Kim Mackin is a creative designer and tailor. She is a native Californian who has an interest in music and science. Within three years she produced five RTW collections under the nom de plum MAN KIM. All the while cultivating an expansive tailoring career working closely with such talent as Paul McCartney, Florence and the Machine, and Zella Day. However, environmental concerns have redirected the designer to a different course; permaculture farming and renewable energy sourcing. We always love a mysterious and talented woman. Learn about her as she frolics around in Jiyu goods.....
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in the San Joaquin Valley of California. I’m from a small farming town that is still struggling since the 1940’s. It’s the 'bread basket' of California, America even. Recently, it’s been reported by NASA that the land is sinking from heavy groundwater pumping. This and other information about our planet and it's state has led me further away from producing objects for consumption. I want to redirect my energy to making some sort of difference no matter how insurmountable it may seem.
How did you become such a great tailor so young?
I began sewing at a very young age and have been for 23 years. I’ve been consistently working on this skill that it’s become my profession. When you do something for so many years you get this entranced rhythmic flow where you can access different parts of your mind. My favorite thing about it is the problem solving. I can look at a complex garment without looking from the inside and deconstruct it and reconstruct it in my mind. My mind works like that always; not just with clothing but everything. I contemplate the construction of most things, natural and artficial.
Tell me about Man Kim?
Man Kim is really an experiment and still how I look at it today. After producing so many other projects I wanted to see what my imagination could come up with on my own. I really saw it as an artistic expression more then anything. However, I was very business about it; I set up the company in a very official manner and pedaled my wares in New York and Paris trying to break in as a fashion designer. The company had a very different approach then most. Everything was made in the USA. We were custom dying and silk screening our fabrics as well as creating custom trim from scratch. On top of all that, hand finishing items with couture techniques. It all ends up being too expensive for an up and coming designer. We tested the waters to see how people would respond but we found we were too much of a risk to buyers. If I really wanted to make it in the industry, I would have started with a basics line and cranked out a bunch of stuff, but that’s not what I’m about.
I hear you want to be a farmer now?
Yes, it’s true. I’m searching for my true purpose so that I can find a deeper happiness. I know it has to do with a humanitarian effort as well as my obsession with botany and science.
Explain your intriguing tattoo?
Yes, the line. I get comments on it anytime it’s exposed. It’s inspired by a tailor tape measure. Though it’s become more symbolic to me over the years. I get a sense of a banded protection from it.
What’s your musical talent?
Listening mostly. haha! I sing but I’ve picked up the guitar and taking a plunge in the world of synths. When my artistic expression of making clothing became my profession I had to find another way to express the more subconscious part of my mind. It’s relaxing to me, like painting. I’m interested in creating music that focuses on the space between the notes.
Will you ever do another line?
I definitely have one more collection in me. I want it to be the most lucid and hypnotic thing I’ve ever made. It’s going to be 50 pieces, all one of a kind, things you’ve never seen. Everything will be hand made in the USA. Prices from $5- $50,000. I want it to address and evoke political, economic, and cultural conversation.