Meet Designer Muir Kang and Her Newly Launched Fashion Line, 'Muir K.'
Launched in fall 2010, designer Muir Kang's eponymous brand, Muir K., is for the young woman who doesn't have to try to look good. Effortless chic, individuality and functionality describe the elements of her line, which cater to the modern woman. From growing up in Korea to studying in Japan, and later attending school at NYU and the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT), Kang's multicultural background enhances the transient quality of her clothes—they can be worn as day or night wear, and across seasons. We got in touch with the designer to see how her brand came about.
Mochi: When did you first know you wanted to be a fashion designer? Muir Kang: Since I was a little girl. I was obsessed with all kinds of dolls until I started dressing myself up. I had collected all kinds of paper dolls and thousands of Barbie doll clothes, shoes and accessories. Later, when I couldn't find any newer things, I started making my own dolls and clothes. Also, I used to draw sketches imagining a lot of different occasions, setting up stories.
Mochi: What prompted you to move to Japan at 18 and attend school there? MK: As I got older, I had a growing interest in learning foreign languages and cultures. Japan was the closest foreign country [from Korea] and at the same time, had one of the most attractive cultures for an 18-year-old girl. I was already reading Japanese magazines and listening to Japanese pop in my high school days.
Mochi: I heard that your parents weren’t too excited about your going into fashion. How did you deal with their dissent and how do they feel about your career path now that you’ve successfully launched your line? MK: I confessed to my mom after my first semester at FIT started, when she visited me in New York. I raised my voice for the first time, saying I would have a miserable life if I had to do something different from what I love to do for a living. People spend most of their life, at least half of it, at work, so it should be something that I love to do. It took a while to convince her, but now my mom is my biggest supporter.
Mochi: How did enrolling at FIT help prepare you for a career in fashion? MK: I've learned everything about fashion at FIT. I didn't know anything about fashion before then, and didn't even know how to draw a figure when I had to prepare my portfolio for my application. I took a basic fashion drawing class at Parsons at night to prepare my portfolio while I was attending to NYU, and then everything started at FIT.
Mochi: What challenges did you face in your debut with your Fall 2010 collection? MK: I kept questioning myself if I was doing the right things. It's difficult to get critiques in the beginning. That's the hardest part. Without critiques, nobody can grow.
Mochi: What type of women do you create clothes for? MK: Women who have great confidence in themselves. They have free spirits and their own clear visions about what they want to do and how they want to look. They don't need perfectly made-up outfits. They prefer to make their own looks rather than slip on "already-made-for-you" looks. I love women who have their own ways for everything.
Mochi: Where did you draw inspiration from for your Fall 2010 and Spring 2011 collections? MK: For Fall 2010, it started with a canvas, which can be anything for a painter. I tried to make pieces clean and simple but also chic enough for women to style the look, either by layering pieces or adding accessories. For Spring 2011, I had the concept of "the old is new" in mind, and took inspirations from a few medieval pictures. I experimented with draping by wrapping the body with a block of fabric without any cuts, or leaving three holes open for the head and arms with two blocks of square fabrics as the ancient people made their clothes. And then I shaped them into wearable, modern looks.
Mochi: Who or what inspires you the most in your career? MK: I admire Coco Chanel and how she gave women freedom by fashion. I take inspiration from everything in my surroundings, which can be anything from what I see or hear.
Mochi: Do you have any advice for teens who are aspiring fashion designers? MK: Don't be afraid to express yourself and experiment in creating your own personal style.
Photos courtesy of Muir Kang