Kim Shui Celebrates the Resilience of New York City For SS21
Watch the designer’s NYFW documentary-style film.
This year’s Fashion Month has taken an unprecedented turn due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, forcing most brands to showcase their work digitally to their fans instead of the traditional live runway show. In light of these trying times, New York governor Andrew Cuomo announced that this season’s New York Fashion Week would go according to plan but with strict safety measures.
The CFDA has just wrapped up its digital RUNWAY360 platform this week where a number of designers pre-recorded their shows and shot their lookbooks beforehand. Among the participants was emerging designer Kim Shui. In comparison to her ’90s and ’00s-inspired Spring/Summer 2020 line, Shui took a personal approach for her SS21 range by spotlighting the quarantine stories of models, muses, friends and supporters of her brand in a documentary-style film shot in the Big Apple. Taking a new approach to her signature body-con dresses, cut-out tops and animal-print silhouettes, garments in Shui’s latest collection pay tribute to the inspiring women in her life who have to deal with real-world problems on a daily basis.
Read our interview with Shui below who talks about the inspiration behind her new designs and how she has been adjusting to the “new normal.” Head over to CFDA’s RUNWAY360 website to watch the designer’s full presentation.
In case you missed it, don’t forget to check out Harlem Fashion Row’s NYFW SS21 collection.
What was the entire process like preparing for a pre-recorded presentation compared to a traditional Fashion Week runway show?
Our production was very layered and intensive, just as any regular runway show would be. It has definitely really been about friends and family – all of us working on it together to still create something special during this time.
Was the design process any different and were you less pressured knowing that your collection was going to be filmed beforehand?
I prepped all the pieces as if I were going to do a live runway. The design process though was a lot different and more difficult because I had to design and fit a lot of the pieces digitally. Normally I would be traveling or out of town to work on it, so there were a lot of restraints. We also shot still images and a film at the same time.
What was your inspiration behind your SS21 collection?
I feel like the collection was really about resilience. Creating under unprecedented times, I think the underlying subconscious feelings laid the foundation of the collection as I worked on it at home in NYC where I’ve stayed since the start of the pandemic. There’s a contrast between being restrained/tied up and being free and out in nature – with the corsetry and shorts that bind and tie on the legs and this tropical feel with the prints and the linen, and the seashell earrings. Almost taking a spin on the Billabong surfer girl.
Creating under unprecedented times, I think the underlying subconscious feelings laid the foundation of the collection as I worked on it at home in NYC where I’ve stayed since the start of the pandemic.
What message are you trying to convey with this range?
I wanted the collection to showcase the KS girl – her optimism, strength and perseverance no matter what she is confronted with. Which is why I decided to shoot individual portraits of KS friends and family around NYC as the lookbook. I feel so lucky to have such amazing girls as supporters and wanted to capture them showing the new looks.
What pieces resonate with you the most and why?
Personally, I love the linen pieces and the two-piece silk set in creams. I don’t usually work with muted tones, so it was nice to use them this season.
Since COVID-19 hit, how have you as a designer and a brand been adjusting to the “new normal”?
We’re moving a lot of things around. Looking at new ways to work and create, but as with any challenge, I think it forces you to be more resourceful and find creative ways of working.