Artist Spotlight: Jennifer Kim
1. First introduce yourself: what you do and where you’re from..
My name is Jennifer Kim and I’m the designer behind Behavior LA. I am a native Angeleno! I was raised in the San Fernando Valley, went to college at UCLA, got my fashion degree at Parsons in New York, and returned to LA upon graduation. I love being a part of the city and living in it as it evolved. There is so much depth to Los Angeles in terms of culture, more than people sometimes care to acknowledge. It’s definitely a place that is supportive of small businesses and communities, compared to other large cities. I feel lucky to be able to live and do business here.
2. How long have you been designing shoes?
So before I started my shoe line, I designed apparel for a few corporate fashion brands. I did this for eight years and got burnt out. Along the way, I did meet some amazing people and gained valuable experience in the development and production aspect of things, so its not something that I regret. However, in terms of creativity, I got lost and I wasn’t comfortable designing for someone else’s vision. Ultimately, I also wanted to design with a more personal moral compass after seeing firsthand the amount of waste many companies go through. I’ve always loved footwear so I started doing research, and got into the weeds of development with some talented footwear artisans. It was a lot of work but it refueled my creative energy. I’ve been designing shoes for over 2 years now.
3. What inspires your collection?
My business ethos is rooted in sustainability. So the materials that I choose will always nod back to what is most natural, or least harmful to our environment. In terms of design, I am inspired by minimalism, artfulness, and architecture. I love playing with certain juxtapositions such as balance and asymmetry, masculinity and femininity.
4. What is the hardest part of being a shoe designer?
There is no one size fits all model. It’s about constantly evolving and perfecting things.
5. What is the meaning behind your brand name and what does it represent Behavior LA?
I initially fell in love with the word ‘behavior’ because of its definition: "the way something moves, functions, or reacts.“ There is a sense of intimacy and romance in knowing someone’s special quirks and behavior. For example, the way someone blinks when caught off guard, the way someone fidgets when they’re nervous, the way someone walks when they are happy. To me, it’s just knowing someone’s idiosyncrasies which I think is really special.
6. What is your favorite style from your collection and why?
I have a couple. So for this current collection, it would be the Anya, because they are so versatile and chic. From my first collection, I will always love my Ophelie’s because they’ve been like a loyal companion. I still have my first pair from season 1 and they’re going strong.
7. What are your go-to denim styles and why?
I usually find myself gravitating towards everything cropped, tapered, and high waisted. However, I am currently 4 months pregnant and since my belly is growing I am loving the boyfriend cut!
8. What is one piece of advice to give fashion design students?
Design with a sense of purpose and make sure you really, really love what you’re doing because it’s a lot of work!