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INTERVIEW: H&M Design Award Winner Minju Kim

INTERVIEW: H&M Design Award Winner Minju Kim


We’re always on the search for new design talent, and apparently, we’re not the only ones. High street powerhouse H&M chose the super talented Minju Kim from the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp as the winner of their prestigious Design Award 2013, and we can’t get enough of her designs!

Part of her prize saw her develop nine women’s pieces and two accessories for H&M, which has gone on sale in selected H&M and Opening Ceremony stores internationally. We caught up with the designer to talk all things fashion, Manga and living the dream...

Tell us about the new collection?

The collection for H&M is based on my BA collection called “Dear My Friend” which also won the H&M Design Award 2013. Working with the H&M collection I´ve added some new pieces like a T-shirt and a sweater with my own illustrations on it and I´ve never designed those before. I feel very excited and every piece is a favourite!

Where do you get your inspiration from?

From everywhere! What I love and like and everything I see. If I feel some kind of emotion from something, I directly feel like transferring it in to fashion and drawings. With this collection it started with me going to Korea for the holidays and I was so inspired by Ito Junji's Manga illustrations. He lives in a world of his own, where girls can change into other creatures, to versions of love and hatred. I felt so many affinities that it made me want to do something similar. I started observing and drawing the people around me, not just friends; anybody who provoked some kind of emotion in me. Then I finally transformed those drawings into clothes.


Have you always wanted to be a fashion designer?

No not at all, I was always confused about what I really wanted for my future. I studied art before I started with fashion so there is always a little desire inside of me to draw. I feel so lucky that I decided to study at Antwerp Fashion Royal Academy, there I was always free to use my sketchbook in whatever way I wanted and it allowed me to show my own inner world. The teachers have also helped me a lot with how to turn my fantasies into garments and over the years I´ve really found out how much I´m enjoying making designs through drawing.

How has your style evolved from last year’s winning Dear, My Friend collection?

After I did the huge H&M fashion show, I felt that my style built up very strongly. It was a really big challenge for me to extend the collection from eight to twenty looks. Now I feel that I can go deep into my designs and work more to develop it for the people who are going to wear it. My master year collection "Be Cover" became more mature, still a bit girly but with more beauty to it. Still you can find fun, strong shapes and happy moods as in my “Dear my Friend” collection though.

Now that you’ve graduated, what are your plans for the future?

I can't believe I just graduated from my 4 years in Antwerp, I´m still feeling like a little student. There are so many things that I realised after creating and working through two big collections in just six months. I learnt that I really love fashion and I´m dreaming of making my own brand, when I cannot say but I feel so happy that I´ve found my dream.

The collection is available to buy now at selected H&M stores and online. It's also available at Opening Ceremony in London - the first time an H&M collection will be sold at Opening Ceremony stores!

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