Germany-born/raised, Korean designer, living in New York City, Siki Im participated in last night’s Conversation in American Menswear series, hosted by Garmento Magazine at the Museum of Arts and Design in Midtown Manhattan.
As a youth, Im’s fascination with Legos led him to study architecture in Oxford, England. This childhood interest is seen in his menswear design where construction and proportion, as well as seams, is the fundamental principle of Im’s fashion.
Im worked for both Helmut Lang and Karl Lagerfeld before going out on his own. He described Lagerfeld as “kind of cool” and was nervous upon meeting him, as he moved about with an entourage. Interesting to learn though, was that Im also described Lagerfeld as mellow and as someone who cracked jokes, was sarcastic, and was also super-witty.
Alongside Belgian and Japanese designers, Im was also inspired by American culture, not necessarily pop-culture. Im describes his work as being ‘identity-less and more modern’ with his ideal customer being the quiet, strong type. His love of subcultures includes the hardcore, straight edge music scene when the baggy-panted skaters of the 90s prevailed, as well as the East Coast rap scene, before it became popular. This is where Im makes the clear distinction of his influences coming from American culture and NOT American ‘pop’-culture.
During the talk, Im also talked about his production being in America, specifically New York City. While many other designers may choose to outsource their labor at a cheaper cost, Im explained his headquarter being local for practical reasons, with the ability to deal with human errors easily and quickly.
Im’s work is simple and minimal, perhaps nostalgic at times. His style advice for the average American man who may or may not be able to afford his designs:
1) Feel comfortable physically and emotionally, but push your comfort zone.
2) Wear good shoes.
3) Have fun. (Amen to that!)