We continue with our profiles, Reporting from Asia, with Aaron Kim, men’s buyer for BEAKER. The multi-brand concept store has two flagships in Seoul, South Korea; in Gangnam and Itaewon. Medium Concepts’ Paul Conrad conducted the interview.
1. What is fashion to South Korea?
Fashion is no longer about wearing great clothes or following trends in Korea. Fashion in Korea is now “a culture.” Fashion is used as tools to share lifestyles and even increase social awareness, as in the case of our newest Beaker Hannam store.
Under the direction of the creative director KUHO, the Hannam store was designed with an environmentally friendly concept that served as the guiding principle in its architecture, interior design, and furniture. This is why the store’s facade was built using reclaimed construction refuse from buildings that were stripped down in the Seoul metropolitan area.
2. Aaron, how did you end up in the role you are in today? Please briefly give me a background of your journey to now.
I majored in business yet loved fashion, so I decided to focus on a career that would allow room for both. After researching immensely, I saw getting into buying could be a great place to utilize my skills. My first challenge was moving to NY, where I studied Fashion Merchandising Management at Fashion Institute of Technology, SUNY.
Upon finishing I worked as a buyer in US for a select shop called “Against All Odds,” where I handled Lacoste, Levi’s, LRG, The Hundreds, Burton, North Face, etc, when street & urban brands were really riding the wave.
Shortly after, I went back to Korea and started working for a major corporation that handled GAP and then Banana Republic, ironically a complete opposite to my devotion at “Against All Odds”.
This lead to my current job, with Samsung Cheil industries, where I handle the mens buying for Beaker.
3. What is the concept/DNA of Beaker?
Reminiscent of glassware found in a laboratory, BEAKER reflects the brand’s desire to mix contemporary fashion and lifestyle into a perfect blend. It’s a “one-stop shopping experience” We showcase a cafe, bookstore, stationery, cosmetics, along with=fashion brands. No matter what piques your interest, you will find something here.