Kwantlen student designing fashion for eco-friendly niche
Animal-friendly, eco-friendly, vegan and sustainable are all words Kwantlen University fashion student and Burnaby resident Nam Hee Kim uses to describe her fashion line VEO.
After all, Hee Kim’s kind nature is echoed through her designs.
“If you’re not willing to eat the animals, then how can you possibly think of wearing them?” said Hee Kim.
Although she is not a vegan or vegetarian (she rarely eats meat though), many of her friends are.
Those friends would complain about the lack of variety in vegan-friendly clothing, so she decided to do some research by going to vegetarian and vegan hotspots around the Lower Mainland.
She heard the same complaints from others: the vegan-friendly clothing niche is under-served by the fashion industry.
“There are some choices in vegan clothing but they are very hippie-like, they’re made out of hemp and not very stylish,” she said. “I’ve designed some professional drab.”
Her collection is more difficult to make because she can only use sustainable materials such as organic cotton and denim, hemp and pendel.
However, coming from a family who immigrated to Hope from Korea, she is no stranger to the extra hard work.
Hee Kim lived in Hope until she finished her one-year diploma in fashion.
After realizing she had a real passion for fashion, she decided to continue her education at Kwantlen.
“Fashion is something I like to do, it being hard and stressful isn’t a big deal for me because it’s what I want,” she said.
Hee Kim hopes to work for Lululemon, a company which she says shares her values.
Either that, or she will take a risk and move to New York City for six months to gain experience.
Hee Kim showcased her designs along with 32 other student designers at the SHOW on Tuesday at the River Rock Show Theatre.