#SAFW Designer Interview – Kim Gush

One of the best upcoming edgy menswear fashion designers, Kim Gush, is taking her talent to the SA Fashion Week runway. The designer tells us the collection was inspired by the diversity of South Africa.

1) Can you tell us more about your fashion label and how it started?

KIM/GUSH is a young brand of 2 years, and counting. I started the label as I felt there was a gap where menswear was not experimental and progressive enough in SA. It started with my entry into AFI Fastrack competition 2012, where I went on to win overall and titled Young Designer of the Year Africa 2012. This definitely pushed me into the idea of taking my brand and making something of it. After 2 years of part-time attention, Kim/Gush finally has my full time attention, and with this, we can expect an explosion of the label on the market.

Kim Gush at 2013 Cape Town Fashion Week. Photo by Simon Deiner/ SDR Photo.
Kim Gush at 2013 Cape Town Fashion Week. Photo by Simon Deiner/ SDR Photo.

2) Tell us about the defining moment in your career, when you decided to start your own label?

After college I went off to work in film as wardrobe, which fulfilled my every desire to taking the steps to becoming a costume designer. I however always felt myself wanting to improve, meddle and produce men’s street wear – I was tired of seeing 0 experimentation & originality from people who clearly had the need for something new. With the fastrack competition opportunity, this just kept pushing me towards making something of my recipe guys clearly had a hunger for.

Kim Gush at 2013 Cape Town Fashion Week. Photo by Simon Deiner/ SDR Photo.
Kim Gush at 2013 Cape Town Fashion Week. Photo by Simon Deiner/ SDR Photo.

3) Who do you envisage in your clothing?

I absolutely love seeing creative professionals, the guy on the street, the model on the runway and the oke sitting next to me at the coffee shop wearing Kim/Gush in their own way. It’s the most rewarding seeing your products enjoyed on a daily basis by the people who you made it for. My favourite of the moment experimenting with Kim/Gush and other awesome brands is Brett Rogers (@brrrogers).

Kim Gush at 2013 Cape Town Fashion Week. Photo by Simon Deiner/ SDR Photo.
Kim Gush at 2013 Cape Town Fashion Week. Photo by Simon Deiner/ SDR Photo.

4) What kind of preparations goes into fashion week?

Little or no sleep, a diet of caffeine and procrastination. Best ideas come to me at the spur of the moment, so about 2 weeks ahead of such events, I will have a shower epiphany and will get caught up in a storm of sketches, patterns and textiles. It’s pure chaos, but creativity cannot be forced, and unfortunately for me, it loves to put me under pressure by coming to me so late. But I love it – it’s what keeps me going.

5) What inspired this collection?

‘Babel’ is my ode to the diversity of South Africa. Upon looking at who my target market is and doing that typical research into my business, I realised that every sub culture, every religion, every culture within this country is what inspires me. Babel is where all these ideals, alongside a hybrid where formal, street and workwear, meet.

Kim Gush at 2013 Cape Town Fashion Week. Photo by Simon Deiner/ SDR Photo.
Kim Gush at 2013 Cape Town Fashion Week. Photo by Simon Deiner/ SDR Photo.

6) How would you define success for a South African fashion designer?

Turning your dreams into a profitable business. We all have crazy ideas of what we want to be, we are creatives after all and no one should deny you your dream, as long as you are willing to work for it. We do however have to constantly step back and remind ourselves, there’s no forward without creating something sustainable out of it. Staying true to yourself as a designer is definitely a challenge within this concept, but it’s finding that balance that will make you successful.

Kim Gush at 2013 Cape Town Fashion Week. Photo by Simon Deiner/ SDR Photo.
Kim Gush at 2013 Cape Town Fashion Week. Photo by Simon Deiner/ SDR Photo.

7) Why do you think an event such as SAFW is important?

SAFW allows us as designers a platform to show the country, as well as the world, what we are up to. The scope of media and the overall reach is incomparable to any other publicity and is invaluable to the success of our local brands.

*Follow Kim Gush on Twitter and Facebook

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