MINJUKIM – The Latest South Korean Fashion Brand
Not only did she appear on the hit Netflix competition show, Next In Fashion, designer Kim Minju also designed the tour outfits for BTS. Aside from Kim’s personal clothing store, her collections are also stocked on Net-A-Porter. But before getting into her success, let’s talk more about the designer behind MINJUKIM.
Who is Kim Minju?
Kim studied in New Zealand as a teenager. Her original passion was becoming a cartoonist. However, her parents encouraged her to study fashion design in South Korea. She first studied design at the Samsung Art & Design Institute and got her master’s degree at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp, Belgium.
In 2013, Kim won the grand prize at the H&M Design Award. The purpose of the award is to promote young designers and help them navigate the competitive fashion world as they establish their own brands. Kim launched her fashion brand MINJUKIM in 2015. Her sister helps her with internal operations. She works hard to release a new collection every year. On top of designing, Kim also teaches fashion design classes at Kookmin University, a private university in Seoul.
Net-A-Porter described MINJUKIM as a youthful playfulness mixed with haute couture fashion brand. Kim is best known for combining feminine physiques with bold and daring elements to help her clients feel fearless.
In an interview with AnOther, Kim said, “I always wish for people to feel my happiness when they see my collection. Sharing my emotions through fashion is my dream.” It’s no wonder that there’s always a pop of color, fun patterns, and flattering silhouettes in her collections.
Asian culture is also a big inspiration for her designs. In another interview with CNA Luxury, Kim said, “It is really interesting how Asian designers can combine their culture and story into their collections – the color and traditional shape result in a beautiful aesthetic. When they show their roots, they express more unique concepts. This is how we offer a different point of view.” One of her goals in life is to help introduce the fashion industry to talented Asian designers that can’t get the necessary exposure.
Journey Across the Sea
Kim made her TV debut in 2020 on Next In Fashion, a fashion competition series produced by Netflix. The show was hosted by tan France and Alex Chung, prominent figures in the fashion world. Kim was among 18 designers competing for the chance to win $250,000 USD to expand their brand and have their collection featured on Net-A-Porter. Kim stated in interviews during the show that she hoped to use the money for MINJUKIM and make her sister proud.
Each week, designers were tasked with creating a new outfit to match the theme of the week, like red carpet, swimwear, etc. At the end of the week, the two hosts picked a winner and eliminated two designers. During the first few weeks, Kim teamed with designer Angel Chen to form a duo, dubbed “Dragon Princesses.”
In the season finale, Kim and fellow contestant Daniel Fletcher had to create an entire collection in three days to present at the final runway. The judges were impressed with Kim’s creativity as well as her authenticity to stay true to her brand. The global buying director of Net-A-Porter as well as other celebrity judges named Kim the winner of Next In Fashion and awarded the $250,000 USD.
Her latest collections are still featured on Net-A-Porter, the largest online luxury goods retailer. It is home to some of the biggest designers in the business, such as Alexander McQueen, Balenciaga, Gucci, La Mer, and now, MINJUKIM.
Designing for Idols
Kim has worked with Red Velvet since their single “One of These Nights”. She is also the designer for their outfits for the “Rookie” music video and promotions. Her signature bold elements were big bows and ruffles. Fans feel that her unique style matches very well with Red Velvet’s quirky and mysterious concepts.
MINJUKIM’s clothing also made a few appearances in the K-drama “It’s Okay to Not be Okay“. Actress Seo Ye Ji named Kim one of her favorite designers. It is no surprise that she wore a few pieces in the drama.
The Future of MINJUKIM
Kim’s vision for the brand is to open it up to international consumers. In the same interview with CNA Luxury, she mused at the possibility of designing for the mass. This project could help her branch out of her usual runway and couture concept. It could also help her be more accessible to the public. MINJUKIM currently has over 500K followers on Instagram. There’s nothing stopping this South Korean fashion brand from being a household name.
Check out her latest collection on Net-A-Porter and follow MINJUKIM Instagram for the latest update.
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