KIM JONES: Star quality

IF THE paradigm shifts in fashion are in-the-face clichés forever, Kim Jones readily whips up a cure that drives the boredom away.

The 31-year-old British-Australian socialite says it’s a degree of reformation that is just right there all along.

It’s in the head respectively —called hair color.

“I feel like it’s super cheesy, but I found my true identity in my hair,” Kim strokes a few strands of her new hairstyle: blonde bob with fringes on the forehead.

The long brown hair has been chopped off, and on this Saturday afternoon in August, she just emerges in the crowd with a new crowning glory.

“I don’t think I’ll go back to brunette in a while,” she assures us again at the first trunk show of her new company, The Fore, at the Pig and Palm bearing a series of accessories she created with biologist and designer Ken Samudio.

No other mind could ever combine the visual arts with the Filipino version of joie de vivre—the vitalizing joy of happiness—the way the duo did.

Oversized earrings with soft bends that mimic gale-blown movements are rendered in different formations.

The abstraction of fluttering butterfly wings unfolded, interposed figures of fluid patterns.

“I was deeply inspired by artists Ellsworth Kelly and Josef Albers. I wanted Ken to take that sculptural aspect of their work and implement and
integrate them into beautiful, sort of wearable works of art,” she goes on.

With the dawning of a new intention far greater than profit, it seems to us now that her marriage to actor Jericho Rosales has become a big cultural gift, too.

The proof is in the elegant evidence in her words.

She recalls the first day she started her line, purchased for her own consumption, the off-camera role of her husband—and the immediate confidence it bestowed, moth holes and all.

New hair, new you. Why blonde?

I don’t know, actually. I wanted to do something unique. I wanted to do something that marks my entrance into my third decade in life. I need to do something different. I feel like it’s super cheesy, but I found my true identity in my hair. Now, I feel that my outsides match my inner being. It’s my first time. I worked with a Tresemme stylist in New York, a celebrity hairstylist. I just told him to do whatever he wanted. I don’t think I’ll go back to brunette in a while.

What is the concept behind your new company?

The Fore is a company that I recently launched. We are a few months old. We are a series of design collaborations. The name “The Fore” is an excerpt from the idiom to bring to the fore. The whole idea is to bring in independent designers, creatives, entrepreneurs to the spotlight. The Fore serves them by providing a platform. We have such amazing resources here that are exported around the world, and I want to create that one space where customers could come and find something new. These pieces are limited edition. They’re exclusive; they’re never reproduced. You get the best of
both worlds because it’s a space for collaboration, for influences to merge together.

What is your management style?

It’s difficult. I am the sole founder. I am the sole investor. I am the creative director. We have a team of about four. I honestly don’t know how I
divide it. I wake up in the morning with a to-do list, and I just do one thing at a time. I wish I had a better answer.

The progress looks good.

We are slowly expanding. It’s a lot of work; I’m not going to lie. It keeps me up most times of the night. I think the thing that really encourages me is
it’s more than just putting up our products, more than just designing a line. It’s really about this platform that helps the Philippine fashion industry.

What is the highway for this business?

The Fore is a digitally native brand. It is an e-commerce platform at heart only because the ethos of the brand is to access as many customer points as possible, as many people as possible. We have a lot of inquiries about opening a retail space; we just finished a trunk show in Manila. But I feel like the response is better if we talk to our customers one-on-one, especially with the first collection I have with Ken. It’s very tactile, tangible element. You have to be able to play with the pieces during these traveling pop-ups or trunk shows. They serve the customers better. But we also want to be part of this global shift that everything is moving online. We want to be on top of mind for shopping with new products, anything fashion and beauty, online.

What’s your inspiration behind the first collection?

The inspiration was abstract expressionism. We don’t want it to be too esoteric. I want it to be accessible to everyone, especially when understanding the goal behind it. I was deeply inspired by artists Ellsworth Kelly and Josef Albers. I wanted Ken to take that sculptural aspect of their work and implement and integrate them into beautiful, sort of wearable works of art. Ken came on board. He’s an amazing designer. He doesn’t sketch, which I think is super interesting. We wanted something sculptural. You haven’t seen these in the Philippines.

How was the design process?

I am very romanticized. I am overly romanticizing the entire process. I want these beautiful sculptural shapes and divide them into four so you can mix and match, so you can create your own art. He said relax. We need to look at the end product, and he did. He designed with a consumer in mind, and he did pick up on so many design elements that I missed in my design periphery. I was so focused on this abstract, obscure design aesthetic to make sense. He chipped away at my ideas, and he refined them. I think that’s why he created something
he has not done before; I’ve never done before, too. I think it’s beautiful.

Tell us more about it.

I don’t want to exploit any designer. The idea of this platform is to help independence. Designers don’t have to reach a certain kind of achievement or be featured in any magazine. The focus is the brand. Collaboration is not easy. People ask why I just don’t do my own beauty line. I feel like everybody has something to learn from —two heads are better than one. I am open, and again, I want to push not just the Filipino talent but independent talent within Southeast Asia as a fashion capital or
design authority

How do you choose the featured collaborator?

In dealing who we’re going to collaborate next, I don’t want to limit it with fashion designers. I do want to work with people from different spirits, whether that would be industrial design, whether that would be artists, or our customers as collaborators. It would be our goal in 2019. You have the ability as customer to create a version of your own product, sort of integrating personalization alongside any of these independent designers. That’s
the scale we’re heading to. We are trying to change the perspective of how people view the Filipino brand on a global scale.

How long is the gap between the current and the next collection?

I won’t say a number. It’s still one of the aspects we’re trying to learn from in terms of slow fashion. The Ken Samudio collection took us six months from start to finish. The succeeding collection will be available in 12 weeks.

Any possibility that you would launch your solo line?

I am never going to say never, but it’s not going to be under The Fore.

Is Jericho involved in the business?

No. But his opinion is always valued. He is not involved in the business, but he is my rock, my support. He is there when I’m crying.

Or you’re joining him in show business.

No, no, no—oh, no. I am more of a creative.

TAGS: Jones, Kim, quality, star
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