New York-based label JAMIE KIM begSan in 2020 created by Jieun Kim, who is from Korea. Kim’s collection has been characterized as tactical, practical, and classic derived from soft modernism. Drawing inspiration from the moment in everyday life in the city with mixed cultural backgrounds, her look is both timeless and fresh, with a conceptual approach that keeps them independent of trends. Unexpected styles and textures breathe life into casual wardrobe essentials like shirts and coats, quietly subverting their classic shapes and clean tailoring. The line’s workwear roots especially shine through in jumpsuits and shirt jackets that stand out while keeping it low-key.
A TALK WITH JAMIE KIM
Can you tell us a little about your childhood cultural background and when did you decide to become a designer?
Fashion and trends are very important to Koreans. So, I unconsciously absorbed a variety of knowledge, and I should have paid more attention. I’ve been shopping with my mom, who used to discuss to her 8-year-old kid about colors, textures, and designs. She also tried to choose my outfits by myself, and I was able to figure out which styles would go best together.
As I grew older, I worked hard to become a diplomat while ignoring my passions for art and design. I came upon a book by a Korean menswear designer in a bookstore one day, and reading it inspired me to pursue my ambition of becoming a menswear designer. This is my own trigger, which sparked my interest in becoming a fashion designer.Jamie Kim
How your creative process works? Do you have a specific strategy or just ‘go with the flow’?
I like to plan, but I don’t plan in detail. Because I know it doesn’t always go as planned. So, I usually only have big pictures and frames, and the detailed steps often change with the flow. I just start my collection by choosing the mood from everyday life, and I make a set of styles I will launch, and patterns for unique construction. Fabric is very important for my collection to design, so I spend so much time selecting the quality and novelty fabrics. I draw tactical and practical my collection along with the fabrics and illustrate styling which items go with well.
What about education in the fashion industry? Do you think is important before launching your own brand and why?
I studied fashion design for long at school. I still feel like there might be something more that I haven’t learned. Studying is fun, learning is inspiring, I can get convinced from education. I would say education for fashion is important, but it is not only from the school, but also from everyday life. I think that knowledges of fashion are definitely needed to do my own skillset, but if you don’t go to school, you can still do fashion.
What’s it like to see someone wearing your creations?
Everyone has the opportunity to approach my brand. I want my design to be a brand that appeals to everyone and that they want to wear. I imagined a person that has definite tastes in every aspect of his life, such as the milk they use in their coffee. He’s reading a fashion magazine in a chair by a designer, surrounded by soulful pop music played by a turntable, under unique lighting with many greens. We can now see the boy!
What’s your favorite place where you feel more inspired?
My design is functional, tactical, and simple to implement. So, I enjoy visiting Soho and Brooklyn to observe individuals on the street. And also, I usually go to the contemporary art museums in NYC to get inspired by the vibe and people who come!
How challenging is the business part for a brand like yours?
My collection is aesthetically mellow and minimal. I believe that the combination of patterns, details, and good fabrics that I create is attractive. Because I think they will appeal to people who have their own definite and high tastes, I think they should show not only the clothes themselves but also the overall brand’s atmosphere and lifestyle. I think it can be challenging to find customers who are willing to spend money by focusing on minimal but good fabrics and construction rather than customers who only spend money on fancy designs.
How New York City is challenging for a fashion brand?
In New York City, many up-and-coming designers are pouring out their creative works. I am blown mind away by their work. There are many new brands of different esthetics in various fields, but I think New Yorkers’ open mind and their own ideas about fashion give many designers a great opportunity to grow up. In New York, my brand is competitive enough with other brands, and I know that there are many people who like my brand already.
What’s next for your brand?
I will now show my brand to more people, and I am preparing for a new season collection. I am developing a way to show my creativity through them while sticking to existing brand concepts. I am excited to show what I am preparing for more fun and creative works soon!