Cres. E. Dim.

crsd0136 copy crsd0377 1 copy crsd0195 copy crsd0178 copy

To those not in the industry, it sounds like the glamorous life. The latest styles, the hottest events, flashing lights, and beautiful, confident people. And while this isn’t an untruth, it’s not the whole truth, either. Behind every collection and runway show that’s oohed and aahed over, there are countless hours of sketching, measuring, planning, and stressing, and, likely, some tears and hair pulling along the way. Before you can get to the flashing bulbs and swanky parties, you have to wade through the setbacks and obstacles and, most importantly, you have to win over the harsh public critique. With so many up-and-coming designers on the scene, how do you know which ones deserve the oohs and the aahs?

Head designer of CRES. E DIM., Kim HongBum, deserves it. In the musical term crescendo e diminuendo, crescendo means to “gradually get louder,” and diminuendo “to gradually get softer.” Applying this theory into his fashion identity and philosophy, Kim wants his designs to resemble a naturally flowing river, then he cut shapes and add color. No sentence better describes the CRES. E DIM. process and aesthetic, with its various and continuous silhouettes overlapping the human body with fabrics of varying texture, color, and shapes.

Although he credits no designers as inspiration or a “favorite,” it’s not hard to see influences of the likes of Alexander Wang, Balenciaga, and other edgier designers known for their attainable street and ready-to-wear styles. Draped jackets, leather skinny pants, and immaculately measured angles and lines are featured throughout the collection. CRES. E DIM. features no extra bells and whistles like zippers, ruffles, and studs, yet strays away from looking too minimalistic and stark.

Kim sites architecture and general street life and fashion as sources of ideas and inspiration, and this is apparent in his layered looks that are both fluid and precisely angled. Soft leathers, silky knits, and sumptuous wools are manipulated and formed into draped sides or as panels and wide belts. Asymmetric hemlines, pants ranging from skin-tight to super-flared, and pleated skirts are all a part of the CRES. E DIM. collection. Leather biker jackets are layered over silky tops, and your basic button-downs, wool coats, and dresses are anything but. Would-be simple silhouettes are given a twist of Asian-inspired details and just a dash of S&M bondage appeal. Wide belts and criss-crossed fronts look similar to traditional East Asian wear, as do flared culottes and straight-long skirts that show o vff the legs. Leather pieces and small metal buckles on lapels and pockets, as well as curved lines and a mix-and-match of chunky knits and sheer silks add texture and interest.

And to think, such an amazing collection and design aesthetic almost didn’t come to be. Kim had majored in beauty after graduating from high school, but at just 22 years young, he soon discovered that his creative talents were better suited for the fashion world. Kim believes that if one is truly passionate and in love with fashion and design, even the long hours and meticulous attention to detail is something cherished—as tedious and frustrating as it can sometimes be. But as Kim puts it, “When I see the outcome of my new collections finished and presented to the public, it gives me a feeling of thrilled passion and only makes me strive harder.”

Already gaining ground in his native Korea (he was Seoul’s Doota Venture Designer Conference Winner in 2007), Kim HongBum is working to take his designs to the Western Hemisphere. Most recently, his CRES. E DIM. has appeared on the runways for the New York Collections, when he was chosen as one or five designers to represent Korea for S/S and F/W 2013. We are excited to see what his next collection will bring. For more information, visit

Text by Ida Hsiang