Home » FEATURES » Feature: Toronto Men’s Fashion Week Emerging Menswear Designer Award Finalist: Rani Kim

Feature: Toronto Men’s Fashion Week Emerging Menswear Designer Award Finalist: Rani Kim

Emerging Menswear Designer Award Finalist Rani Kim's sources of inspiration

Emerging Menswear Designer Award Finalist Rani Kim’s sources of inspiration


Bold Strokes.


By Tessa Johnson

Toronto, Canada

*As part of our ongoing focus on unique global perspectives, we are thrilled to be the Digital Media Sponsor for TOM* (the first annual Toronto Men’s Fashion Week) — the 8th one in the world. In that spirit of celebrating emerging Canadian talent, TOM* launched the we had the  EMDA –Emerging Menswear Design Award Competition.

“EMDA is part of the Designer Menswear Fund, in initiative with the Toronto Fashion Incubator (TFI), to promote and nurture home grown talent and to inspire young designers to specialize in menswear. The grand prize winner will be selected from group of five finalists after they present their collections as part of TOM* grand finale runway presentation. Each collection will be scored based in visual appearance, style, brand communication and marketability. 

The 2014 EMDA winner will receive a cash prize of $10,000 towards their next collection, a spot-lighted show at next season’s TOM* and global recognition from the esteemed attendants of media, buyers and editors.–TOM*FW

In the next coming days we will be presenting you an exclusive series of Q&A with each of the finalists. We chat about inspiration, the world of fashion, the art of competition and of course their grand plans!


Toronto Men’s Fashion Week Emerging Menswear Designer Award Finalist: Rani Kim


How does it feel to be a finalist?

I feel very grateful and more than honored to be part of the first TOM* EMDA movement! This is an important opportunity for me to expand my growth as a designer and to showcase my work in Toronto. The individuals who make up the TOM* team have been very supportive and an amazing mentor, I feel very blessed to have such an opportunity.


Emerging Menswear Designer Award finalist Rani Kim

Emerging Menswear Designer Award finalist Rani Kim


What is it like to dress celebrities for television?

As a designer, clothing is a means of exemplifying your personality. As such to be able to represent the personality and give confidence to a celebrity is a fantastic experience to undertake. To help any individual express their style, tastes, and overall persona is a great feeling to have.


What inspired you to become a designer?

I think clothes really can show your personality but at the same time act as a disguise, a mask for individuals who seek to do so. I am very fascinated in fashion in that sense, “I become one by wearing one”. I wanted to be able to provide men a way to exemplify their personalities through clothing, to be able to showcase their distinct characteristics through my brand. This is what drives me to design.


What did you take away from your fashion education at Ryerson?

I had no fashion experience prior to my education at Ryerson. I was heavily influenced by education and opportunities that I got exposed to at Ryerson. Not just classes that I took, but also doing internships, and going on an exchange program. I discovered who I was as a person and as a designer, and was able to explore different means of showcasing my talents. I really feel lucky that I have graduated from Ryerson University.


Sources of Inspiration for Emerging Menswear Designer Award Finalist Rani Kim

Sources of Inspiration for Emerging Menswear Designer Award Finalist Rani Kim


What internships did you attain name of company how long where you with them, and how has it played a part with you being a designer?

Throughout university, I was very lucky to intern for Jeremy Laing, Farley Chatto, Dagg and Stacey, Evan Bidell, and Astrid Andersen. I interned with Jeremy Laing for five months, where I assisted him with sewing sample garments, sourcing supplies for dying materials and other components, and creating special effects for fabrics such as wet fabric distress, and spraying fabrics with ink.

I also had a major role in trimming garments before preparing shipping to different buyers. I learned a lot, I have gained many skills from his cutting knowledge and his production expertise. It was always good to see his passion and love for fashion as a growing fashion design student. A lot of people do not believe in Fashion, and seeing other designers doing what they love, and their hard working really pushed me to believe in a fashion career for myself and aided in the discovery of my own stylistic preferences as a designer.

Currently I am interning for Joe Fresh as a product developer assistant. My roles within the company include communicating with different vendors from overseas for production purposes, overlooking development submissions for the upcoming seasons, and aiding in the design of new products. I feel very grateful to be interning for this fast growing company, and am learning so much about business side of fashion. It is a great opportunity to grow as a designer.


Where did you complete exchange? Was it overseas? If so what differences did you come across with respect to your training from Ryerson?

I had a chance to go on an exchange program to the TEKO Design School, located in Denmark. It was a great to experience a very different culture. I was exposed to a different perspective in life, and was able to see a different values and norms in a country far from home. The People of Denmark are very group work oriented, and it really is something that I valued and wanted to adapt into my own lifestyle. Their culture is one about process, and the journey of the creation, rather than the business side of fashion. It is more about finding your taste and who you are as a creator, you as a designer.

I completed Menswear and Fur Design at Teko, and my mentor for menswear was Astrid Andersen. I still feel extremely honored and lucky that I got to have her as a guidance. Astrid is a strong advocate of developing and understanding an individual’s vision as a fashion designer. Under her tutelage she helped us to make our visions larger than the life. This experience was one of the best things that have happened in my life, and certainly helped me grow as a fashion designer.


Sources of Inspiration for Emerging Menswear Designer Award Finalist Rani Kim

Sources of Inspiration for Emerging Menswear Designer Award Finalist Rani Kim


How does it feel to be a woman designing menswear (challenges, etc.)?

I feel special. I actually love it, I feel unique. There is nothing that I do not like about working on menswear, because I simply love working with men (hahaha). In actuality it is because there are so much for me to explore, and play with for the designs. It is really fun.


What is the inspiration behind your EMDA collection?

Limitless, rebirth, and discovery. I personally dislike rules and constraints. I like to be free as possible and I like to discover my inspirations from simply experimenting with several different ideas. In this collection, I am trying to find my own rule for Rani Kim’s menswear by experimenting with shapes, colors, and texture.


Who is the Rani Kim man?

A masculine guy who is very confident, bold and knows what he wants.


 Photography courtesy of Rani Kim / Toronto Men’s Fashion Week

Black & white portrait of designer by J R Bernstein


*Tessa is a freelance writer, obsessed with menswear fashion, women’s accessories and a clutch fanatic.  She currently writes web and print articles for ANOKHI Magazine 


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