RANKing high

Rani Kim glances at her watch — the one thing she doesn’t go a day without — and it’s a little bit after 8 in the morning. She mounts herself on her bike, and it would have been just another day for the 2014 Ryerson fashion graduate, until she fell down because her clothes got stuck in her bike.

She thought she would make comfortable clothes that she could bike in, while still being on the stylish side. That’s how Rani’s RANK collection came about. At only 24 years of age, Rani, who now holds a job at Joe Fresh as a product designer, has had her collection showcased at Toronto’s very first Men’s Fashion Week (TOM*) this August and was even sponsored to participate at the World MasterCard Fashion Week.

RANK is a collection of elegant, minimalistic menswear pieces inspired by the concept of movement, which encompasses the integration of different types of movements and how its surrounding environment affects its subject. The collection is geometrical and structurally sound, reflecting the Korean designer’s fondness of the adjacent realm of design, architecture and interior.

“There are so many conventionalized restrictions [in fashion],” Rani said. “I want to break these rules and create new boundaries in menswear.” With this in mind, she collaborated with Justin Somjen for RANK’s textile designs with compositions that symbolize our universe — a distinct space that constantly moves. Rani also incorporates various fabrics; silk to play with transparency and comfort, polyester for a saturated color palette, and materials like oilcloth, linen and coated nylons for a distinct mix of texture. An apt embodiment of her unorthodox concept from RANK would be the effortless knee-length blazer, asymmetrically coloured in a rare collision of baby pink and dark blue. Another striking piece is the metallic crisscross trousers paired with a classic black blazer and white top. Like the other pieces, they are unconventional outfits that still exude a sense of masculinity.

Photo: rankbyrani.com

Photo: rankbyrani.com

Photo: rankbyrani.com

Photo: rankbyrani.com

It seems that all her internships at Jeremy Laing, Astrid Andersen — among other fashion designers — contributed greatly to where she is now. From sewing and trimming sample garments to creating special effects on fabrics with different techniques, Rani absorbed as much as she could from her predecessors. “A lot of people do not believe in fashion,” she said, “But seeing other designers doing what they love, seeing their hard work, it really pushed me to believe in a fashion career for myself and in the discovery of my own stylistic preferences.”

It’s 6 p.m. and she allows herself a 30-minute break, sometimes with gelato. Vegan chocolate, or whisky green tea today, she ponders, and she has to decide quickly before cruising her way from Joe Fresh in Liberty Village to her studio in Parkdale, in the midst of Toronto’s dreaded rush hour. As the rest of the city retreats to their abodes, Rani doesn’t — she works on her line and the day doesn’t end until 3 a.m. but knowing the routine is worth the while is enough to get her going.

“Whenever I have a show, watching my runway through the screen [from] backstage, [that’s when] I feel the proudest,” Rani smiles, indulging in her whisky green tea gelato before mounting herself on her bike again.

[I]mage credit: tomfw.com