FROM INFLUENCER TO DESIGNER
Feature photo courtesy of @ireneisgoodlabel
4 Korean American influencers who have launched their own brands
The authority that fashion and beauty magazines once held between brands and consumers no longer resembles an old guard of elite insiders and oft-dismissed outsiders. Rather, fashion consumption and even critique has been democratized by fashion bloggers and social media influencers that use their own platforms to create their own image, brand, or trend. It makes sense: clothes are what they know best, and with years of experience under their belt, they know their identity and audience. Korea has been at the forefront of many creative industries, but there have also been many Korean American bloggers and social media influencers who have blazed trails in their respective fields. From beauty to styling tips, each of these influencers have created communities and brands that are unique to their own character and experiences.
Below are some Korean American social media influencers who have since launched their own fashion collections, bringing fresh individuality to the table by staying true to their own fashion DNA and brand.
These four really need no introduction (you likely know their names already), but now you’ll know their stories too.
Chriselle Lim - Chriselle Lim Collection
Having started as a wardrobe stylist at a local luxury magazine, Korean American Chriselle Lim has become a household name in the industry. Since starting her YouTube channel in 2008 and then launching her blog, The Chriselle Factor in 2011, Lim now has a following of over 1.1 million. Viewers are drawn to her more vulnerable moments: she stares the story of her miscarriage, her daugther’s first birthday party, and other intimate parts of her family life. These behind-the-scenes videos give us snippets into her daily life as well as the balance between her personal and professional life; she truly shows that, though it may never be easy or without sacrifice, you can have it all, and on your own terms, too. Following many years of collaborations, campaigns, and modeling, Chriselle Lim established her own line, the Chriselle Lim Collection. Exclusively sold at Nordstrom, the collection launched in September 2018 with the intention of creating pieces that women would feel their best selves in. With fitted cardigans and classic suit sets, Lim’s line breathes the empowerment that she wants women to feel into these clothes. Sleek colors like maroon and neutral staples in shades of beige promise that these pieces can be easily incorporated into every woman’s wardrobe, and match the classic and timeless style that Lim herself embodies. Classic prints like stripes or polka dots also point to the same versatility, and Lim’s sophisticated style is reflected in her pieces. Whether it’s for the women working a freelance job or juggling priorities as a mother (or both, and more), Lim created her line for the working women — however she may define that for herself.
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When in london match your purse, lips, & dress to the red telephone box. Such a tourist move 🤦🏻♀️ but how good is this @dior look? Question: how many of you guys have cute outfits that you pack simply to take photos for the gram and then your real life travel looks? 🙋🏻♀️#guilty
Jenn Im - Eggie
Eggie was launched in August of 2017, but Jenn Im had been steadily building her brand and following since 2010. Her YouTube channel, Clothesencounters, initially started as a creative outlet for Im but quickly developed into one of the most popular fashion channels on YouTube due to her authenticity and warmth in her videos. It’s a combination that works: her channel has now reached about 2.4 million subscribers. From her early thrift shop days to her engagement announcement video, Im’s energy exudes through her videos, making it easy to feel like you’re simply observing a close friend. Her relationship and connection to her fans would eventually contribute to the birth of Eggie. Eggie, the Korean word for ‘baby,’ holds multiple meanings for Im: it’s an homage to her Korean heritage, her role as the youngest in her family, her YouTube subscribers who are her eggies, and the brand itself. Im also incorporates elements from her upbringing, such as the Korean national flower, mugunghwa, and the Korean melon as prints in her first collection as thoughtful tributes to her Korean heritage. Followers would also recognize her hot cheetos shirt, which Im is known for eating with chopsticks (so as to not get her hands dirty - genius), adding yet another personal detail in her designs as an easter egg for her followers. Yet, like Im, Eggie refuses to be boxed into one particular style. The label covers everything from romantic frilly dresses to baggy jumpsuits, reflecting Im’s belief that fashion should be fluid and changeable. You can be, she reminds us, whoever you want to be.
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"I used to watch Jenn's lookbooks back in 2013 when I was in middle school, so of course I was super stoked about being able to work with her and Eggie. I think she's always had a very girl-next-door style which translates really well into Eggie and my style too!" @jessyluxe on what it's like partnering with @imjennim #shopeggie #JESSYxEGGIE
Aimee Song - Song of Style
Aimee Song started blogging in 2008, but her beginnings were rooted in interior design rather than in fashion. This quickly evolved, however, and years later Song began to pursue her blog, Song of Style, full time. One of the earliest bloggers, Song’s chic style caught the eyes of many. Since then, she has garnered 5.4 million followers on Instagram, partnered with some of the biggest brands in the industry, and launched her own Youtube space as well. It was no surprise, then, when Song announced her collaboration with Revolve to design her own line of clothing named after her blog. Launched in May 2018, it was the first time Revolve has used an influencer to front an in-house brand, something that no doubt blossomed out of their seven-year relationship with Song. It seemed a natural evolution, as Song’s connection to Revolve on both a personal and professional level was what cemented this label. After 10 years of blogging, Song felt that she knew her audience and viewers well enough to translate who the Song of Style girl is. With inspiration from women like Samantha Jones and Amal Clooney, Song wished to create clothes that were sexy and empowering but wearable and comfortable —true to herself and her audience. Song’s first collection featured everything from blazer sets to wrap dresses, as well as the popular two-tone fruit print top that immediately sold out. The print has continued to make its way into Song’s designs in blazer-and-pant suit sets or skirts. Each piece, patterned or not, rings true of Song’s desire to create comfortable but chic clothes for the working woman. I mean, can’t you imagine Samantha Jones wearing the lavender short suit set, or perhaps the playful two-tone fruit set?
Irene Kim - IRENEISGOOD
Irene Kim began to explore careers in modeling and television hosting in Korea after graduating from New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology —a late start for a typically youth-oriented industry. Not that this prevented her from captivating audiences and brands with her colorful style and personality, as she quickly began to gain traction both on the runway and online. Her hair color, which seems to change every month, became a signature way to instantly recognize Kim. Her bright personality naturally translated into her own label, IRENEISGOOD (aptly named after her social media moniker). With a following of 1.6 million that continues to grow, she has expanded her brand with an embedded intention to spread positivity. The label was founded on her belief that the world could use more positivity, love, and encouragement, and Kim seeks to use her platform to empower people to stay true to themselves and embrace their individuality. In June 2018, the label launched with pop-ups in both Shanghai and Seoul, debuting colorful tote bags, scrunchies, and sleep masks. The playful vibes that Kim wishes to convey to her audience have since expanded to include brightly colored hoodies, catchy t-shirts, and fuzzy camo teddy bear jackets. Much like her bright and bold hair colors, IRENEISGOOD offers the same vibrancy and energy as Kim does. Even iPhone cases and stickers offer the same brightness, even bringing in unicorn icons as a nod to Kim’s colorful unicorn hair that contributed to her rise to fame. The positivity truly vibrates through each of Kim’s pieces, whether it’s a cropped t-shirt or cap.