Interview by Kate Peña Ríos
In an effort to support the fashion industry during the international crisis we’re currently dealing with, we place the matter of emerging brands on the table. The arrival of Covid-19 has not only been a sanitary issue, but it has also strongly shaken the world in many ways which has led us to question almost every aspect of our lives, including our consumption habits. We want to create conscience about the way we choose and buy clothes; over the years, this subject has become more and more important in international discussions and because of the conjuncture we’re going through today, we must certainly pay sufficient attention to it.
Enter the scene, emerging and local brands.
Consuming from local brands today will make the difference for a lot of small and medium-sized businesses, and also of course, for the personal economy of their employees, which means that our very decision to buy locally can contribute to keep the economy of each of our countries flowing.
That’s why, Beuys Magazine wants to contribute to the cause by giving a little push to emerging brands. We’re dedicating this digital space to talk about some brands that have caught our attention for their creativity, uniqueness, and social and environmental conscience.
In this occasion we introduce you korean fashion designer Minhee Sim.
Through a long distance interview, we had the chance to get to know Minhee, who told us about her brand eight i three and how she got to conceive it.
We hope that when you finish reading it, you’ll love her work as much as we do and spread the word!
eight (i) three
We want to know Minhee, tell us a little bit about her.
Hi, I am originally from Suwon, S. Korea and have been working in fashion design and product development in Toronto, Canada since 2014. I launched my personal brand, eight i three, in 2019 as a channel of my design philosophy with the first collection, 01. Cycled, shown at Fashion Art Toronto 2019.
How did you come to know you wanted to be a designer?
I always have been into making something but I didn’t know it was clothes until my late 20’s. I learned sewing and pattern making in the mid 20’s just out of curiosity, because I thought it would be cool to be able to make my own clothes. And it was surprisingly fulfilling and fun. So I have been doing that since then. What keeps me interested in fashion design is that there is always something new. I am learning all the time. I just love all these multiple possibilities depending on every mix of silhouettes, fabrics, wearer’s body shapes, and many other hidden factors
Describe for us the essence of your brand (eight i three) and what makes it different from others in the market.
eight i three offers environmentally-friendly garments and accessories created with urban cyclists in mind.
What makes it different from others is that, eight i three offers not only cool and urban design but also an ideal.
Such as; Acceptance to the differences by creating gender neutral, and one-size-fits- the most silhouettes, environmental consciousness, thoughtful consumption, and healthy lifestyle.
What traits of your personality can we see reflected on your brand?
eight i three has simple and clean design with thoughtful functional details.
I like to be moderate and humble. Maybe that’s why I believe good designs doesn’t have to speak too loud.
For the same reason, I put a lot of thoughts on details. I don’t want to waste materials for unnecessary designs and all the details should have a reason to be there – they should either be perfectly functional or simply beautiful.
How would you like to see your brand growing? In other words, how do you see your brand in 5 years?
I would like to see it grow sustainably – on the one hand, it should stay true to its core values, and on the other hand, it should reach a scale to be financially viable.
I am making baby steps to learn how to build a fashion brand, topics include marketing, branding, and many other things. To start off, I have been working on social media marketing and e-commerce.
Once the brand reaches a more comfortable position, I will invest in experimenting with innovative fabrics and interesting designs while I keep sustainable fashion in mind.
How do you think the contingency the world is going through is going to affect the fashion industry?
I believe it is affecting the fashion industry. But as we see, the industry is quickly adjusting to the post-covid-19 social trends and lifestyle. The first emerging trend is convergence between protective gear and fashion trends. As we can see how masks are quickly accepted as a part of our day to day wardrobe. Secondly, social distancing-shopping through e-commerce.
How are you personally dealing with this contingency?
I am doing good! It is a difficult time but on the positive side, I could focus more on my design, because the distractions through my day jobs and additional commitments were less prevalent.
Right now, I am selling reusable and washable masks, made of an environmentally sustainable fabric, and am raising money. This money will be donated to local food banks, supporting vulnerable neighbors. You can check out the product in my Instagram account @eightithree.
To finish with this interview, are you currently working in a new collection or a new project?
Yes, currently I have been working on my 2nd Collection: 02. Underwater
The original inspiration was from the movie, The Shape of Water by Guillermo del Toro.
While eight i three is maintaining its heritage as an environmentally-friendly urban cyclist-facing brand, for its 2nd collection, it will experiment on different shades of light, as perceived underwater. In designing the pieces, I borrowed from the absolute wholeness of water and the fluidity of movement it lends to shapes. This will be explored in various sustainable fabrications, such as recycled polyester, recycled nylon, hemp, and most excitingly, Umorfil.
Umorfil is a textile composed of ocean collagen peptide derived from recycled fish scales. The shapes and textures will be interpreted in rich blacks blended with deep hues of dark green and blue.
Some of the pieces from the 2nd collection: 02. Underwater are featured in Beuys Magazine, May edition “I’D RATHER GO BLIND”, please check it out and stay tuned for the more to come!