This week I was lucky enough to head over to Stockholm Fashion Week with high street giants H&M for their Design Award winner’s show. And, if you didn’t know already, the winner was the insanely talented and infectiously bubbly Minju Kim from Belgium.
The Design Award project, now in it’s second year, aims to encourage and support amazing young talent like Minju. Graduates from 19 design schools in eight countries competed this year, so it’s no surprise that when Minju made her appearance after the catwalk finale, she did a little, very sweet victory dance.
When I went backstage to speak to Minju, I found her still jumping up and down with excitement. I joined in with her. It was so so lovely to see her very genuine reaction. ”It’s really difficult to explain how I feel right now” she said. Understandable!
Her collection is bursting with colour, imagination and fun, playful shapes. The big, rounded shoulders remind me of an American football kit, the furry trousers nod back to some half-human-half-goat character from Disney’s Fantasia, the platform shoes look like they’ve been pulled from a high fashion cartoon and the jackets, some of the most inventive I’ve seen for a long time, with their splayed-at-the-back glittery fabric, are quite other-worldly.
In fact, when I asked Minju about her inspiration, she said: “Manga cartoonist Ito Junji in Japan always draws horror and transforms his girls into a monster or a creature, so I thought I should do something similar. I observed older people and friends around me and then I drew them and then my own drawings became part of the collection!”
When I asked who was her style icon, she told me it was: “…my teacher, Walter Van Beirendonck (at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp). I studied with him and worked with him on his collection too. He gave me lots of advice. He said “Minju, be stronger, you can do whatever you want!”"
Chosen pieces from this collection will be sold in H&M stores worldwide for AW13. I’m SO excited to see what goes into production. “The leather dress, everyone should try it, and the furry trousers” are Minju’s favourites. Are you brave enough?
Walter Van Beirendonck? Are you hearing this lovely reader? He’s only one of my favourite menswear designers of all time. Major jealousy right now. Although I did actually bump into Walter and had a pic with him, which I’ll show you in my next Swedish post, so stay tuned.
For now, take a look at these pics from Minju’s show, and there’s a little vid below too…