This Dreamy Denim Brand Comes From a Father-Daughter Duo
Jim Man knows denim. As the pattern maker for brands (including Calvin Klein, J Brand, and Tommy Hilfiger) whose iconic jeans have covered many a supermodel's bum, it's safe to say he honed his craft, conquering the task of creating figure-flttering fits that were built to withstand trends that come and go.
The fact that Jim was immersed in the industry in the '90s must be a massive source of pride for his daughter Su Kim, who not only followed in his footsteps by working for several top brands herself, but ultimately was motivated to collaborate with her dad on her own line, very much inspired by the decade. Together they've created the aptly named Father's Daughter, a line of jeans, jackets, jorts, dresses, and more that are the perfect marriage of Jim's technical expertise and Su's knowledge of what's new and now.
I got the chance to chat with Su just before she headed to New York for Father Daughter's debut at Capsule Show (the brand aims to launch e-commerce in January) where she filled me in her favorite '90s denim nostalgia, what it's like to work with your dad, and — arguably most important — where to get the best nachos in Los Angeles.
What's your earliest denim memory?
I grew up in the era of '90s gangster rap and No Doubt. My older sister was possibly the coolest person at the time. She had a solid denim wardrobe of Tommy Hilfiger, Calvin Klein, and Polo. She would wear her oversized jeans with cropped t-shirts and brown lipstick. Her room had a Romeo+Juliet poster procured from the local video store and a giant stuffed bear won by some kid boy at six flags.
Your dad's got a pretty legit background in the fashion business. How did you guys figure out a singular vision?
It was all organically calculated, if that makes sense. The dots just lined up. While I was still working for another denim brand, I got super duper into my job as a wash developer and felt I had pushed the limits of that title when my dad invited me on a trip to Korea for my cousin's wedding. That trip was eye-opening on how I viewed family, generation, time.
One thought led to another and I felt ready to make my next move. When I approached my dad about helping me make my first collection, he said he was fully on board. What happened after was just magic — my dad, my mom, and I all have different experiences that added to carving out this collection together. We make a good team.
What's the best and worst thing about working with your dad?
The best and worst thing is that we are essentially the same person. We get uber excited about the newest idea that's on our mind, and can get compulsively off track. The way we approach life is pretty similar too. We look for signs of opportunity and work with what we've got and throw all our efforts in. The difference between us is that he's a dreamer and likes to look down the road at the grand future. I tend to manage whats directly in front of me at the end of my fork.
Denim is such a classic fashion staple. What's your no-fail outfit involving denim, and what are some other timeless wardrobe pieces you can't live without?
The collection is designed around this question. What's great about denim is that you're not re-inventing the wheel but its constantly getting better from fabric and fit to wash technique to consumer knowledge. Obvi no fail outfit is a solid 100% cotton white crewneck tucked into a 5-pocket denim with an authentic wash (like our Kate fit in Labor wash). Other items are a denim jacket that hangs just right (like our Kathleen jacket in Rest wash), a dress that takes you from the office to your date (like our Patty dress in Brew wash), and something to brunch in from Echo Park to Beverly Hills (like our coordinated Audrey top and trouser).
What's important to you about producing the line in LA?
It's in our DNA. There's so many good and hardworking people in the fashion industry here. A lot of these sewing contractors and wash houses are built by 1st generation immigrant families like ours. There's a special place in my heart for these mom-and-pop businesses. Along with that, I believe there's a level of pride and soul that come through in the product, especially when they are as crazy as my dad and I.
Very serious question, what's your favorite place to get tacos in LA?
I'm actually vegetarian now. But if wasn't, hands down I would get them at Carnitas Michoacan in Lincoln Heights. I used to go there every Sunday after church. They have the best super nachos, loaded with cheese and steak. Ask for extra house hot sauce and radishes, so that you can alternately burn and cool your tongue in between bites.