Born and bred in Seoul, South Korea, Youngmi Kim grew up observing the endless energy of the city and catching glimpses of the solar system beyond the sky scrapers. Attuned and aware, Youngmi created a treasure trove of inspirations from her time observing the happenings of the frenetic city, before applying and being accepted into Seoul’s Samsung Art and Design Institution, bursting at the seams with ideas and creativity.
Launched in 1995, the Institute’s design programme was implemented in conjunction with the prestigious Parsons School of Design to fuel the creativity of South Koreans and help transform ideas into reality. During her three years at the Institute, Youngmi learnt fundamental skills and harnessed a strategic outlook, becoming a competitive designer in Seoul upon graduation. Fast forward five years working in the industry in Seoul, Youngmi decided to develop herself further as a designer and made the move to London to pursue a MA Womenswear at the renowned London College of Fashion.
Why London? Youngmi says, ‘London has one of the most diverse creative scenes in the world, and holds onto the coveted title as being one of the ‘Big Four’ fashion capitals in the world, alongside New York, Milan and Paris’. And why the London College of Fashion? ‘London College of Fashion, UAL is the only college in Britain to specialise in fashion education, with state of the art design equipment, experienced staff and the largest postgraduate arts and design community in Europe’.
Now 30, Youngmi has graduated with her MA Womenswear, and as part of the course produced a phenomenal graduate collection titled ‘She Has Two Small Moons’ which was selected to be shown at London Fashion Week. Encouraged by her tutors to delve into a wide variety of textile methodologies, from hand knitting, machine knitting, to embroidery and tailoring, Youngmi declares one of the most important things she learnt during her time at the London College of Fashion was to combine her passion for making with her design philosophy while simultaneously letting her personality shine through her work. Her graduate collection takes everything Youngmi learnt during her time at the London College of Fashion and is a true expression of Youngmi as a designer and a person.
‘She Has Two Small Moons’ explores being on the periphery of a cosmic galaxy, delicately balancing between two worlds. Inspired by her two best friends, who inhabit two very different worlds, Youngmi reflected on the beautiful moments spent with them and sought to capture the moments in her collection. The impressive collection fabricates fantastical spaces of dreamscapes and fictional truths through a colour palette of pink, fuschia, lavender and lilac, while subtle nautical references – navy tailoring, seaweed and underwater textures – help to guide one through the distinctly magical collection.
Showing ‘She Has Two Small Moons’ at London Fashion Week was the ultimate experience, and ‘could be one of the most memorable in my whole life’, Youngmi thinks due to the ‘perfection of that short moment’. Another highlight of her time at the London College of Fashion was the time spent with her classmates, ‘I am personally proud of all of them – they rarely give into panic – astute enough to know how to calm themselves down and others, and are always so kind and nice’.
As for the future? Youngmi plans to keep being a dreamer, fuelling a well-developed imagination and being endlessly curious. We think this means there are many more star studded collections to come from this new designer, so watch this space!