10 things you need to know about sang woo kim

Roses are red, violets are blue, sugar is sweet and so is Sang Woo!

by Georgina Yi Wan
24 August 2015, 8:50am

Emma Fenton Villar, London College of Fashion autumn/winter 15 

The rare combination of chiselled cheekbones and the sweetest babyface smile belongs to 21-year-old Goldsmiths Fine Art student Sang Woo Kim. The Korean-Brit wandered into Select Model Management 2 years ago, and since then has become the first Korean to swagger down a Burberry runway, the boss man famiglia member in Dolce & Gabbana's autumn/winter 15 campaign, the mischievous boy in DIESEL's campaign, and Cara Delevingne's charming lover in DKNY's spring/summer 15 campaign. All whilst continuing to paint, and clubbing in Stokey. Here are 10 things you didn't know about Sang Woo.

1. His name means 'Helping each other, helping others'.
"My name is Sang Woo and most Korean names originate from traditional Chinese. Sang means 'each other' and Woo means 'helping'. It really resonates within my lifestyle as well I would like to think!"

Vivienne Westwood spring/summer 15

2. He  might have been born in Seoul but London is home.
"I was born in Seoul and moved to London when I was 6-months-old, so I don't ever remember living in Korea. London has always been my home. My dad's company appointed him to work in the London offices for a few years which turned out to be 13 years and then he moved back to Korea when I was 13. Me and my bro and mum stayed because our lives were too involved in London. Sad, however family is family wherever you are and we appreciate and respect my dad that much more. He has sacrificed a lot for me to be where I am. For that, I am forever respectful and thankful.

There was a massive conflict that I never really understood when I was younger: the conflict of growing up in the British environment/culture but being brought up by Korean parents. It was a conflict that was really difficult for me to understand at a young age. I had to either always disappoint my parents or disappoint my friends, as some things were very opposing in cultural acceptance. Now it is completely fine as we have all learnt to appreciate both cultures and understand each other for the unique experience we had growing up in a foreign country, which is definitely home now. I guess I appreciate it now seeing as I can have the best of both worlds. It's a privilege to experience these two beautiful cultures."

3. He's not always been as confident as he is now...
"I guess being ethnically different and being an 'Asian' brought up in this society and London, it was only natural that my self-esteem about looks was low. That's how I saw things at the time I guess. Casual racism was very apparent when I was younger, which is understandable when kids are naive or ignorant, they didn't really know any better. At the time I didn't really understand and was hurt so I guess I didn't ever have any confidence about my looks."

Painting by Sang Woo Kim

4. His favourite artist is Lucien Freud.
"Art was something that I always enjoyed thoroughly and was my interest since I was young. My parents loved venturing to galleries when we went on family holidays which exposed me to the art world from a young age. My influence and inspirations revolve around my day-to-day life, instinct. I feel that the most personal moment while - in my case - painting, is a spontaneous mark that is created from you rather than a contrived mark created by thought. I guess a lot of my work is admittedly reminiscent of the abstract expressionistic period. I accept and feel that they had the same innate influence in their work. Works of Franz Kline and De Kooning are always favourites. Actually my all time favourite artist is Lucian Freud due to his commitment to portraiture painting and his pure innocence and nativity to the 'art world', it's beautiful. Of course the subject and the whole picture is stunning but what I am mainly inspired by is his sculptural way of painting with texture and impasto in his paintings."

5. He started modelling to get some freebies from his pals at CSM.
"At the time when I was studying at Central Saint Martins, students needed models so I was modelling, doing favours for my friends, not really having a clue why me but if it was going to help them for their projects or portfolios I was more than willing to help, also to get a free coffee or lunch here and there haha. With a lot of encouragement from my friends I finally pushed myself to walk into an agency."

6. Sang's advice for model wannabes:
"I have never been scouted before, ever. So for all those who are waiting to get scouted, just walk in. There is no harm in trying and you should never take anything personally. If you feel that you will take things to heart then this job is not for you.

Casely-Hayford spring/summer 15

7. Modelling for him is a means to an end - he's an artist first and foremost.
"Don't get me wrong modelling is an incredible opportunity. The fashion industry has enabled me to further my art, for example, with Dansk magazine placing my drawings alongside an editorial. I am continually trying to push myself with my artwork and collaborating with industry people who I meet on jobs. Currently I am working on a photo-manipulated documentary project with Harvey Nichols and also partaking in a charity auction next month for the African Arts Trust with Avenir magazine which is in association with Sotheby's! It is truly a huge privilege to be working with such prestigious names and clients doing what I love. Most importantly this job enables me to really appreciate my life.

8. Helping to create a fashion show with equal ethnicity is top of his bucket list.
"I was actually thinking of collaborating with a casting agenct or director for an exclusive show to make this wish come true. If the designer was willing to have equal ethnicity, and I wouldn't see why they wouldn't, this would be something that I would love to do a project on."

Painting by Sang Woo Kim

9. Soo Joo Park is his best mate in the industry.
"I love her so much and I genuinely wouldn't know what I would do in this crazy world without her. She is the sweetest heart and is always there for me and is just a real true friend. I LOVE YOU."

10. A perfect day for him is...
"A never-ending day. Sun, paint and canvas… But it would never be perfect by myself, I love people too much! Then I would throw alcohol in there haha."


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