Jiyong Kim wins the 2023 Samsung Fashion Design Fund award

How do emerging fashion designers get discovered and break through to the big time? One way for designers from Korea is to be selected as winner of the Samsung Fashion Design Fund award. This year, Jiyong Kim has become the winner of the 19th SFDF award, following in the footsteps of previous winners like Rejina Pyo, KANGHYUK, and Juun.J.

Jiyong Kim has become the winner of the 19th Samsung Fashion Design Fund award.

An award to elevate K Fashion

Samsung C&T Fashion Group launched the Samsung Fashion Design Fund award in 2005 to recognize Korean designers working around the world who have elevated the status of K Fashion in the super-competitive global fashion market. Since its beginnings, the award has turned out 26 fashion design teams, sponsoring them to the tune of USD3.7 million in total.

Each year’s winner receives one hundred thousand dollars to support design creation activities, as well as domestic and international publicity and professional business support.

Explaining the global fashion industry situation, SFDF’s head Choi Myung-koo said, “Diversity and sustainability are attracting attention in the global fashion market, and various designers and brands are emerging one after another.” Choi went on to say, “In order to target more diverse and dynamic consumer tastes, a unique identity based on various stories is the key,” adding, “SFDF will take the lead in raising the level of Korea’s fashion by actively discovering new potential designers.”

When selecting a winner, SFDF judges look for the following attributes: a Korean designer based in a global fashion city, who has launched their own brand in the last 5 years, who launches new collections each season, who is internationally recognized as a next-generation designer with high potential for development, and who balances creativity and business sense.

In 2021, Jiyong Kim launched his own brand, JiyongKim.

Combining originality with sustainability

On November 30, SFDF announced designer Jiyong Kim as the 19th winner. Born in 1990, he studied at Japan’s Bunka Fashion College before going on to Central Saint Martins in London, where he earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees specializing in menswear design.

In 2021, Jiyong Kim launched his own self-named brand JiyongKim and is based in Seoul, while his creations are sold through curated shops like Dover Street Market, MR PORTER, Browns Fashion, GR8 in Tokyo, and 10 Corso Como.

As a designer, Jiyong Kim has been described as experimental and rebellious, and is known for breathing new life into discarded fabrics or products with a technique known as sun-bleaching. Thanks to this, each of his creations has something unique.

Jiyong Kim studied in Japan and the United Kingdom and incorporates sun-bleaching into his creative process.

The panel of judges at SFDF, made up of internal and external creative directors, design directors, and magazine editors, gave Jiyong Kim high marks in several categories, including originality, finishing touches, environmental sustainability, marketability, and brand sustainability. Kim’s originality and environmental sustainability were said to be particularly unrivaled, with the judges also praising the sophisticated presentation that revealed the commercialization process of the original concepts.

SFDF is exhibiting select garments designed by Jiyong Kim at the Beaker flagsghip store in Seoul’s Cheongdam store until December 13, to give people an opportunity to see the work of this up-and-coming young designer in person.

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