Emerging Fashion Designer Of The Week: Introducing The Talented Anna Kim

Anna Kim actually got started in the fashion industry by reading fashion books and learning fashion words used for sewing, designing, and styling. She was initially a student of Seoul National University – her major was International Relations while her second one was European studies. She was curious about fashion and she wanted to be part of that world. It attracted her so much. However, she could not give up her studies and it was quite intense at the time, so she had to learn about fashion all by herself during her free time that she almost did not have.

One day, she attended Seoul Fashion Week where she realized just how much she really wants to be a part of the Fashion world. There were several ways to become closer to the industry that she could do during her undergrad. One of them was to become a fashion journalist. She found a job looking for a journalist and she started to write articles about Korean fashion and events and every week she went to different brands to interview Korean fashion designers.

After her undergrad, she wanted to learn fashion design at a university and get a master’s degree. However, she was not allowed to enter because they required an undergrad degree in fashion design so she decided to study at Yonsei University Korean studies and concentrate on Korean costume instead. All her researches were about the history of Korean costume and women of 1920-the 30s. When she graduated she got a diploma with a “Master of Korean Arts”.

Since her approach to fashion started academically, after finishing her master’s, she wanted to learn the practical part. She wanted to learn how to sew and create patterns and practice to become a professional designer and pattern maker. At that time she already had an idea of how to create her own brand. However, she had to go to China due to personal reasons and she ended up staying there for one year, learning Chinese.

She saw how advanced the fashion industry in China was so she attended more than 50 fashion shows, met lots of people from the fashion industry, bought books about sewing techniques, etc. She learned a lot and was even more inspired to create her own brand. When she came back, she continued to attend her fashion school but at the same time, she started to rent her first office in the fashion center of Seoul, near Dongdaemun Design Plaza. She studied and tried to apply everything she learned. It was a happy time for her, despite all the hardships. This is how she got into the fashion world.

Sassy & Co Magazine recently caught up with Anna to discuss her journey in the fashion world and here’s what went down:

What do you like most about being a designer?

I love the feeling of creativity and freedom that you can create anything you want (from your own world). The question you have to sell is “how”.

Downside to being a fashion designer?

Factories, production, control of the process. Dust. Neverending updates and sometimes crazy pace that doesn’t let you live a normal life. When you are young it’s okay but later on, it becomes harder.

What has been the most memorable experience of being in the fashion industry so far?

Meeting people and seeing how they feel happy when buying or trying on the clothes I made.

Another moment was when Coronavirus started, I had to adapt my business to a new format and I started to teach fashion in my studio in Seoul. Sewing classes, fashion illustration, collection planning, and students’ preparation for study at the fashion design department in South Korean universities. I was happy to see how my students are growing. Recently, I continue to teach and show Korean movies related to Korean fashion, read lectures dedicated to the history of Korean costumes online and offline.

Who have been the most interesting people you’ve met so far?

The most interesting people are my clients and in most cases, they become good friends.

What has been the most valuable lesson you’ve learned while in the fashion industry. This can be about the industry or about yourself.

I have to think about every step very carefully and think about the whole strategy at the same time. It’s quite hard to keep all moments and control the situation, despite on notes or interns/assistants I have.

Is your family supportive of you being a fashion designer?

My mother supports me a lot, while my father was dreaming about a different future. He wanted me to become a diplomat and work in the Korean embassy. However, I don’t see myself working there.

If you could go back in a time machine to the time when you were just getting started, what would you do differently?

I would not like to work with Korean producers, who invited me to their project (movie) to create clothes for the actors. I had to get a deposit in advance. That was my mistake and now everything is pre-paid.

What is the best advice you have ever been given?

My professor from the fashion school after I graduated recommended I continue to develop my own brand rather than go to work for a company. And now I want to say many thanks for this advice.

My advice to readers: Start with what you are afraid of the most.

What are your future plans? Inside your career or out of it.

I am planning to move to Moscow, collaborate with Russian artists, and continue my activities there together with my business in Seoul, Korea.

Meet The Rising Star Behind The Cover Of The September 2021 Issue Of Sassy & Co Magazine: Arundhati Banerjee

Download Now

Arundhati Banerjee’s journey from a South Australian Women of the Year – Emerging Leader, performing artist, pageant winner, humanitarian services to being selected among the top 25 models in Australian SuperModel has been rewarding and fulfilling.

Arundhati also fondly known as Ari is a teenager, pursuing a first-year Bachelor of Creative Industries (Theatre and Performing Arts) from Flinders University with a vision to work and contribute to the performing arts industry.

