Sung Kim Takes On the ‘Queen of Knits’

April 1st, 2011 by Lacey Luce
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Sung Kim

Hand-knitted pieces dominate Sung Kim’s Sonia Rykiel-inspired collection. It’s a fitting nod to the Master of Design muse who is known as the “Queen of Knits.”

One of Sung’s runway looks is a hand-knit dress, while the other includes a knitted top and machine-knit bottom. Her other two looks also have hand-knit features. For Sung, who has been knitting since she was 14 years old, the knit pieces were always part of her final collection plan.

“I wanted to do something that separated me from everyone else,” she explained.

Apparently hand making more than half of her textiles wasn’t quite enough of a challenge, because Sung also chose to make quilted leather, tote-style handbags to go with her looks.

Handmade, quilted, lambskin bag.

To make the two bags, she hand-quilted lambskin, then added custom zippers and handmade rivets and fringe. What made this challenge particularly attractive to Sung was its difficulty.

“When you quilt the leather and then sew the seams, and all the lines match up, it is a great feeling of satisfaction,” said Sung.

Sonia Rykiel built her design reputation on knits, and in particular sweaters. She began by designing sweaters that she wanted to wear while pregnant and grew from there. Sung’s knits reflect the color palette that Rykiel is known for, but the silhouettes and detailing are all Sung Kim. Sung worked in blends of alpaca and cotton, and acrylic and wool. She also combined yarns to create a chunkier texture, which can be seen at the necklines of her runway looks. Like Rykiel, Sung has created a collection that she wants to wear.

“It’s comfortable and soft. I followed my instincts and am really happy with the results,” she shared.

Careful planning

While building her collection, Sung was pleased to find that for the most part the concepts developed the way she expected.  She noted that one of her runway looks—of which she is especially proud—did not change from concept through construction. From the hand-knit top to the grey leather bag, it turned out exactly as planned. Sung noted, however, that there were times during the year when she needed to step back and edit to keep from over-designing.

She also said that critiques helped.

“You can’t help but be inspired by critiques,” Sung noted. “You are so close to your work for so long. Critiques help keep you from being too set in your ways.”

Screen shot from Sonia Rykiel's 2008 Paris show

Sung definitely does not like to rest on her laurels and sees the constantly changing canvas of fashion design as a good fit for her.

“I’ve always been a three-dimensional artist,” said Sung. “Growing up, I found expression through clothing fascinating and liberating. Also, I’ve always had a restless disposition, so I’m drawn to how fast fashion changes.”

Her “restless spirit” may have led her to tackle the challenge of accessory making, but despite her success with the leather bags, she says apparel is still her first love.

Her apparel and accessories will come down the runway May 13. If you don’t have your tickets yet, they are running out. Purchase online at www.ccad.edu/fashion.

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The CCAD Fashion Show is an annual fundraising event that showcases the talent of graduating Columbus College of Art & Design Fashion Design Seniors. This popular event sells out every year and this blog is a portal through which to view the behind-the-scenes goings on.

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2 Responses to “Sung Kim Takes On the ‘Queen of Knits’”

  1. [...] Fashion Show, Wednesday, April 27th. Featuring Fashion Design Instructor Richard Hurley and senior Sung Kim the show shined a spotlight on CCAD’s Fashion Design Program program, the May 13 event, and [...]

  2. Shelly says:

    Oh wow, a handmade, quilted lambskin purse! It’s beautiful!