New York-based label JAMIE KIM began 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.
IN CONVERSATION WITH JAMIE KIM
When did you first realize you wanted to pursue a career as a designer?
I was growing I studied hard to become a diplomat while ignoring what I was interested in art and fashion. I liked to go shopping with my mom, she used to talk about colors, fabrics, and styles to her 8 years old daughter.
One day, I happened to find a Korean woman, menswear designer’s book at a bookstore, and reading it made me dream of becoming a menswear designer. This is my little trigger, it made a spark to become a fashion designer.
How important is your cultural background for your brand?
Koreans are very interested in fashion and trends. So, I absorbed a lot of things without realizing it, and I should have paid more attention. When I majored in fashion design in Korea, I used to go whenever there was a fashion week, which kept me inspired and motivated to work. Also, there is a huge fashion material store in Seoul, and there were many opportunities to meet many materials and fabrics. I think I was able to grow a lot because I could try many designs.
Who have been your biggest mentors in this industry and what is the best advice they have ever given you?
When I was in college in Korea, there was a professor, Kwon. She was a textile and fashion design professor, and she would ask me what I wanted to be whenever I took her class. She used to tell me all four years that I would do well if I started my own brand. I wasn’t sure and I didn’t believe it at the time, but I’m happy that it came true as she said.
I worked as an intern for a startup menswear brand in New York. My boss, Dan tried to teach me and involve me a lot about the fashion industry, which was all new to me. He liked and respected my design, even though I was just an intern. And he encouraged me to continue my design. A lot of time has passed, but we still interacted and shared advice about our favorite fashion while maintaining a good relationship.
If you could go back and tell yourself one thing before beginning your career what would it be?
“So many challenges are waiting for you in the future, but you’re glad you did!”
What was your biggest fear when starting your own brand?
I used to wonder what if people wouldn’t want to wear my clothes. I thought people could think of my design as minimal and boring. But I’m sure it doesn’t take them a few seconds to notice quality fabrics, unique details and well construction.
Who would you most like to see wearing your garments?
My brand has the potential to be approached by everyone. I want my collection to be a brand that suits everyone, and everyone wants to wear. And I hope it lives in their closets for a long time. I draw a person who has specific tastes in everything his lifestyle, like when they choose milk for their coffee.
Name two icons you admire or you would like to collaborate.
At first, Tom Sachs. He is American artist as a sculptor, well known for his elaborate recreations of various Modern icons.Sometimes when I walk down the street at work lunchtime, I notice him. Like his artwork, he seemed to have a certain style of his own in fashion. He dresses very naturally and effortlessly, but it has its own vibe. I want to dress him in my collection one day.
Secondly, I want to collaborate with one of the countless people. I want to observe his life, look into his thoughts, and then design clothes that suit his taste and attitude of life.
A letter to your future self. What would you write?
“There will be another time you want to give up, but look back every moment, the footprints you took! “