Sassy & Co Magazine recently had a chat with Arundhati to discuss her journey in the industry plus her experience joining the Australian SuperModel of the Year competition and here what went down:

How did you get into the modelling industry?

It was at the age of 14 when I began my journey into modelling by enrolling with Tanya Powell Models. There has been no looking back since then, be it walking the ramp, being offered Cover Girl opportunities, being featured in various magazines, winning pageant titles, or fundraising for humanitarian causes like Domestic Violence by walking the runway for various fashion shows. The journey has been gratifying and I look forward to learning and contributing further to my future.

Photographed by CAMO PHOTOGRAPHY / Outfit Sponsor BRIDAL FUSION by MASCIA

What do you like most about being a model?

Modelling gives me a sense of freedom. The fact that I can be myself in front of the camera without any limitations keeps me loving it and coming back for more. The skills of poise and confidence I gathered over the years through modeling have also helped me transfer the skills to other areas of my life. The opportunity to travel to interesting places and meet fascinating people from different backgrounds, work in diverse projects such as sustainability, body positivity, and diversity is very fulfilling.

Downside to being a model?

The emotional, and physical stress is quite common in this industry given the requirement to look and behave a certain way. The need to achieve and reach your maximum potential at a very young age, given the life span within the industry is very less and limited, puts a high amount of stress, leading to unhealthy competition, mental health issues, and many other. The environment needs to be conducive; the industry needs to be regulated just like any other workplace.

What has been the most memorable experience of being in the modelling industry so far?

I have chosen platforms and sponsors who resonate with my values and beliefs of inclusivity, diversity, and sustainability. I am an ambassador for a multi-award boutique Bridal Fusion by Mascia in South Australia who not only believes but demonstrates the ethos of body positivity and inclusivity through her dresses. My association with Miss and Mr. Diamond International and Australia and now Australian Super Model of the Year also aligns with the values that I believe. Another memorable experience is one of the catwalks that I did which helped raise funds for people affected by Domestic Violence – it has been a truly rewarding experience. Each of these experiences has been memorable and I had learned from them that modelling is not just about travelling to exotic places, or meeting people, but making a difference.

Photographed by CAMO PHOTOGRAPHY / Outfit Sponsor BRIDAL FUSION by MASCIA

Who have been the most interesting people you’ve met so far?

I am very young, and I believe all those whom I have come in contact with, have taught me life lessons that can be emulated in modelling and as such every other career aspiration I have.

What has been the most valuable lesson you’ve learned while in the modelling/industry. This can be about the industry or about yourself.

The most valuable lesson that I have learned is that it is not necessary to fit into the stereotype – just be unique, be yourself, and take care of yourself and others. Collaborate and not compete as well as build sisterhood are some of the mantras the different platforms and mentors have taught me. Enjoy the journey and strive for excellence and not success.

Can you tell us more about ASOTY?

Australian Super Model of the Year (ASOTY) is a unique platform that meticulously selects its top models that can align with the values of the institution which are diversity, inclusion, sisterhood, and sustainability. Once selected, there is a series of sessions from leading industry leaders on diverse topics such as sisterhood, fashion, sustainability, resilience, mindfulness, and networking. These sessions have aided my understanding, and appreciation, of collaboration efforts, building networks, and sisterhood.

Photographed by CAMO PHOTOGRAPHY / Outfit Sponsor BRIDAL FUSION by MASCIA

Why did you decide to join ASOTY?

The Australian Supermodel of the Year competition is not just a typical modelling competition. The selected contestants complete a series of activities over the next few months to acquire points towards reaching the finals. They include online training modules, mentoring sessions, social media content creation, photography, attitude, teamwork, collaborations, challenges, and working with the sponsors. I believe being part of this competition is about meeting new people and forming meaningful connections which allows me to promote diversity in the industry and the significance of sustainability in fashion. ASOTY believes in building Super Role Models for the industry and this difference in their framework is my reason to be part of it.

What do you hope to gain from joining ASOTY?

I believe that I have already started gaining through the series of sessions I have been attending the sisterhood that I have built within the institution and outside, change the perception of the industry, and seeing it with a different lens that is more productive and sustainable. Self-love, body positivity, sisterhood have been gainful takeaways so far and I look forward to every session in the coming weeks.

What do you hope to see happen in the near future for models and beauty queens all over the world?

I believe the modelling industry is going through a change, where we will be seeing more of Super Role Models which an institution such as ASOTY is aiming to build. We need our models and beauty queens and kings to be influencers, working for the greater cause of society, as the younger generations look up to them. They can be instrumental in building a healthy and inclusive society.

Photographed by S R MEDIA / Outfit Sponsor BRIDAL FUSION by MASCIA