Sydney’s very own up and coming sports luxe designer Kumi Xu has had quite an enigmatic presence in her public journey of building her namesake label. We had a chat with her today about herself, her inspirations and favourite pieces in her collection.
When did you know you wanted to be a fashion designer?
My love for fashion design started whilst studying Fashion and Textiles design as an elective in Years 11 and 12. I went on to study at the University of Sydney - graduating with a Bachelor in Socio-Legal Studies in 2012. I enjoyed the course and was fascinated by the studies but at the end of 3 years, I still wanted to do something in fashion.
In 2011 I applied for an internship at an Australian Designer label so I could immerse myself in the fashion industry while still studying. It was a great experience as I had the opportunity to participate hands-on, alongside designers, pattern makers, manufacturers and their dispatch team. It gave me insight on how the industry worked and the processes that came with creating a collection. Prior to this internship I had no knowledge of fashion design, pattern making or anything really regarding to how the fashion industry operated besides what I learnt at school- this internship reignited my desire to continue with fashion so I made the decision to study further.
In 2013 I attended UTS and studied fashion and textile design, graduating with a Bachelor in Fashion and Textiles Design in 2015. I definitely enjoyed my time here more, and knew I wanted to have my own label one day.
During these studies I interned at another Australian Designer Label in 2015 and absolutely loved it. I was able to see how similar/different processes were between labels in the industry - and now with background knowledge from studying fashion, I had a stronger understanding of technical details, pattern making, communicating with manufacturers, fabrics and knowledge of how important it is in building a relationship with the target market.
What else have you learnt?
In 2016 I was given the privilege of working for an Australian brand that has grown to be so successful in such a short time. Here, I was able to see how the brand worked and transformed from a small business to opening up shop around the world. This is where I learnt about brand growth and how important social media is in this day and age, to market brands and engage the audience.
Can you tell us about how KUMI XU the label came to be?
Well, in 2017, I was ready to start my label! With all the experience I had under my arm, I was eager to try my own hand at building my own brand. And this is officially when KUMI XU began.
I chose to focus on minimal pieces with an athletic feel that can easily be transitioned from day to night. I wanted an outfit I could walk my dog Mila in, wear to a nice brunch, and then go do some shopping in; outfits that look chic with minimal styling. I wanted versatile pieces that could be mixed and matched, worn during the day with sneakers and at night with heels.
Do you have a favourite piece in your collection?
If I had to choose it would definitely be the Jordan dress – it is so incredibly adaptable to any time of the day with a casual and loose-fitting chic style.
What words would you use to describe your brand and collection?
Comfort, chic, and cool sports luxe resort wear is what I feel the label embodies.