South Korean Minju Kim is taking the fashion world by storm with her fairytale designs and playful aesthetic. MOJEH discovers what’s next for the game-changing designer
From winning both Netflix’s Next in Fashion series and the H&M Design Award, to standing as a semi-finalist in the LVMH Young Fashion Designer Prize, it’s safe to say that Seoul-based designer Minju Kim has a bounty of impressive industry accolades under her belt. Now dubbed as one of fashion’s rising stars by Net-A-Porter – who most recently signed her up for its celebrated The Vanguard collection for AW20 – all eyes are on this brave and boisterous designer.
A graduate of Antwerp’s Royal Academy of Fine Arts, Kim launched her namesake brand Minjukim in 2015, and has since become renowned for her unique combination of youthful playfulness and avant-garde haute couture – something which Kim credits to her own life experiences. “It’s is all about myself; it is made with anything that inspires me: movies, my cats, computer games, night and day, dreams or emotions,” she tells MOJEH.
These inspirations are evident in her brave candy-coloured collections, which come emblazoned with statement motifs and billowing shapes reminiscent of the hanbok (Korea’s national costume). In fact, all of Kim’s whimsical pieces have a distinctly Asian inspiration – something she claims she never intended, yet “comes out naturally.”
Her autumn/winter 20 collection ‘Knight of Night’ is no different: Kim once again designs for the modern-day woman looking to express herself individually, rather than following traditional seasonal trends. “It is about a girl knight who protects me from nightmares,” Kim shares. “I imagined Joan of Arc as my knight. This season, the graphics have elements which reminded me of a knight, such as swords, roses and praying hands. The shapes come from night gowns and robes with strong volume.”
Silk-like blouses, voluminous quilt coats and classic corset dresses in a feminine palette of rose, baby pink and mint are offset by gothic transparent blouses that balance both seduction and tenderness; after all: “I don’t have a particular muse in my head, I really want women of all ages to enjoy my collections,” she explains.
It’s this eclectic style that caught the eye of Net-A-Porter’s Elizabeth von der Goltz, who was quick to snap Kim up for talent-incubator programme The Vanguard. “We are always looking for someone with a unique brand DNA, and also someone who can translate their designs into something our customer will buy and wear,” she explains. “Minju’s use of shapes, volumes, colours and prints are what really resonate with our global customer.” It seems that Kim’s moment in the spotlight is only just beginning.