Corinne Collection was one of the very first independently designed clothing companies I started incorporating into the shop and will always be a real favorite of mine. The designs are minimal yet unique and the fabrics are both sustainable and comfy. Every single piece of clothing from Corinne Collection is thoughtfully designed and handcrafted by Susan Kim in her small Los Angeles studio.
This week in the 'Getting to Know the Makers' series Susan was kind enough to step away from her busy workload and answer a few questions for us.
1. What inspired you to start Corinne Collection?
I owned a fast-fashion factory before I started Corinne. During this time I saw the industry transform to accommodate consumers wants for cheaper and cheaper products. Manufacturers could only give me prices per piece that were comparable to products made in Mexico and China where laborer's wages were much lower. I knew there had to be people who cared about where their products were made and would pay a little more for an “ethical brand” so I started my small, slow and sustainable clothing line 'Corinne Collection'.
2. When and how did you learn to sew?
I first took an evening sewing class while working full time near a community college. There we worked with home sewing machines which I learned later are entirely different from industrial machines. I learned how to use industrial machines when I owned the factory in Los Angeles because I always wanted to be the kind of owner who knew how to work everything. Single needle machines and overlock machines were fairly easy to understand but it took me about a year to learn how to use a coverstitch machine (even at the fast-fashion factory it was difficult to find a good coverstitch operator because it was a highly valued skill).
3. How has your work evolved with time and what do you see for the future of your shop?
When I first launched my collection, I did a lot of draping and created a hodgepodge of designs I thought might work. Over time, I started to understand who my customer was and the direction I wanted to take Corinne. With every new collection I feel like I evolve as a designer and become more confident. With this growth I started to introduce bolder colors (like the Golden Dust I used for FW17). I’m always thinking of ways to improve the brand and am hoping to create a collection that every female can wear everyday and to eventually introduce styles that don’t have stretch in it — Corinne is currently all knitwear.
4. I can't get over how soft and comfortable your clothing collection is. How do you select the materials you use for your designs?
My one rule of thumb is to find fabrics that are soft because I really dislike wearing itchy things — I believe you don’t need to sacrifice comfort for fashion.
5. Can you define what 'slow fashion' means to you?
In slow fashion clothing can be made anywhere in the world but the company or brand needs to provide good working conditions for its laborers and fabric that isn’t made with harmful chemicals. As a designer, slow fashion means creating styles that are timeless so that consumers can wear them forever or until it’s unwearable because they wore it too much.