MeeHo Kim founder of the brand, M33H2O
Mee Ho Kim is the founder of the fabulous bodysuit line, M33H2O LLC. She launched M33H2O in Paris October 2016 as a NYC designer; She was born in Seoul, Korea and raised in Vancouver.
What is your background? I graduated from Parsons the New School of Design, and also took a design course at Central Saint Martins. During school, I interned at Oscar de la Renta, Jason Wu, and Mary Katrantzou. At Oscar de la Renta, I interned in Sales & Marketing, where I created the linesheets and organized the looks to be used during market. Then, I switched to the design department there, where I worked with lots of hand and machine sewing. I helped to fix dresses before shows, and was able to be very hands-on with the samples. During my design internship at Jason Wu, I worked on their inventory; looking through their past collections, organizing fabrics, working with patterns/embroidery for production. I worked very closely with Mary Katrantzou when I interned there. I helped with pattern placement and flat sketches. I got to design and figure out how to best create a piece. I learned that some designers have their designs created in-house, while some send them off to factories around the world.
Did you always want to work in fashion? Yes. I started out thinking I wanted to be a buyer, but that later evolved into wanting to design my own collection. I see now that being a designer is the perfect fit for me. I didn't fully realize it before, even when I was applying to Parsons. I’ve never felt more motivated and determined to win at something. I am competitive with myself; pushing all mental and physical boundaries. I want to try everything that I can…to do more and be more.
How did you decide to start your own line? I'm really ambitious, and once I decided I wanted to be a designer, I went after it with all I had. Being at different design houses, I would research and learn about how each of them started, and that inspired me. I wanted to create essential staples that could be worn day-to-night without having to commute home and change for another occasion. I use sports, knit and breathable fabrics and turn them into something elegant. We all love waking up in the morning and putting on the softest clothing possible. Dressing in the morning makes going to school or work SUCH a process, especially since the temperature changes from when you arrive at work vs. leave. I wanted to create pieces that are sophisticated, and make one feel feminine and their best.
Why the bodysuit? I grew up taking gymnastics, ballet and ﬁgure skating classes. Athletes understand how the ﬁt of bodysuits can make a woman feel. Hugging the body, the fabric pulls the shoulders back and creates a feeling of being taller. Bodysuits expose your collarbones and chest, and there’s something very sensual about this. There is a TED Talk on how body posture generates conﬁdence, and therefore positive speech, facial expression etc. Bodysuits are very sexy in an understated way and can be worn with anything.
When did you decide to expand to other categories outside of the bodysuit? I started off with three bodysuits, and felt like I wasn't dreaming big enough. I became bolder and braver, and created a collection for working women. I challenged myself to be creative and live up to my belief that anything is possible. I didn’t want to limit myself as a designer. Having a strong niche is important to me, however, I want to constantly expand and grow.
Where did you ﬁnd factories and fabrics to work with? I had friends in the industry who connected me to factories. I love my suppliers, and they feel like family to me now. They’ve been very generous to me, and I am grateful for each of them.
How did you design the logo/website and choose the name? My name, MeeHo, means beautiful and pure in Asian characters. 33 is my favorite number, which is the number of bones we have in our spine. I want to represent women with creative, strong backbones who believe in themselves, and do more than what they're told to do. I want M33H2O to be timeless and everlasting. I wanted my website to be clean and as easy to use as possible. I looked at other websites that I liked using, and asked myself what I liked about it, and how can I do it better. It has evolved over time to become more user-friendly.
How did you learn the technical parts of designing a collection? I learned how to create proper specs working with Terra NY. That was my ﬁrst technical design turned into real clothing material experience. At Mary Katrantzou, I did a lot of specs, and became able to do them quickly. A spec is when you have measurements and fabric laid out so factory can read it, and know what to make without mistakes.
What advice would you give to someone interested in starting their own line? You don't have to be fully ready. Don’t sit with your thoughts and the how's. All the resources will come at the right moment and time. Be passionately ready to present your ideas to others to make them a reality. Having conﬁdence in yourself is key. Everything takes WAY longer than you expect, and will come in time. There are lots of things that are out of your control, and at times, you have to wait on others before you can proceed. Do what you need to do, what you're passionate about. Begin as soon as possible and constantly be on the go. Don’t lose your momentum.
What's next for M33H2O? Reaching and connecting with as many people with the growing platform I have as a designer. Stores, international showrooms, many distribution channels, collaboration, becoming the next big staple design house with refreshing designs and creating a beautiful experience. I want to raise awareness for the brand. I'd love to do a collaboration with New York City Ballet or olympic figure skaters or gymnasts.
What does girl power mean to you? Having absolute integrity, meaning you have achieved an understanding of what it means to have alignment within yourself. This alignment is projected out to others through your actions and words through loving thoughts. Girl power is when your thoughts and actions align in order to support others. It's not thinking something and acting another way. You have the ability to understand yourself well enough to understand others, therefore empowering instead of deteriorating. Having integrity is very authentic.
What challenges do you face as a young designer? I think we all face challenges whether we’re young or old, fresh to the game or experienced. All things take time. Impatience is a challenge for everyone.