24 Hours With… Jiyong Kim
Like a breath of fresh air, Jiyong Kim gives new life to reclaimed materials, using the power of the sun, wind and rain. The South Korean designer behind the eponymous label made his start at Lemaire and worked as a Design Assistant at Louis Vuitton under Virgil Abloh, but now he's making sustainability-focused waves with his own line and urging us to evaluate our perceptions of old and new. Here, Kim takes us through a day in his world...
“Stovetop coffee in the morning.”
Morning What time do you wake up and where?
I wake up at 7am everyday at my home. It is in Seoul, South Korea, and I recently moved into a new apartment.
What’s the first thing you do in the morning?
The first thing I do in the morning is make my coffee. I know I drink too much coffee, but it is an essential part of my day.
Where are you usually based?
I am usually in my office, South Korea.
What does your average day look like?
I get to the workplace by 9am and when I am back home, it is normally 11pm and I go to bed. The studio has been very busy and there are lots of creative works, always.
Do you have any morning rituals?
I do not have a specific one but making my coffee right after waking up from bed is kind of a ritual for me to start my day.
Where is your studio located and how do you get there?
My studio is located in the centre of Seoul, and I usually take the underground or bus to get there.
“Gallery Exhibition with sun-bleached artwork.”
“Waiting in a queue for the JiyongKim exhibition.”
"The process of sun-bleaching."
"Sac before and after bleaching."
“Each piece is unique.”
Daytime How would you describe what you do?
As an owner and the creative director for my own brand, there are lots of things to do always. I design clothes, manage production, have meetings with other brands for collaboration, and prepare for the next season. Recently, the brand has launched an exhibition in Seoul, and there have been constant meetings for exhibition. So, I have been having busy days also working on the artworks.
How has your background influenced who you are today?
I was born and raised in South Korea, and after high school, I firstly went outside to Tokyo, Japan for an academic study in fashion. As I had my early days in Asia, the environment inspired me a lot. For example, the environment here is quite conservative and uniformed, so that people are not allowed to be unique, however, I put a lot of effort to distinguish and express myself with the clothes. I believe that this background motivated me a lot...
How did you get your start in fashion?
I have always been interested in fashion from a young age. I was always eager to look for clothes and collect designer brands.
What are the most important factors for the brand?
The most important factor for my brand is that it is a menswear brand with creative silhouettes. They are not straight and have the extraordinary details such as natural draping all created by the pattern work. And also, the special fabric treatment, which is called sun-bleaching: is the most popular keywork to describe my brand.
How do you get into a creative headspace?
As all designers do, there are lots of crucial things and processes to make one small detail. So, I always try my best to be awake and concentrate on the work for at least 12 hours a day. Also, I can say that my brain never stops working. I always keep thinking about works and the clothes as the time is limited. It is also the same for the sun-bleaching process, the technique used for my brand. The process relies on nature to a big extent, and it does not contain any artificial materials. We put the clothes in the broad nature field and make impressions. It is true that the process is widely influenced by the weather conditions and the natures including moon, rain, wind, and the sun. As it is impossible to control nature, I always need to be sensitive and concentrate to minimise the waste of resources, meaning that I need to be awake 24/7.
What do you do to take a break from work?
To be honest, from the launch of my first collection, I never had a proper break, as I always have been very busy working and working. Not only was I a designer, but I was also a student at an MA course in Central Saint Martins until the previous season, Autumn/Winter 2022, so it was not allowed for me to take a rest and have a day-off. So, I hope in the near future, I could have one for a while and get back to work with more creative headspace and inspiration.
“BTS photo for 2022 Autumn/ Winter Lookbook.”
What’s on your bookshelf right now?
There are lots of books, magazines and interviews: books about vintage clothes, and most importantly, folded sun-bleached fabrics.
What do you usually do for dinner?
Again, I eat dinner at the office, quick. If there is plenty of time, I might go outside for dinner, but normally it is the busiest time during the day, and I plan for tomorrow and the overall process. We go through the process over and over, as of the time-taking process and our strategy to improve the quality of the collection.
What time do you go to bed?
I go to bed at 1am and get up at 7am or even earlier than that.
Last thing you do before you sleep?
Last thing I do every day is take a shower and plan for the next day.
Do you have any evening rituals?
As mentioned above, I would get very nervous to work on something if it is not planned and checked before. So, in the evening, I make a note of what to do tomorrow and the time.
What do you dream about?
I do not remember my dream, as I think it is very important to have a quality sleep. So I try all my best not to be close to my phone and work during the bedtime.
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