Seoul, where I was born.
What inspired the fall/winter 2018 collection?
I am big fan of animations, "Express 999" was one of my favorites. There are so many interesting planets and imagination, I never imagined before. One of the main characters, Metel is very curious, and is the muse for the collection.
And the prints are illustrated, yes?
It's always very hard to choose one favourite piece but I especially love all the pieces made with jacquard fabric, which I designed myself. The illustrated fabric is not only printed but also drawn with other techniques such as embroidery and jacquard. I always start my design with lots of drawings to find a concept and I want to show my illustration directly on the collection. Therefore, I made my own fabric although it's a lot more expensive and time-consuming.
What is the brand philosophy?
I wish people feel happy and comfortable, when they wear my collection. My team and I try our best to make the pieces playful, but still beautiful and of high quality.
What has been the most exciting part about being a fashion designer?
Being a fashion designer is very stressful job. People might think that making clothes is very simple, but the behind the scenes process to make clothes involves a lot of effort and work. After all that and when we finally see the beautiful pieces of work, we forget that horrible part of the process. [Laughs]
What is it about your brand's distinctive style that appeals to women?
I never thought of my collection as distinctive. Yes, our fabric is unique, but the shape of the clothes are simple and timeless. Our brand has appeal because women are drawn to the whimsical and fantastical nature, and that inspires them.
What advice would you give to other women who hope to start their own businesses?
I think before you jump into the fashion field — you need to ask yourself just how much do you love fashion. Because fashion is not only about creativity; there are so much business and logistical aspects that we have to overcome and take care of. Anyone who wants to start their own business needs to do enough research and have experience in the field.
Any upcoming projects we can look forward to?
Last month, we made a small collection for BTS' concert. It was first time I made menswear, since I launched my label. It was really special to see boys wears our clothes on stage. And we are working on spring/summer 19 now. You will meet playful and colourful Minju Kim very soon!