Fresh from being crowned the winner in Netflix‘s first reality fashion show, Next in Fashion, South Korean designer Minju Kim is now fast becoming the next up-and-coming designer to watch out for. Minju beat all 18 fashion designers from around the world to emerge as the winner in the show, having proved her sartorial creativity with her 10-piece, Frida Kahlo-inspired collection, with a wedding dress as her show-stopper. In the end, she wowed the judges and walked away with the grand prize of US$250,000 and a debut collection with luxury fashion retailer NET-A-PORTER.
Here, we sat down with the South Korean designer to talk about her experience in the Next in Fashion show, and her fashion plans in the near future.
1. First off, tell us how you feel about emerging as the winner in Netflix’s first reality fashion show, Next in Fashion.
I feel very overwhelmed and happy after winning Next in Fashion. I’ve had so many doubts when creating my collection, but I feel like I have proven myself in doing something right by going with my instincts.
2. Your final collection for Next in Fashion is beautiful, and it’s inspired by Frida Kahlo. Tell us more about what inspired you to make the collection?
I have always admired Frida Kahlo’s strong energy and also how she managed to overcome all of her difficulties and express that process through her works. She is an inspiration to us all!
3. You and Angel Chen are best buds on Next in Fashion, even calling yourself the “Dragon Princesses”. Tell us more about your relationship, and how you both met.
Angel Chen and I met in London at the “One to Watch” awards. We were one of the final four designers who had the chance to present our collections. We admired each other’s works and we became really close since then.
4. What do you think of both Tan France and Alexa Chung, the hosts of Next in Fashion?
Both Tan France and Alexa Chung are very kind, funny and loving people. They are also very sharp and straight forward when they gave us their feedback, which I really appreciated.
5. We are sure you are excited that your collection is stocked at NET-A-PORTER. Tell us how was it like working with NET-A-PORTER? Do you have a favourite piece from the collection, which is a must-get for your fans?
It was not an easy process because I had to re-design the final collection to make the clothes more wearable and “friendly” on a daily basis. I had to design my SS20 collection at the same time, so the schedule was really tight.
My favourite piece would be any piece with the sky blue and green jacquard fabric. Also, any piece with the printed fabric, because I designed that fabric from scratch.
6. Your SS2020 Collection is titled “La Casa Azul”. Tell us more about your inspirations in putting together this collection.
My finale collection from Next in Fashion was Frida Kahlo as you know and I wanted my SS20 collection to be the continuation and extension of that finale collection. My SS20 collection, which is available at SocietyA, is called “La Casa Azul” which means the blue house and it is the name of the house where Frida Kahlo actually lived in. I imagined Frida in her house having moments of her life where she was most protected. I think the SS20 collection has easier and more wearable designs than my winning collection.
7. Can you share what are your future plans as a designer? Do you hope to become a big brand selling in major websites and department stores, or do you wish to remain as an independent small label selling to a select group of fans?
I do not have a grand plan for the future; I will keep doing what I have been doing best. I love seeing anyone who wears my design. I’ve never thought about selling my clothes just to a selected group of fans, it’s just that I did not have the chance to approach to a larger audience. I will remain as an independent designer. However, I will figure out an approach to reach as many customers as possible.
8. What are your thoughts on Asian talents in fashion and art? Do you think there’s untapped potential here?
Yes, there are so many undiscovered great designers and I meet them every day through fashion week. We all struggle with the same difficulties in the business of fashion, such as dealing with mass production and monetary issues. My hope is that there would be more programmes that create chances, like Next in Fashion, or support system from big organisations, to help these great designers/talents so that they can be experienced and appreciated more by people who love fashion and design.
MINJUKIM’s SS20 collection is exclusively available at SocietyA, #03-14A Ngee Ann City, 391A Orchard Rd, Singapore 238873. Visit society-a.com