New York-Based Designer Siki Im Talks Creative Vision Shedding Light On Life In NYC

Gaining a following and an understanding for the field working for designers like Karl Lagerfeld and Helmut Lang, the New York-based, Berlin-born creative is making waves across the fashion industry with his cutting edge designs and new-found silhouettes. Starting the label in 2009, he welds his background in architecture with his love for streetwear bringing his classic, yet, modern tailoring to the forefront of fashion with the ultimate “vision of proposing a fresh, new perspective on menswear.”

1.) You got your start in fashion working as a senior designer for both Karl Lagerfeld and Helmut Lang. Tell us about the experience. What was the most important thing you learned from each of them?

Both houses have a strong DNA and aesthetic. But equally important is the business and backend part. I have learned by designing for these brands that art and commerce go hand in hand.

2.) Your educational background is in architecture. Why choose fashion?

It was accidental. I never ended my architecture career, though. I had the opportunity to try out a different genre. So fashion chose me maybe. 

3.) You’ve said your “vision is to propose a fresh, new perspective on menswear.” How does that translate into designing your collections?

We’re not a young designer brand anymore. When I started 8 years ago, the menswear landscape was very different and boring. I would like to say that we maybe helped to push the boundaries of what a man should wear by introducing new silhouettes and concepts and context.

4.) In addition to Siki Im, you’ve launched Siki Im Cross and Den Im as well. What’s the difference between them and how do they all work together?

DEN IM is an extension of SIKI IM. It has more casual or simpler clothes like cool chinos, sweatshirts and t-shirts with a twist. Our new line SIKI IM CROSS is a high performance line. It’s technical sportswear for the active nerd and poetic jock. 

5.) You grew up in Germany. How did you end up in New York? How does the city influence your designs?

It was always my dream to live in NYC. It’s a very dynamic and diverse city. It’s chic, but not traditional. It’s sporty, but not LA. 

6.) Given that you’ve lived and studied abroad, you must have an international perspective on life and fashion. Give us some insight into how the fashion culture and menswear from New York differs from that of menswear in Germany?

Mainly because of shear size. But geopolitically, they are so different as well. Germany is still a very homogeneous country, apart from Berlin, and so small in comparison to the states. NY and USA is a very young country built with no renaissance and rokoko. In NYC, you can wear and be anything and no one would care. 

7.) Tell us about the inspiration behind your latest collection. Then, please describe your creative style in three (3) words.

The latest collection is based on when I was studying in Oxford and going to drum and bass clubs. 
It is important that each collection is quiet but strong.

8.) Do you think fashion and menswear designers have a social responsibility? What are your favorite causes?

I think every designer has, and should have, a different method and outcome of his/her/design. One might be more socially active than the other, but fashion is a great vehicle to express one’s belief. But we need to be careful that it doesn’t become a marketing social media trick. 

9.) How can we stay up to date with the brand? Where can we find your clothes?

Our clothes are sold worldwide. Follow us on Instagram

10.) What’s next for you as a designer?

To make you feel happy and strange. 

Kyle Johnson

Kyle Johnson is a writer, web designer and former senior editor for ODDA magazine, a glossy 500+ page high fashion magazine. In addition to his work for ODDA, he is also a freelance writer for LAB A4 and a creative director for various projects across various industries where he specializes in branding, identity and visual strategy. He is also the founding editor of PLOY.

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