One might assume that if you come from a long line of doctors in the family, you’d want to follow in their footsteps. But for renowned hat designer Eugenia Kim, it was a bad haircut that inspired the once Psychology graduate to design hats instead.According to an interview with La Petite Anglaise Magazine, Eugenia Kim expressed that, “I wore these (feathery hats) all over downtown New York City in the late 90s and store owners immediately took notice and wanted to know who made these unique looking pieces and where could they buy them. I didn’t have an actual business started yet, but it was at this point that I began one out of my apartment and decided this was my passion and it was going to be my future.”
Kim worked at Allure Magazine and attending Parsons School of Design part time. She acquired many compliments on her designs from various store owners as well including actress Parker Posey who owned Bond 07. After Kim showed Posey more of her collection, the discovery lead to an opportunity to market them. Barneys New York became an avid buyer of her collection which prompted the fashioner to go into business. Kim’s advice for those aspiring to debut their own stamp? Kim also quoted in La Petite Anglaise,”Work hard. Get your hands dirty. Get involved in every aspect of your business. And when people discourage you, or say ‘no,’ keep moving forward and work even harder.”
Her own instincts and advice seemed to have paid off as her first store was launched in NYC’s East Village in 1997. The retail shop was a collaborative effort with the help of photographer David LaChapelle. Currently, after 20 years of success, Kim’s hat collection can be found at Nieman Marcus and Berdorf Goodman just to name a few. Her modern designs are worn on the heads of some the most well known actresses such as Dakota Fanning, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Drew Barrymore.
The skilled designer admits to not being able to draw which is why she relies on Microsoft Excel for new ideas. Over the past decade, Kim has also catapulted a shoe line, a book, Saturday Night Hat: Quick, Easy Hatmaking for the Downtown Girl, and has worked with Coach.