Whether it's Zen monks, The Lost Boys, or Dostoyevski's Crime and Punishment, designer Siki Im always has a knack for mixing street- and book-smart references, and re-invent the way we dress along the way. For his latest spring output, Im forewent the traditional runway format at Men's Fashion Week and showed his designs in a minimalist setting on top of a Tribeca high-rise. His spiritual, no-frills approach to menswear, pairing technical athletic pieces, classic tailoring, and fine Japanese fabrics, recalls Comme Des Garcons' early collections, and has The New York Times paying close attention. Are you? Here, we get to know Im better.
OUT: How did you get into menswear?
Siki Im: I studied architecture at Oxford University, in England. After being an architect, I was designer for Helmut Lang and Karl Lagerfeld.
Why did you move to New York? How does the city influence your creativity compared to the other places where you've lived?
Growing up in Germany, I was into skateboarding, hardcore punk music, and hip hop, so my dream was to live in New York. The city is full of hope and individuality. The streets here are a museum.
You have a very intellectual approach to design (your past collections had references to Dostoevsky and Italo Calvino, and you quote Michel Foucault on your website.) Do you think fashion needs to be smart to work?
Not at all. I just like reading. These writers have influenced me a lot, hence it influences my work, and anything I do and create.
What are your current obsessions in literature and art?
I'm reading many books at once, always. Right now: George Saunders, Milan Kundera, Thomas Merton, Pea Chodron.
If you could summarize your style in one sentence, what would it be?
Quiet but strong.
What's the ultimate fashion faux-pas for a man, according to you?
Trying too hard, and bad shoes.
Click here to see Siki Im's Spring-Summer 2017 collection.