At first glance, a rack of Kimhekim's clothing could be seen as sophisticated and feminine, but as you look closer, there's a thoughtfulness and fine tuning that can't be dismissed. Kiminte Kimhekim is the man behind the Kimhekim label - a womenswear line showcasing pieces that are sculptural and luxurious, yet still feel delicate and slightly romantic. We visited Kiminte at s a meet and greet at Harvey Nichols to get more insight as to how his collection began.
I’m Kiminte Kimhekim, and I’m a fashion designer doing womenswear. I show at Paris Fashion week with the help of an agency I have there, and I moved to Paris when I was 19 years old, to pursue design school. After I finished school, I went on to work for Nicholas Ghesquière at Balenciaga for two years. After that, I worked for several brands in Paris as a freelance designer, then I went on to start my own label.
Simply it was my first job as a designer. I was working with him in the atelier; I remember always running up and down the atelier and observing all these people who were always developing something new and being experimental. I saw how much effort was taken into creating a finished final product, and the process is why I am in design now. When I design, I try to do different things to create the code for Kimhekim. I felt like all the designers in Paris were doing it for pleasure and for the love of it, not necessarily to make money.
My Asian heritage is really important at the moment. I’m physically Korean but I’ve lived almost half my life in Paris, and my label is my family’s last name. My family is based in South Korea, and our business was in the gold, so we would create gold crowns and export them all across Asia. I think from that I got my eye for detail and intricacy, which then extended into my own business today. I’ve spent a lot of my life in Paris, so I feel like I have a good filter in my mind, where I somehow naturally balance my upbringing with my more informant training.
I like a girl who appreciates beauty and art in a sensitive way. You can easily pass up on the small details day to day, but I appreciate the girl that can slow down and pays attention to what’s in between - I like people that think deeply.
I really have to thank Instagram. Back then I had nothing - no sales team, no PR, no buyers, etc. The first presentation I put up consisted of seven dresses I made by hand, and I just invited my friends and family to view it. At the time, no one was buying my pieces nor talking about my work, but then there was an instance where I had posted about my presentation on Instagram, and editor from Vogue Italia went to my presentation and borrowed a dress then got street snapped in it. From there, everything started to pick up; I remember when I posted a simple iPhone pic of my work once and the next day I got like 400 new followers from it, it was really interesting. It’s a new way to express your existence, and also a great tool for PR and marketing. When I share something on Instagram, I feel a closer connection to my consumers and they feel comfortable enough to communicate with me in a way traditional media cannot.
I’m still really enjoying the process of it all. Seeing the first visualisation of my ideas, sharing it with my team, and seeing it come to life in real fabric on the human body is the best moment. It’s the main motivator for me and why I do what I do.