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Grace Hyejin Kim

26, South-Korea

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What made you decide to study fashion?
When I was 15, a couple of fashion students came to my school in Korea and explained their studies. During the presentation, they showed some of the work they did. It was the first time, I really felt attracted by fashion. They had images of models wearing their dresses, the composition and light really made the clothes stand out. Before that, I never thought of pursuing a career in this industry but seeing them living their passion, it became clear it was also a path I needed to choose.

Why did you choose The Royal Academy of Fine Arts of Antwerp for your education?
And why is Antwerp so special for you?

It was quite evident. I had always admired the work of one of their former students, Martin Margiela. Then I also came across Manon Kündig and immediately fell in love with her style. For me, it was the kind of fashion I wanted to make, the fashion of tomorrow. I did some research on her background and where she studied and found out she graduated from the Antwerp Academy. This really brought me to decide to start my studies in Antwerp. Surprisingly, Manon is now one of my mentors at school.

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What inspires you the most?
I mostly find inspiration in my daily life. This can be small, rather insignificant activities such as small-talk with friends, reading comic books or even watching anime.

What is the story behind the collection and how do the glasses join the story?
The whole collection started with one phrase "it’s cold, I’m just chilling". I was inspired by winter and combined this with the idea of sitting at home on the sofa. The overall atmosphere transmits a certain coldness and conveys my feelings of being lonely and longing for family as an international student in a foreign country. The glasses are direct results of this, a combination of the form of couches with this quite winterly feel.

What makes your style unique?
I have a good sense for observation, meaning, I do not just watch things and people, I try to really see and observe. I look at small details or even funny, little particularities in objects or situations. I understand and pay attention to things that most people don’t see and use these observations and ideas to enrich my collection. Detail is very important for me.

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Where do you see yourself in a few years?
Eventually I would like to become a teacher in Korea and transfer my knowledge and skills to the younger generation. I see myself working as a fashion designer in Europe first and develop my voice as a designer. I also like to venture more into arts as I’m interested in dance, music, painting and performance.

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