Seoul City Life: Interview with Rydia Kim, fashion designer of Varyd Clothing and Songwriter

Seoul City Life: Interview with Rydia Kim, fashion designer of Varyd Clothing and Songwriter

When is clothing more than just clothing?! You have to ask Rydia Kim.  She runs a unique and expressive clothing line, that will have you stoked!! 🙂

FULL NAME AND LOCATION.

Rydia Kim / Stationed in Itaewon, Seoul.

WHEN AND WHY DID YOU GET INTERESTED IN VARYD?

Varyd was conceived in April 2013. The idea began from my own desire to have something unique. I tried both online and offline shops in Korea but found that most were more of copies/replicas of what is in trend, what sells now rather than unique statements that would allow me to express myself. And in a way I thought I could just make what I want to wear that would incorporate beautiful unique art and comfortable clothes. 

Varyd officially launched at the end of June 2013. Honestly, if you told me couple years ago that I would be sewing, silk screening and splashing paint and whatnot, I would have laughed so hard. I thought I would be a shopper forever not a designer/garment maker. But here I am! This is what makes life so worth living!

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WHAT ARE YOUR OTHER PASSIONS?

The problem is…. I have too many passions. I am one of those people who cannot just do one thing. I would get so bored, frustrated, feel like I am missing out, become way too curious of what else is out there. Naturally, I have been a freelancer delving in numerous different industries prior to this…. and still to this day. Some of the things I have been doing include, English radio, modeling, teaching, and so on. Now since I became a Varyd mama, my focus is truly on making this company everything it can be. I am utterly proud and excited about the future of Disruptive Voices, a community project under Varyd as well.

WHY IS VARYD CLOTHING A UNIQUE CLOTHING LINE?

Varyd is much more than clothing: 1) variety of art with various collaborating artists, 2) variety of models that challenge the standard of beauty, and 3) empower individuals via our movement, Disruptive Voices.

 We are open to collaborate with unique and talented artists that would like their artwork incorporated in fashion. We are against cosmetic surgery and promote natural beauty in all shapes and sizes as well as age. We are always looking for new models who can rock what they were born with.

 I am a survivor/thriver of physical and sexual abuse. I would not be who I am without the support of others. Realizing the need for such support and open discussions in Korea, Disruptive Voices was born in September 2013. We meet once a month to discuss different topics to promote better understanding and open discussions. The latest one was on educating 3rd parties of rape victims on how to properly support their loved ones. We updated people on the revisions that have taken place in sexual violence law, the process, where to go, and ways to emotionally support. The most incredible part was our guest speaker. He was the father of a little girl who was raped a few years ago. This particular case was a nationwide shock and was even turned into a movie. He came and spoke, answered all the questions people had. I don’t have the words to properly describe how powerful this workshop was. I am so thankful to the father, those who came out, those who listened, those who helped me…. it was just magical. We also have started doing lecture circuits and have managed to hold one at Ewha Womans University’s graduate school and this month we are doing a 2 hour lecture on consent and sexual harassment in front of 80 Korean NGO executive directors!

Last but not least, we have a variety of different partners/sponsors that work with Varyd. We are partners with Areia Creations (a K-pop entertainment company), Samdong International (a Korean non-profit organization), Non-Commissioned Officers Association (a US military non-profit organization) and so forth. There is still so much to be done, to grow, to learn, to perfect. One thing for sure is Varyd will never be boring. And we will grow this company to something anyone in the world can wear and be proud to be a part of!

WHO ARE YOUR FAVORITE DRUM & BASS DJs?

I used to be so into Drum and Bass! Unfortunately I cannot say I love a particular DJ just because I love variety too much. It really depends on my mood! It goes for all music. I love various genres, artists and different sounds. The only thing I can say for sure is I focus a lot on lyrics. No matter how amazing the melody and vocals may be, if they lyrics are bad I will not like it.

HOW DO YOU KEEP IT TOGETHER?

Honestly I would have been able to answer this last month.. but as of right now juggilng Varyd, Disruptive Voices, supporting our partners Samdong International and NCOA, along with the solo artist debut as a singer coming up at the end of this year with Areia Creations, I really don’t know how I am doing what I am doing anymore. I have reached a point now where I am having to reach out and ask for help from others. I don’t like to burden people but now? I realize I am not superhuman and need to delegate, lean on others to make sure everything works out.

I will say at times I do fall under cynicism and find myself thinking that I am living wrong. Self doubt is the hardest thing. At such times, I look at what I am really trying to do with my life. I am not trying to become a millionaire. My drive for success is genuinely to be able to protect and provide for the people I love. If Varyd was just about fashion I wouldn’t be this passionate. It is more about the values it is trying to not only convey in its brand but also the social movement aspect of Varyd that keeps me going. It isn’t about me. It’s much bigger than me. “Remember why you started.” This is the quote I keep repeating to myself to keep myself together and to keep the hustle going.

MY STYLE IS….

Simple and unique.  Effortlessly stunning.  Hahaha~ That’s what I go for. And of course, shoes…Fabulous. Shoes!!

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DESCRIBE WHAT YOU LOVE ABOUT DISTRICT GAL.

I have been blessed to have been able to meet, hang out with and even work with the creator and head of District Gal, Yvette Cruz. She is most definitely what I love most about District Gal. I love seeing not only her flawless styled self but also respect the hustler mind she shares with me. I look forward to working with District Gal in the near future and to see it grow!

HOW WOULD YOU COMPARE FASHION IN SEOUL COMPARED TO ANOTHER COUNTRY?

For women I would say definitely more understated, standardized and more on the feminine side in general with lots of leg exposure and heels. Fashion over comfort, again in general. I understand that in most western countries showing legs is considered more provocative and showing cleavage is more common. Comfort over fashion. Regardless I am generalizing in a broad way. For men I find that Asia is more accepting of men rocking all sorts of styles and colors for clothes (not so much for hairstyles though). And I do think men in Asia tend to pay more attention to their skincare and overall look than Western counties.

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HOW CAN DISTRICTGAL FANS GET CONNECTED WITH YOU?

Please feel free to contact me with any suggestions, feedback and/or comments! As I said before we are always looking for more artists and models! If you are specifically interested in activism and human rights, contact us via our Disruptive Voices accounts!

Official Website:  http://www.varyd.com/

Facebook: www.facebook.com/varyddesigns

Email: varyddesigns@gmail.com

Disruptive Voices: www.facebook.com/disruptivevoices

Email: disruptivevoices@gmail.com

WHAT FASHION STYLE OR ADVICE WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE ON DGAL?

I would love to see more bilingual options for posts, and more makeup and hair related articles on DGAL!! Keep up the good work ladies!!!

Rydia is an amazing inspiring individual.  We hope you gals/guys will drop your comments or questions.
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2 Comments

  1. Farrah J. - 14/06/2014

    I absolutely love Rydia’s hustle and drive and had no idea she had so many awesome projects under her belt! I am truly inspired by her work and will remember to say “why did I start” when the hater voice activates itself lol. You ladies are so fabulous and I’m glad to have met you! Hopefully we run into/work side by side/break bread/ something together again! ♡♡♡♡♡

  2. Hannah - 03/08/2014

    I saw her on TV in Korea! Unni my role model! So cool and fresh! Thank you for post!!! Go Rydia! Go Varyd!

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