Kanmin Kim: Wallpaper* Next Generation 2021

Our Next Generation 2021 showcase shines a light on 21 outstanding graduates from around the globe, Wallpaper’s pick of the best new talent in seven creative fields. Here, we profile Kanmin Kim.

Fashion: Aylin Bayhan
(Image credit: Sophie Edge )

While studying business management in Seoul, Kanmin Kim lived in a tiny room with a single bed and no wardrobe. ‘My clothes were always wrinkled,’ says the South Korean menswear designer, who soon dropped out of his degree programme and moved to Tokyo to study fashion at Coconogacco, where the cringe-inducing clothing of his past inspired his graduate collection. 

The result is an offering of city-slick suiting, featuring 1980s double-breasted tailoring in pinstripe and Prince of Wales check, paired with austere American Psycho-centric leather gloves and skinny shirting. Undesirable creases have been reinterpreted as elegant draping, and houndstooth coats and blazers button asymmetrically across the body, while blousons festoon the neck in iridescent folds. ‘Wrinkles were a symbol of harder times,’ Kim says. ‘They have been elevated using a luxurious technique used in haute couture’.

Kanmin Kim. Dream collaborator: A public bathhouse

Kanmin Kim. Dream collaborator: A public bathhouse

(Image credit: Sophie Edge)

While studying, Kim worked as a pattern cutter, and his Wall Street-worthy collection was made predominantly with deadstock fabrics. After seeing waste first-hand at a commercial level, Kim committed to using less materials during his design process, swapping physical toiles for digital models made using 3D CAD. He also used digital technologies for presenting his final collection, when lockdown restrictions prevented his debut at Tokyo Fashion Week. Instead, he created an online portfolio translated into six languages, and shared it on social media.

Blouson by Kanmin Kim

Black boots, €795, by Pierre Hardy

(Image credit: Sophie Edge)


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