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Next in Fashion’s Minju Kim On Resilience and Life After Netflix

Having started her namesake label after winning the H&M Design Award in 2013, Minju Kim was already a well-established designer in her native South Korea before dazzling viewers and earning the top prize on Netflix’s Next in Fashion. A masterful creator of bold silhouettes that mirror her youthful spirit, Kim’s latest collection is exclusively available on Net-a-Porter—a great feat for any designer with dreams of be- ing recognized on a global scale. Here, the designer reveals the inspiration behind her joyful designs, how she stays grounded, and how life changed after Next in Fashion.

The Evolution of Minjukim

“In my first year, I only thought about my inspiration, dreams, and fantasy. Continuing on with 11 collections since, I have grown and aged with my designs. I now think about the people who will wear my clothes, questioning myself on whether it is truly comfortable, wearable, and reasonable. I separate the collection into parts—one line which I can go really crazy and all the way with, while the other line is all about functionality and wearability, keeping MINJUKIM aesthetics and season in context.”

Creative Process & Inspiration

“A lot of people think my collection silhouettes remind them of hanbok, Korea’s traditional clothing. I do not have a particular muse in mind— I’m inspired by everyday girls who are very positive, happy, and not afraid to express themselves in their own way, including myself!”

On Winning Next In Fashion

“[Winning] was very overwhelming and happy. I had many self-doubts and questioned myself while creating the final collection. I feel like
I proved myself in that moment, and that I have been on the right path creatively.”

Working Under Pressure

“When I heard about the challenges that we would have to do on Next in Fashion, I thought it was impossible and no one could accomplish it in the time we were given—but I got it done. I think I built my confidence over time through completing each of these impossible challenges, and working alongside very talented designers. As we got closer to the final episode, I realized I really enjoyed that tension and excitement.”

Spring 2020 Collection

“When designing my latest collection, I drew inspiration from Frida Kahlo. I have always admired her strong energy, and also how she overcame all of her challenges in expressing her works!”

On Seeing Minjukim On Net-A-Porter

“I really love seeing real people wearing my collection. Net-a-Porter is not only a well-respected platform, it also has numerous shoppers from all over the world. I am so happy my designs can be worn by
a diverse group.”

Staying Grounded

“There is no way to ward off pressure in this industry. I just have to face it, and whenever I feel like it may become overwhelming, I remind myself to take it easy. I have to keep asking myself, is it MINJUKIM? Is it what I really want?”