In our Fall 2009 issue, we reported that the indie line Graey finally expanded its collection of must-have lace tops and leggings (way before leggings became de rigeur) to include drool-worthy, colorblocked dresses. Here, we pick the brain behind the genius collection, Janet Kim, for some styling tips.
Janet Kim and her brother.
Audrey Magazine: How’d you come up with the name Graey?
Janet Kim: I wanted a name that was distinctive yet free of associations — something neutral. It took a while to come up with the name.
AM: What inspires your designs?
JK: I strive to create beautiful garments. The craft of fashion inspires me.
AM: What’s an average day like and how does that affect your fashion choices?
JK: When you run your own business there is no average day. Sometimes I spend a large part of my day at home, doing emails, designing, making patterns, etc. But often I’m running around meeting with buyers or editors, visiting factories or boutiques, or running errands.
Music is a big part of my life — lately I’ve been playing violin at a lot of shows with friends who are in bands or doing solo stuff. I generally dress for comfort when I work since it sucks to have to run up and down subway steps in uncomfortable shoes or clothes. When I play shows, I tend to dress up a little.
AM: How would you describe your personal style?
JK: When I’m working from home or don’t have any important meetings, I generally dress more casually — jeans and a tee or tank and a cardigan or jacket because I always feel so cold when they jack up the A/C indoors. When I go out and I have time, I like to play around with my wardrobe choices. Sometimes I wear pieces from my own line, other times I wear thrift store finds or pieces from other independent designers.
AM: What are your favorite pieces in your wardrobe?
JK: I have a bustier I made while in school in Paris that I love — it is made of this sparkly gold Swarovski fabric that I dress down with a pair of jeans. I also love wearing lace leggings (see above) from my own line. I have a few different pairs — they are leggings with lace cutouts. They add a punch to simple dresses, tunics or tops.
AM: How do you wear your own designs?
JK: I usually play with ideas that I come up with my friend Diana Huang, who helps me style shoots. We don’t do anything too crazy, but we’ll find cool tights or accessories to add some punch to the pieces. Usually it’s stuff I find on the cheap at a place like Strawberry, and costume jewelry. I am a pretty low-maintenance girl so I try to avoid getting into situations where I’ll be uncomfortable or susceptible to wardrobe malfunctions. I also try to buy a few cool pairs of shoes each season to spice things up.
AM: What will your next fashion purchase for fall be?
JK: I’ve been meaning to buy wedges. I have these awesome wide-legged jeans that look great with heels, which I generally don’t wear too often because I’m fairly tall and they can be uncomfortable. Anyway, I was never a huge fan of wedges, but the other day I saw a girl with a cute pair.
AM: Bags, shoes or jewelry?
JK: Probably shoes. I tend to carry the same couple of bags all the time, and I usually don’t stray too much from the standard pieces of jewelry I wear all the time. With jewelry I’m drawn to big clunky pieces but I end up taking them off after a while because they are so heavy. However, there are always different styles of shoes I’d like to try.
AM: Any fashion secrets that you rely on to look good?
JK: When I see something on someone else that I like, I’m never shy about asking them where she got it, even a total stranger on the street! It’s important to also be aware of what looks good on your figure. I’m fairly curvy, so I’ve found that fitted pieces are more flattering on me, generally. It takes experimentation to find the right combination of clothes and accessories, and I’m always looking on the street and in magazines for new ideas. Confidence is a big part of it — even if you are mimicking a look, it’s important to really own it, or you’ll just look dressed up rather than dressed well.
Shop it at www.GraeyNY.com.
Photos courtesy of Graey.