RANK BY RANI KIM: BEST OF THE SHOW (TOM* |FW| Toronto Men’s Fashion Week Review)

If Rani Kim’s opening images of molecules and DNA are a metaphor for her growth as a designer, then she has appropriately captured her uphill momentum. Just about six months ago, Kim was a top contestant in Toronto Men’s Fashion Week: The Emerging Designer Menswear Awards of 2014.

At TOM 2015, her presentation was the best collection of the week in my opinion for numerous reasons: creativity, wearability and attention to detail. The main themes in her collection were oversized proportions, mixing unique materials, and asymmetrical cuts; this is why she stood apart from the other designers of the week.

Kim infuses her youthful and futuristic design to conventional clothes. Take this wool overcoat below for example; she subtracts the formal collar and slim fit, and adds proportion. The coat is big but not baggy. Also, she adds M-65 field jacket pockets for a military aesthetic. The details that give this jacket a clean and minimalistic finish is the absence of visible closures, adhering to the motto ‘less is more.’

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Just like the wool overcoat, Kim gracefully combines classics to create new possibilities like this oversized parka with a fish tail back. Like much of the collection, this jacket is made of neoprene.

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Rani’s creativity and playfulness are shown in her version of the long coat. There are two layers to this jacket; the ends of the jacket are cut asymmetrical with spacing in between that give it an unfinished and artsy aesthetic. Three different versions were exhibited; one in black nylon, the other in a black wool blend and the third version in grey wool with the back being a combination of denim and nylon.

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It is obvious that detail is important to Kim as she leaves no space untouched. She seamlessly combines different materials into sections of the garment that normally go undisturbed, like the back of jackets inner sleeves or body panels. This carefully curated mix of materials is what gives her clothing depth, ensuring it is not a random throwing together of materials.

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The piece de resistance of the collection is Rani Kim’s twist on the motorcycle jacket. Here we have a combination of two types of bleach denim on top of the rubberised fabric. It is the only item of the collection that is infused with a lighter colour. The small amount of gold was a vivacious and safe touch to the jacket.

 

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Rani presented a unique and balanced collection in the terms of colours and size. She made the right decision in using darker colours, since an infusion of primary colours to an already uniquely proportion offering may have been too much for the audience to digest. Instead, she subtly added light touches of gold, denim, and neon green to give life to the collection.

As someone who searches for new and unique designers who insert something unique to the menswear market, Rani Kim is the designer from Toronto to look out for. Designing for men is difficult; we are not normally adventurous, and some of us do not experiment with colour. Our clothes are made for practical purposes, work or casual settings and many of us are limited in our options -long sleeve or short sleeve, jeans or shorts, etc.

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However, Kim’s clothing ventures into the unique without being unwearable. Her designs are outside the typical construction of mens clothes, but remain accessible to a demographic willing to experiment. Her aesthetic concepts are also individualistic. Rani Kim designs clothes from a place that has no reference. She does not take inspiration from a subculture or bygone era; rather she takes staples and adds different materials which results in clothes that seem futuristic. Futuristic not in the Minority Report or Blade Runner sense, rather these proportions and style will be worn in the near future.

Words By: Javier Castaneda

Photos By: ADavyRaw

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