Interview – Kim Choong-Wilkins
Kim Choong-Wilkins graduated from St Martins in 2005. He now lives in London and presented his Bodybound AW09-10 collection at the Royal Colleg of Art in 2009.
How old are you?
21,821,760 seconds old
Could you tell us about your collection Bodybound?
« We must not look at goblin men,
We must not buy their fruits:
Who knows upon what soil they fed
Their hungry thirsty roots? »
The macabre photography of Joel-Peter Witkin and this particular verse by Christina Rossetti are the inspiration for « BODYBOUND ». Together they inform the collection on the human condition, desire and the perverse. Referencing both the anatomical drawings of Vesalius and the eroticism of Hokusai, the collection revolves around skin, sinew, muscle, and bone.
It pumps sex back into a craft that has become lust-less, prompting arousal and addiction for men’s knitwear by examining the relationship between seduction and repulsion.
Fabrics are ultra luxurious knits, laminated and studded, hard and glistening.
The collection gained significant sponsorship from yarn suppliers BI.MI.VA, LANECARDATE, TODD & DUNCAN, ZEGNA BARUFFA, and the shoes were designed as a limited edition collaboration with S***R LONDON.
Who do you design for? Who do you have in mind when you design your clothes?
I have never used a real person as a muse. Or tried to emulate the persona of a live being in my work. I think that it becomes all a bit too complicated, too much about that person, about what they really do wear and think and behave. It limits us to the hear and now, and I think that much of what we should be addressing is to do with creating a better world. If I could indulge in one moment of hypocrisy, I would love to be able to knit garments the way that Francis Bacon paints.
What is your favourite era for fashion? And why?
The «fashions» of the 16th century have always been somehting that has engaged me even at a very young age. The power displayed in the garments of the Tudor court in England, and the Ottoman and Mughal empires in the East are wonderfully expansive and expressive. A great engagement with the proportions of the body. Arms that are wildy exaggerated, or else engorged turband heads, or hips that create horizons along the figure.
Does your personal style influence your designs?
If you mean the way I dress, no. Simply because I am often desingin for my future ideal. I often feel like adopting my designs in to my personal wardrobe after they are created however.
How do you think mens fashion has evolved these last years?
If I am brutally honest my passion for men’s knitwear is fuelled by my great disappointment in the lack of ambition in many contemporary collections.
Although things are already changing for the better there is still too much emphasis on reservation being equated with sophistication. There is nothing masculine about being reserved, if anything it is the singularly most emasculating thing I can think of. Menswear needs to be dazzling again, I think that is what we should strive for.
Can we buy your collection anywhere yet?
At the moment, directly from the designer: email@example.com