My skill level in garment construction may never land me a job on Savile Row, but my analysis and exploration of Asheville fashion definitely makes for an interesting read. Synthesizing a love of...
Photo above by Wendy Newman Photography
Waiting for the designer to arrive for our interview, two weeks prior to Asheville Fashion Week, I remember thinking about what I was wearing. Was my blazer wrinkled? Did I look legitimate? Since I do not yet have an established reputation/credibility, I feel invisible in the league of professionals. I have to think about how I appear to others and I wanted, more than anything, to appear professional to Angela Kim. After all, she was (is) doing what I have always dreamed of doing. She had gone to school and received her masters, traveled to other countries and furthered her skills, and finally established her own brand right here in Asheville.
Angela Kim made a huge debut with her brand Angela Kim Handcrafted Garments during the grand finale of AFW. The title and theme of her collection was titled Garden Party, and after seeing her collection I have finally figured out what to say. I was lucky to be front row at the fashion show, and as each look came down the runway, I had flashbacks to our interview at Clingman’s Café. The interview had left an impression on me because she didn’t simply tell me her inspiration – she told me her reason for creating.
“Creating a space for a human body form… I think it’s very similar to architecture which was my original dream when I was a young girl. So I think I like this idea of creating a space from nothing. You pick the fabric before you make the clothes so you are creating space to fit in – to put on a human body form. It creates a very unique shape and movement. My personal interest in architecture – I have always been fascinated by building design. How you can create a space with timbers and bricks and concrete and all that… and you know when the designers or the architects design a building, they probably have all of these feelings that they want to have in this space, in their mind, but how do you articulate that with these solid materials, you know? In three dimensional form? So I have always been really fascinated and interested in architecture, but, I decided to do fashion.
When I design my clothes I think about how women will feel in the garments. Some people think that the fashion industry is so superficial so, materialistic. And that can be true but I want to provide something a little more than that. If that’s all that fashion can offer, why do I have to be another designer and create more...rubbish? So I thought really hard about what my contribution is to this world, to this community, to the customer as a designer. I wanted to give some kind of empowering feeling to these people through my garments, and that’s why I think about women’s bodies so much. I’m not making garments to dress models who have perfect bodies. That’s not really the purpose of why I am doing this. I think about real humans, real women who have challenges and changes, you know?
One of my friends, my really good friends, who is in her mid 70’s said something like, ‘You know Angela, all of a sudden, I feel like I am so invisible in this world. You know? I always liked fashion. I always liked clothing and there were always nice clothes for me to go and get, but now, in my old age, I feel like nobody is paying attention to women in their 70’s. Nobody is making anything for us. Why is that? We are so invisible in this world.’ And that really hit me. Yeah, she might be a little bit older than me but she is still a very beautiful individual. How come nobody is thinking about her needs? So, that’s the kind of things I want to pay more attention to. I’m not saying I’m only going to make clothes for the older woman, I am just saying that every individual – every individual – deserves to have something. Something beautiful.”
I can’t pinpoint exactly how many looks came down the runway but I can tell you that each garment made a promise. I was no longer looking at models strolling down the runway but at women coming alive through color, cut and style. Angela Kim had shown me the shape of visibility through asymmetrical hemlines, crinolines and draping fabrics, statement jewelry provided by Mora Contemporary Jewelry, and floral as well as other printed patterns. When I looked at the models, I didn’t want to be them but I wanted to be in their shoes. I wanted to wear Kim’s handcrafted garments because I too could be visible even if I am sixty pounds heavier than those models. I desired to wear Angela Kim’s designs because her philosophy on fashion was more than that – it was a promise.
For more information, check out Kim’sand Facebook page for more details.
1st and 2nd photos from What's Her Face Photography / 3rd and 4th photos from Jim Rigsby Photography