This article originally appeared in i-D's The Creativity Issue, no. 348, 2017.
Sang wears all clothing, jewellery and shoes model's own.
With cheekbones that could cut through butter, and an infectious smile to melt even the coldest of hearts, Sang Woo Kim has a face you can't help but fall in love with. The Seoul-born, London-bred beauty has always been much more than a model. Despite making fashion history as the first Korean to walk the Burberry runway in autumn/winter 14, and securing countless campaigns since, it is the 22-year-old's passion for art -- first and foremost a painter and more recently experimenting with photography -- that truly defines him.
"I remember being asked to write a diary at school as a kid," he says. "I ended up drawing what I did, rather than writing about it. I told my mum I wanted to study art at university when I was 10, even though I didn't even know what university was!" Much like the abstract expressionists he's inspired by, Sang's work is steeped in emotion, with each smear of paint bearing a clue to the puzzle of his life. "I live to see," he explains. "Growing up between two cultures has taught me real empathy." For his first solo outing, If You See Me, Now You Don't, which launched earlier this year at Berlin's Magic Beans Gallery, Sang delved deep into his past, exploring themes of identity and immigration in the most personal of ways.
With his parents very much against his artistic path, fearing it not academic enough, Sang has had to fight hard to express his creativity, and it's not something he's going to give up easily. "We need to celebrate creativity in troubled times like these." On the catwalk and the gallery walls, we trust Sang Woo Kim will continue to make his mark.
Briefs Costume Studio.
All clothing and jewellery model's own. Boots Costume Studio.
Look: Tim Walker teams up with LOVERBOYs Jack Appleyard and Gareth Wrighton, and set designer Gary Card, for a shoot inspired by little more than "some graffitied wall in a pub toilet" that Tim found.
Text Tish Weinstock
Photography Tim Walker
Styling Max Clark
Make-up Lucy Bridge at Streeters using Chanel L Les Indispensables de L'Été and Chanel Blue Serum.