Kim Shui Discusses Her Eponymous Label, Wide-Ranging Inspirations and More on 'Business of HYPE' with Angelo Baque

Shui shares stories about her unique upbringing and the power of turning weaknesses into strengths throughout the wide-ranging conversation.

Business of HYPE
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Kim Shui isn’t afraid to make a statement. The web tagline for her eponymous Kim Shui label, founded in 2016, encourages shoppers to “radiate style,” and the goods the label produces — think her famous “dragon dress,” cut-out brocade mini dresses, laced-up trousers and even a unique take on ready-to-wear Western wear that pulls from her Asian heritage — are boldly beautiful and unapologetic. “[Kim] definitely has out-dressed me today,” host Angelo Baque quips at the beginning of Shui’s Business of HYPE episode. “I need to reconsider my whole wardrobe!”

Recorded shortly before Shui sent her label’s Fall 24 ready-to-wear collection down the runway at New York Fashion Week, the conversation between Baque and Shui covers a wide variety of topics — fittingly, as Shui was born in New York City, lived in Rome, and spent time in both Paris and London as well. Her clothes pull influence from each part of her background and have found favor with A-listers like SZA and Dua Lipa.

Growing up, Shui’s parents weren’t initially keen on her pursuing fashion as a career (though she now names her father as one her biggest inspirations). Like many immigrant parents, they wanted her to find a solid job in a “respectable” field that would ensure their trials and tribulations coming to and living in America paid off with greater opportunities for the next generation of their family. However, even as a child, Shui always marched to the beat of her own drum. “Today, I’ve grown to be comfortable being uncomfortable,” she says, noting that she went to college to study economics and even considered trying to enter the field of medicine before deciding to go all-in on fashion. “Growing up, I was always in situations where I wasn’t like the people around me — but instead of making that into a weakness, it became my strength.”

Shui and Baque also discuss her design process and how it draws from both her cultural heritage and upbringing. “Sometimes it’s more obvious, sometimes less,” she muses. “Sometimes a shape will remind me of something in Italy, sometimes something will remind me of a Chinese motif. Sometimes a piece will be inspired by the energy of New York, but make use of Chinese or Italian fabrics.”

And towards the end of the conversation, Shui notes the importance of — and how much you can learn from — immersing yourself in your peer group. “Asking peers you respect how they went about doing what they did is my mentorship journey,” she says, “Sometimes it’s made to seem if [only a finite number of people] can be successful. But I think there’s space for as many different types of people as possible. It’s just how you express [yourself] and how it comes across in a genuine way.”

Stream the full episode above, or check it out on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and other major podcast platforms. Past episodes with Tremaine Emory, MSCHF co-founders Kevin Wiesner and Lukas Bentel and Sage Elsesser are available as well. Expect future episodes to roll out weekly.

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