︎ Cherry Kim

7.27.20

Designer Cherry Kim transforms workwear into custom pieces featuring well-loved design objects.

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We are certainly living in the new age of furniture design, where design institutions like Knoll and Vitra are becoming household names among design lovers and the furniture-curious alike. I often wonder if this is partially due to the increasingly blurry line between fashion, art, and design, particularly in the world of streetwear, but I also connect it to a generalized longing to break away from the dulled aesthetic of the startup brands that has become so commonplace. Cherry Kim, a designer and stylist based in New York, explores this growing intersection through the custom pieces she creates, on which she carefully recreates images of iconic furniture designs across workwear staples. I reached out to Cherry to learn more about her work and her particular interest in the ever-expanding design world.

There seems to be a spike in general interest and curiosity toward furniture design these days. What do you think it is that magnetizes people toward this world?

I think the increased amount of time that we've all been spending at home during the pandemic has encouraged a greater appreciation of home spaces and objects that sit within that space. Personally, the idea of buying a piece of well-designed furniture that you interact with and see on a day to day basis feels like a smart investment, but at this point in my life also feels very inaccessible. The idea of drawing these objects onto something I could wear was somewhat a reaction to this - showcasing a taste level that I cannot afford (one day!).

For me, personally, furniture also feels like this perfect balance between art and function and holds so much weight in a space in the same way a hanging artwork would. I'm quite a practical person so I think I'm more inclined to invest in a beautifully designed chair than a painting.

What is your own connection to furniture design? Do you feel like there was a moment or a specific piece that hooked you?

As a young kid, I loved looking at open house listings in the paper every weekend and, on the off chance my parents would agree to take me to view one, I used to obsess at how home stagers would transform a space with furniture alone. I had a short few months where my dream job was an Interior Designer.


During the pandemic, while working, sleeping, eating from the same space, I feel like I have come to view my home space very differently. At times, it's well organised and feels spacious, while other days it feels super cramped and I need to get out of the house. I think I've rearranged my room 4-5 times in the last few months, just to refresh it a little. Over this time, I've thought a lot about home improvement a lot and how I could change up my personal space. Instagrams like @furniturearchive@donotsitonthefurniture, @newagecocaine, and @bae_aulenti inspire me and learning about furniture design, especially chair design, is an ongoing personal research project I'm pursuing.

I find hand-drawn graphics on clothing really appealing, like the corduroy pieces Bode is creating. Do you feel like hand-drawing in general is a response to something specific in the world?

This project started with me scribbling on existing clothing I owned and being quite surprised with the quality of the fabric markers and how it looked best when used on worn fabric. The sustainable practice of using second-hand garments is super important to me - I source pairs online (always a good amount of distressing and a few holes and stains) to minimise new waste. I'm hoping to go into stores physically to source in order to minimise shipping as well as potential in person hand-offs within NY soon!

It's scary how many smaller businesses have been disappearing during the pandemic and right now I'm trying to be more mindful about where I spend my money - supporting smaller brands or buying second hand. I think fast fashion feels more redundant and unsustainable as ever and curating your belongings to be long-lasting investments feels like the smart move. A personalized second-hand garment is something I would want to invest in at the moment and I think the number of people reaching out to place an order has also shown that. I spend 12-15 hours on a pair of pants and I give clients the option to have a word like their name, nickname, etc. which hopefully encourages them to not sell them off when they're sick of them and pass them down to their offspring instead!

What's next for you?

I'm currently working on the launch of my site where I plan on dropping new pants monthly! I also hope to get more pant commissions and freelance gigs in design.︎