In the run-up to Women’s Month, we celebrate one of our favourite designers Kim Gush and catch-up with her in her recently launched innovative design studio come avant garde retail concept store in Salt River and find out a little more about the woman behind the Kim/Gush curtain.
What is your design process/curation process when thinking about a new collection?
I have this book I carry around with me that has random scribbles and notes (often gibberish) which are like my ever growing collection. Along with thousands of middle of the night voice notes, these all tend to guide what I do next which is an evolution from previous work. I like my collections to transition effortlessly into each other. I am surprisingly a words person over a visual person – there’s very little evidence of a collection development – the closest you will come to visuals are my tech packs, and that’s only because they’re essential.
What made you choose Woodstock for your store location? How long did it take before you settled on a location?
We’ve based our open studio/shop in the centre of our resource hub, in the heart of Cape Town’s garment industry. Everyone we do business with, we can take a walk down the road to – it’s like doing business with neighbours. There’s a sense of community about it, and everyone is supporting and helping each other out where they can.
We’ve never been a brand that fits in anywhere here in Cape Town – we are the kid in high school that ate lunch under the stairs, out of the sunlight. While there are more swoon-worthy locations out there, we’ve started small, in a space where we can develop slowly alongside some amazing artists – for us, it’s looking across at the horned jewellery from York Vrvo and tattoo artists opposite our store.
In the perfect world, who would be the one person that would come through your doors?
Noodle from Gorillaz, or Björk. I think they might actually be the same life giving entity.
If you had a Kim Gush perfume, what would you describe it as being?
Clean, uncomplicated, unusual. Something along the lines of soft citrus on a tarmac freshly wet by rain
In your own words, describe the new store.
It contains elements from previous collections – so it’s really home and somewhat nostalgic to me. It’s dark, clean, minimal yet still intriguing in small details.
What is the perfect weekend for you (when you switch off from work mode)?
Good food, better company and the best hounds (Kim’s IG timeline is filled with images of Chibi, her companion Pug). Did I mention good food? Just some time where I don’t have to adult and [be allowed] eat cake for breakfast.
Explain your supply chain model typically for a Kim Gush collection … sourcing materials, finishings, etc.
Optimism, panic, panic, panic, hustle, panic, realism, panic, pessimism. In that order. I usually know the exact textile I want to work with, so sourcing this and confirming sufficient supply is my go to. Same goes for finishings, etc. – I’ve learnt to start in that order before even getting down to finalising designs in order to save on time and to waste as little of it as possible because we work so close to seasonal launches and 1 hour is worth a day to me.
Due to our exclusive limited runs, manufacturing has become a challenge, so we are trying to still iron out the kinks there. Luckily the shop being the only stockist of the line, we can make products on a whim, literally offering our clientele something new every time they walk into our shop.
What advice would you give ‘Kim Gush’ five years ago at Elizabeth Galloway school?
Do even more. Live your brand the day you decide to start studying fashion design – the sooner you can get your business off-the-ground, the better. There’s all the assistance in the world available to you while you’re still studying, you can have a solid foundation business up and operational by the time you graduate.
Favourite place to hang out when not working?
If I didn’t get involved in fashion, I’d probably be a chef. So I tend to spend any time off I have eating/making food. I like to hang out at some good-vibe spots, such as House of H or San Julian. They both make me happy. It’s always a bonus if I can tag my dogs along.
One place that you would redeem an all-expense paid ticket for and why?
Japan, hands down. All of it.