Harper’s BAZAAR has always been about nurturing new talent and uplifting the next generation. Besides our Asia NewGen Fashion Award, we have also been committed to the BAZAAR Academy, which sees educational institutions in this country linked up with the world’s most esteemed fashion companies to provide students an insider’s look into exclusive events, exhibitions, talks and parties.
This year, Harper’s BAZAAR Singapore teams up with Chanel once again for the BAZAAR Academy Masterclass to equip Singapore’s fashion students with the knowledge needed to succeed in the business of fashion—from launching new label to creating a brand that resonates beyond its products. The series of masterclasses—held from Oct 29 to Dec 3, every Thursday at 8pm—sees fashion insiders and industry experts share their advice and top tips for success.
Kicking off the series is Harper’s BAZAAR Singapore’s cover model (June 2017), social media influencer, and entrepreneur Irene Kim (@ireneisgood), who chatted with Editor-in-Chief Kenneth Goh (@kennieboy) on how a brand can stand out from the fashion startup crowd on Oct 29 (Thursday).
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An established Key Opinion Leader (KOL) who has an astounding 1.9 million followers in Instagram, Irene decided to take her brand Ireneisgood further and launched her own fashion label during Paris Fashion Week in September last year.
She says: “For me, launching this brand was something that came naturally, after working as an influencer and model, and creating all these beautiful visuals for my followers and my fans. It has always been something I wanted to do, to take it to the next step, the next level, for my career and for myself personally.
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Photos: Ireneisgood Fall/Winter 2020 collection
“The brand is inspired by my mantra—it’s good for you and it’s good vibes —giving off the same energy as my platform. It’s an extension of who I am in real life expressed through clothes.”
How did it all start?
“We first launched [Ireneisgood] with a PVC tote bag. It was an organic evolvement because I was always travelling, so I decided to make a cute beauty tote that I can bring with me everywhere. And it kind of kicked off everything because when the website was launched, everything sold out that weekend. My followers were excited about this product.”
Related article: Irene Kim On The Importance Of Keeping Good Vibes In The Fashion Industry
Not one to rest on her laurels, Kim also collaborated with Zepeto, a free social media app that lets you create a 3D avatar from a picture of yourself and share it on social media.
For this partnership, Kim says: “I was excited because I am a tech nerd. I love trying out new apps, experimenting with new platforms. For me I thought it’d be so much fun to digitise my clothes.”
She continues: “When I was young, I love playing with dolls, [working with Zepeto] is my way of playing dress up with a virtual Irene… Now I get comments [on social media platforms] saying ‘I found you on Zepeto and I can’t wait to get that sweater in real life.’
“The virtual world gives you unlimited access to materials. And you can create whatever you want and that expands your creativity because once you start your business, there are a lot of limitations on what you can do—budget, price points and margins—things that people don’t really talk about even when the final product is out. Doing it virtually and digitally is a great way to test the market and go crazy with it.”
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Besides launching her new fashion label and forging an ongoing relationship with Zepeto, Kim also worked with TikTok.
“I was already enjoying the platform—a little too much—during quarantine,” she says. “TikTok Korea noticed me and they set up a meeting with me, wanting to do something together.”
When Kim heard that TikTok was about to launch a series of characters, she wanted to create a line of clothes for these new additions.
Related article: A Day in the Life of Irene Kim
“We really made it a 360-experience,” Kim says. “I debuted my first song for the challenge and my friends were so excited to do this and it brought a lot of people together. My good friend created the choreography for the Good Friend challenge. It was really fun.”
What advice does she have for budding entrepreneurs who want to create a brand for themselves?
“To be your best and always challenge yourself,” she says. “Make sure you’re passionate about it because people will know if you’re faking it.”