Eager to pay homage to her Filipino and Korean heritage, 20-year-old Hanvi Kim breathes new life into traditional Filipino wear, using hanbok, the Korean national dress, and Philippine terno.
The young designer’s collection highlights traditional and indigenous fabrics like pinukpok or abaca fiber, a popular product in her province of Albay.
She also employs Korean silk, the material used for making hanbok.
Interesting symbolisms appear in her pieces, too, from hand-painted Korean characters and the precolonial Philippine baybayin, to cherry blossoms that drape over the female form.
“Being in the fashion industry is a childhood dream that I never knew was possible,” says Kim, who remembers sketching croquis (quick drawings of a live model) in her grade school days.
Her flair for fashion developed when she became a fan of “That’s So Raven,” an American supernatural sitcom that revolves around Raven Baxter, a not-so-typical girl who loves fashion and designs her own clothing.
Having binge-watched all of its episodes, Kim gradually fell in love with the process of creating timeless apparel.
Kim describes herself as a meticulous designer whose goal is producing clean threadwork and making sure that the outcome leaves people in awe.
The rising fashion designer has a wide array of style icons—the symphonic metal band Nightwish, British designer Alexander McQueen, and Filipino designer Michael Cinco, whose beadwork and lace designs, she says, are so next level.
“Fashion helped me find my true identity as a person,” she says. “It taught me to be patient and to not easily give up on my dreams. I have to take risks and bear in mind that I can’t please everyone.”
Kim, who got her looks from her Korean father, grew up in the Philippines, her mother’s country.
“I needed to study both Filipino and Korean cultures since I travel back and forth between Korea and the Philippines,” she explains. “By learning to adjust, my life has become easier.”
This unique upbringing has inspired her to merge the two cultures she was raised in and reinvent Filipino fashion at the same time.
For now, Kim hints at launching her own clothing line and joining Korean Fashion Week. With local celebrities’ stylists starting to notice her works, one can only imagine the promising future in fashion that awaits her, here and abroad.
PHOTOGRAPHY MIGUEL ALOMAJAN STYLING LUIS CARLO SAN JUAN MAKEUP THERESA PADIN HAIRSTYLE MONG AMADO MODEL HANNAH LOCSIN