TALKING ABOUT DESIGNER Vol.01
A designer opening up the way to a new era; Kim Jones His university time, intimately connected to his creations.
Looking back at the history of fashion, there are always some designers to be found who can be said to have changed the flow of the times. For example, Coco Chanel, who designed a tailor-made jacket for women in a time when the dress was still at its peak; Helmut Lang, who charmed people with his minimalistic and refined looks when colorful and extravagant pieces were popular. Or Hedi Slimane, who gained many followers with his skinny rock look. These are all designers with their own unique style and all have changed the flow of fashion in their own time. The current creative director at DIOR, Kim Jones, can also be said to be one of these people. A specialist in various fields, he has continued to include his favorite things into the maison’s finest, and with that created his own set of values. He also understands very well the value of collaboration; in this article, we will take a look at the background of his business strategy designing with others creations that can only be made by that specific combination.
Kim Jones was born in 1979 in London, but as his father had to move often for his job as a hydrogeologist, from a young age he lived in all sorts of countries, from the Amazon to Tanzania and Kenia, South America and Africa. Growing older, he became interested in fashion, starting to wear Levi’s denim along with some of the early brands from Ura-Harajuku like UNDERCOVER, A Bathing Ape and Goodenough, spending time with skaters and hardcore kids. Curious as he was, he also got involved in the house and techno music scenes, got interested in movies like Planet of the Apes and Star Wars, even the skating and punk subculture in London, spending time being stimulated by many different kinds of culture. This is when Jones started to awaken to his collector instincts.
He used his own instincts to collect items from all different brands, from SEDITIONARIES to Vivienne Westwood, John Paul Gaultier, ISSEY MIYAKE and Kristopher Nemeth, as well as Nike sneakers, vintage and art pieces, items that Lee Bauer showed in his shows, outfits by buffalo; in a time when the word archive wasn’t a concept quite yet, Jones collected various items that would stand the test of time. His wide collection is famous and he owns many items that other collectors would die for. The reason he was able to create such an amazing archive collection is partially thanks to the eye for beauty of Steven Phillip, who worked at the vintage store Rellik in West London. He was always willing to find items for him that he would be interested in.
Afterwards, Jones entered Camberwell College of Arts, studied photography and graphic design, and went on to study at one of London’s finest colleges, Central Saint Martins, having been introduce by a friends to its Fashion Department director, Fabio Piras, who encouraged him to enter the school. In the same period, he also started working under Michael Kopelman, one of the early members of the International Stussy Tribe as well as the founder of Gimme Five, which served as the distributor for street brands like Supreme, UNDERCOVER and A Bathing Ape.
Working there he got to meet people like Hiroshi Fujiwara, NIGO and Jun Takahashi, people who carried the legacy of the Ura-harajuku culture which he admired much. Jones often says that their creations and patterns of thinking have had a big influence on his own. The graduation collection he presented in 2002 was one that used elements of this subculture in a simple but sophisticated fashion, which he made by himself from the fabric. This collection is well-known to have been mostly bought by John Galliano, currently designing for Maison Margiela, even though Jones liked so much he would’ve preferred to keep it for himself. About one year later, Jones sold a part of his archive collection; he used this money as his base capital to debut as a designer at the London Fashion Week.
Text_ SHUHEI HASEGAWA