KIM JONES X KEN SAMUDIO
Kim Jones + Ken Samudio discuss the process and the heart behind the first collaboration of it's kind for The Fore.
Where did the idea for this collaboration stem from?
Kim: The idea of this platform had been around for awhile and when I thought of who should be involved in the first collaboration of THE FORE I really wanted to work with someone who had a clear design aesthetic and direction. Ken Samudio has been praised for his designs all around the world and has such a deep understanding of his product and his brand ethos. I was so fascinated by his background in marine biology and how those experiences translate into accessories.
Ken: We instantly connected and I guess I am one of the few people who gets her “Australian” humour. When she proposed to collaborate via The Fore, I always knew that this girl is the answer to all the emerging creative’s prayers. I believed she can use her popularity and clout to help these young, fledgling designers to get local and international recognition.
Where did you both find inspiration for the pieces?
Kim: The pieces were inspired by some of my favourite artists; Albers, Kelly, Arp, Twombly. I was so inspired by gallery spaces; one of the few places where you can really switch off, stand in front of a beautiful creation and truly imbibe and consume what you see. More often than not, when you’re in a gallery or a museum, your phone is put aside and it’s a truly visceral and personal experience. It’s quiet, intentional and thoughtful, as I believe consumption in the fashion world should be.
Ken: I don’t draw. I don’t sketch but I am an admirer of beautiful things and a beautiful mind. Kim knew exactly what she wanted right from the start and I just let her explore. The acrylic cellulose idea was born out of a wanting to create something artful from a mundane material. The irony, which is always present in my own collections played a huge part in the realization of the collection. Although the material and technique is totally new to me, I knew we were up to something amazing.
What were the challenges you experienced during the collaboration?
Kim: I’m a Leo. I need not say more.
Ken: I am used to making pieces by my own hand, by my own team. The collection that we came up with was totally foreign to me. I am used to working alone, as most creatives, I have my moods, my mental blocks and my own pacings. But working on a totally tight deadline was indeed challenging.
What was the process of collaboration like?
Kim: Like any merging of parties it can be tough, which I really appreciate and is still such an eye-opening and humbling experience. I can be so laser-focused that oftentimes it’s easy for me to miss design options. Ken really sees design as an end product and I learned so much from him. He’s practical, always designing with his customer in mind, but so experimental that he leaves no stone unturned.
What is the purpose of this collaboration?
Kim: The name The Fore is an excerpt from the idiom ‘to bring to the fore’, to highlight and bring to the front. It goes without saying how cacophonous the digital world is and how many voices demand our attention. The idea of The Fore has existed in my mind for at least five years now and it has constantly shape-shifted and evolved to become what it is today. I wanted it to feel quiet and purposeful. I wanted to highlight these designers with whom I have a personal relationship or I have admired from afar. This merging with Ken felt like a natural progression and it’s been both challenging and enlightening to simultaneously witness both the dichotomies and similitudes present in the art of collaboration.
Ken: The purpose of the collaboration is to bring humanness to the platform. When Kim proposed and explained to me her vision for The Fore, I was filled with utter delight as this can be the beacon of hope for all the emerging designers who are talented but financially-challenged, great visionaries but with poor business acumen.
This collaboration highlights the soul and craftsmanship of slow, thoughtful creative process. The intricacy of it all, the process it went through. I want the consumer to view the product as a fruition of dedication and authentic craftsmanship and not just a work of hype, branding or marketing. I envision The Fore to make that difference, to strike an emotional chord not with the material’s intrinsic value but by the process and thought it went through.
What was your favorite part of the collaboration?
Kim: My favourite part of any collaboration is the creative brainstorming and conceptualising. When you’re brainstorming the creativity is limitless. When you add an extra brain as rich in design knowledge as Ken’s it’s so enlightening. The beautiful thing about collaboration is that it can assume a variety of different identities. When the core focus is on collaboration the creative freedom is limitless.
Ken: The exchanging of vibrant ideas over dinner.
What do you want people to know about this collection?
Kim: You get FOUR pieces with each purchase. We call the hero pieces the PRIMARY designs and the smaller designs FORMS. You can wear them asymmetrically or you can wear either of the pairs together OR you can attach the FORM to the PRIMARY to create your own wearable artwork. You can see the shapes they take on when you build them and play with them. During the production phase we even built a hybrid of a necklace and an earring just for fun. We named it the earlace.
What is one thing about Ken Samudio people don’t yet know?
Kim: He’s so mysterious. In all the years of working in the industry, I’d never met him. We’d never crossed paths and I’d never even seen him. I call him THE elusive Ken Samudio, of course, that piqued my curiosity and it’s still one of my favourite things about him in a world where we can all get caught up in a web of self-promotion. He lets his work speak for itself and I admire that so greatly. (He also doesn’t like sharp edges in his designs, hence the curves.)