Milliner Eugenia Kim was born the first child of Korean parents who immigrated to the United States. Born into a family of doctors, this natural born Asian American girl was pressured to become one as well. After graduating Dartmouth with a degree in Psychology, Eugenia enrolled at Parsons School of Design, while also working at Allure Magazine. After designing a feathery hat in order to conceal her bad haircut, Eugenia’s business was born! Shop owners around New York’s Soho area took notice and began placing orders for the one of a kind creations.
Eugenia Kim has successfully altered the millinery landscape by making hats a staple for celebrities and for stylish women and men. I remember Eugenia Kim making a name for herself when J.Lo wore her Floppy Hat to the American Music Awards back in 2001. Other notable wearers of her hats include Tiffani-Amber Thiessen, Cameron Diaz, Madonna, Gwen Stefani, Gwyneth Paltrow, Lauryn Hill, Lindsay Lohan, Britney Spears, Kirsten Dunst, Paris Hilton and Christina Aguilera.
In 2004, Eugenia Kim won the CFDA award for Accessories Design. In 2006, she wrote a quirky how-to book entitled Saturday Night Hat. EUGENIA KIM® hats and accessories can always be found at Barneys New York, Bergdorf Goodman, Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue, and Net-a-Porter.com, as well as over 200 specialty boutiques worldwide. Her hats are a constant runway fixture every season. Some of her runway collaborations include: Diane Von Furstenberg, Michael Kors, Donna Karan, and Ralph Lauren. She has also done limited-edition collaborations for Opening Ceremony, Coach, Urban Outfitters, and Target. She is a celebrity favorite of Beyoncé, Chloe Sevigny, Madonna, Sarah Jessica Parker, Gwen Stefani, Jessica Alba, Nicole Richie, Joel Madden and Mark Ronson– just to name a few.
Kim opened her first retail store in the East Village of downtown New York in 1997. Worldwide, there are over 200 specialty boutiques carrying her fine hats and accessories. Her items are not only staples on the runway, but are coveted and in high demand among stylish men and women. From the bona fide heat of one of her classic fedoras to the sex bomb appeal of her iconic sun hats, Eugenia Kim definitely has something waiting for you that will become the apple of your eye. Kim is the first milliner to design a collection for Target.
Eugenia is in full design mode right now for Pre-Fall/Fall, but she managed to answer a few of our questions for her Asian American audience!
ASIANCE: Where do you gather inspiration for your hats year over year?
Eugenia: My design assistants and I scour the globe for inspiration- whether it is via books, art, or music. We also look at vintage designers and try to re-imagine their fashion for the modern woman.
ASIANCE: Now that you are the first milliner to design for Target, was it hard for you to design a lower priced hat?
Eugenia: The design is actually easy, keeping the cost down was the hard part! However, we found great materials and resources that allow us to cut down expenses and offer the customer another option.
She’s so quirky and inspirational! Ladies take note!
Love creative minds
ASIANCE: Is there any designer you would like to collaborate with that you haven’t? For example, you design the hats that matches his/her collection?
Eugenia: I have collaborated with so many great designers in the past- Michael Kors, Diane von Furstenberg, Ralph Lauren- that it’s so hard to choose just one designer/brand to collaborate with. I am attracted to strong personalities with a clear viewpoint.
ASIANCE: What encouraging words or recommendations do you have for guys or girls who want to do what you’re doing?
Eugenia: Keep doing what you love! Passion is definitely the strongest suit a person can have.