Kimhekim designer wins 2020 SFDF prize

Up-and-comer Kim In-tae’s dramatic designs are being matched by major recognition early in his career, as he was declared winner of the 15th Samsung Fashion & Design Fund (SFDF) on Nov. 26.

During judging for the latest edition of the prize for promising talent, Kim received an especially high score in creativity and completion. Samsung C&T Fashion Group’s design director, chief editor, and overseas judges described his work as having a strong identity with huge commercial potential.

Surrounded by some of the work that has led to his success, Kimhekim designer Kim In-tae celebrates winning the 2020 SFDF prize.

Chosen from among active Korean designers who fit the criteria of working in an international fashion city and launching an independent brand within the last five years, the SFDF award means Kim will be supported in various ways. His work will be exhibited at the Beaker Cheongdam Flagship Store in Seoul’s Gangnam district until Dec. 4. He will also receive financial sponsorship for design creation activities and benefit from domestic and international promotions as well as business expertise.

Path from Paris to SFDF

Born in Seoul in 1986, Kim learned his craft at home and abroad, first graduating from Esmod Seoul/Paris and then Studio Bercot in the French capital in 2009 before staying there to work for the Balenciaga Collection team.

Kim launched Kimhekim in Paris in 2014. The women’s clothing gained a reputation as a Korean couture brand with clear signature styles featuring lyrical, dramatic materials and silhouette drape details. Kim enjoyed a breakthrough over the last year when twice participating in Paris Fashion Week with his Fall/Winter 2019 and Spring/Summer 2020 collections.

Kimhekim therefore has strong connections in both Korea and France. Run by five people, including Kim himself, the brand has a design studio office and showroom cafe in Seoul but it has also welcomed collaborations with experts in Paris. Its products are on sale via 60 online websites plus brick-and-mortar stores worldwide including Lane Crawford, Harvey Nichols, Forty Five Ten, Need Supply, Farfetch, and Moda Operandi.

Kimhekim has been praised for its clear signature styles featuring lyrical, dramatic materials and silhouette drape details.

15 years of SFDF support

Founded by Samsung C&T Fashion Group in 2005, SFDF has fostered Korean design talent with a total sponsorship sum of USD 3.3 million over the last 15 years.

Including combined winners, SFDF has produced 23 victorious teams in total. They include now renowned designer Jung Wook-jun, the creative force behind Juun.J, which has enjoyed continuous success in Paris and opened a Seoul flagship store earlier this year.

Speaking of the success these young Korean designers have had in the French capital, SFDF’s Executive Director Cho Je-seok said, “We are pleased that SFDF graduates are recognized in the global fashion city.”

“We will continue to find designers with potential growth to be recognized overseas and provide various support to promote K-fashion,” Cho added.

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