The Fashion Insider Diary: Haeni Kim

The Fashion Insider Diary: Haeni Kim
The Fashion Insider Diary: Haeni Kim

Founder, new mother, style icon and successful businesswoman are just a few titles on Haeni Kim's long list of accolades.

In 2017, Haeni founded a fun-loving, dopamine-inducing ready-to-wear and accessory brand called KITRI, little did she know seven years on it would be one of the UK's most sought-after fashion brands, loved by 'it' girls, style mavens and the coolest of cool tastemakers.

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Haeni Kim describes her style as “chic, playful and classic with a twist” and if you follow her on Instagram or her brand KITRI, you’ll know that that description is bang on the money.

We caught up with the dopamine-inducing tastemaker to chat about all things fashion, stylistic inspiration, shopping and how “Understanding what works best for your body shape is key” when figuring out the ultimate outfit.

What This Fashion Insider Wears In A Week:

Day One

Day of buyer appointments in our New York Showroom. It was so cold in New York during our stay, there was even a snowstorm! I wore a black roll-neck underneath my favourite Pandora knit cardigan with wide-leg jeans and boots for a busy day of appointments with buyers in our New York Showroom. The cardigan is the perfect weight to layer for a cold day – heavy enough to be worn on its own without a coat indoors and keep you warm.

Haeni Kim poses in her NYC office
(Haeni Kim)
Haeni Kim with her daughter in Paris
(Haeni Kim)

Day Two

Paris Trip – we took our daughter Lyra to Paris for her first time! We had a lovely time visiting our retailers (we’re now stocked in Le Bon Marché, my dream department store!). I wore our Nova faux snakeskin vinyl trousers for the occasion. Something classic but statement and felt quite Parisian-chic.

Day Three

Lunch at 10 Downing Street – to celebrate the 40th year of London Fashion Week, I was lucky enough to be invited to 10 Downing Street to have lunch with Mrs. Akshata Murty and meet the Prime Minister! Such a surreal day and met so many inspiring fashion brand owners and entrepreneurs whom I have admired for a while. I decided to wear our floral suit with pink feather cuffs from the new Spring Collection. My dad was horrified when he saw the pictures but I wanted to bring a little colour and joy to the event and I loved wearing it.

Haeni Kim outside 10 Downing Street
(Haeni Kim)
Haeni Kim poses in metallic trousers for a social media shoot
(Haeni Kim)

Day Four

Social Shoot with KITRI team – we’re starting a new social series called 1 Style, 3 Ways to show the versatility of our statement styles. These silver cargo vinyl trousers were my pick to kick-start the series. Here I’m wearing it with an oversized grey hoody and black loafers for a casual day of running errands.

Day Five

New Profile picture – we have a new website launching this month, which I’m so excited about! I’m wearing the Emilia Floral Blazer with a pair of jeans to update the very outdated picture to go up on the new website.

Haeni Kim's new profile picture. She wears a colourful blazer with pink feather trim
(Haeni Kim)

The Fashion Insider Low-Down:

Can you describe your personal style in a few words? How does it reflect your role in the fashion industry?

I’d like to say it’s chic and playful – classic with a twist. Working in fashion definitely allows me to be a bit more daring in my fashion choices even for business meetings but I’m aware that I’m a founder and leader of my company so I still like to look polished and professional when I get dressed.

What's your go-to outfit for a busy day of fashion events and meetings? How do you balance comfort and style?

Being a new mum of a 13-month-old girl, comfort has definitely become more important to how I dress every day. Those nursery runs in the morning cannot be done in 5-inch heels! My go-to outfit at the moment is playful, statement trousers – wide leg and longer in length which I can cuff when I’m wearing trainers and roll down when I’m in heels, with a neutral knit in black/grey or ivory, vintage-looking statement earrings and an oversized coat. I pack my heels in my bag to switch in and out of throughout the day.

What are your go-to brands? (other than your own!)

I love Uniqlo for basic, classic knits, Petit Bateau for t-shirts and Totême for classic styling pieces that can complement and ground our colourful designs when worn together. I also just bought some great black ankle boots from Aeyde which goes perfectly with all our trousers.

Do you have any fashion icons or inspirations that influence your style choices? How do they inspire you?

Audrey Hepburn for classic, feminine but playful style, Lauren Hutton for everyday easy tailoring, a bit of Cher for fabulous party outfits and Zendaya,I  love everything she does with Law Roach!

Weekdays can be hectic. What's your weekday workwear wardrobe like, and how does it differ from your weekend attire?

We work 3 days a week at the office so my weekday and weekend attire are pretty much the same. Perhaps I lean a little more towards leisurewear at the weekend but I love wearing oversized vintage hoodies & sweatshirts in general. I’m most likely to be wearing a good wide-leg denim with statement KITRI knitwear or fancy trousers with a classic shirt or neutral knitwear during the week.

Accessories can make or break an outfit. What are your must-have accessories, and how do you use them to elevate your look?

I love a statement vintage earring to elevate even the simplest of looks. I have so many gold and silver options, some from Highstreet or vintage market finds as well as designer – anything that looks like it’s come straight from the 80s is ok with me. Currently loving everything from Heaven Mayhem.

In the fashion world, trends are constantly evolving. How do you stay up-to-date with the latest fashion trends, and do you incorporate them into your wardrobe?

Trends can be so overwhelming as there seem to be so many and they come and go so quickly! I’m on Instagram and TikTok a lot to keep up to date with the latest but in general, I know what works for me and my style so I only indulge when it feels like it’s a good fit with what I already have in my wardrobe and if it has longevity.

Many people admire the way fashion insiders put together outfits effortlessly. Can you share some of your styling tips for mixing and matching pieces?

Understanding what works best for your body shape is key and also what makes you feel good when wearing it. I like to keep and update my core wardrobe pieces – the elevated basic items that fit you well and you return to time and time again. Mine would be blazers in classic colours, crisp shirts, great denim, t-shirts, knits and shoes. This means that as you add the fashion pieces that you love each season, they’ll work well with your existing pieces and you always look and feel like yourself.

Fashion insiders often attend high-profile events and parties. What's your strategy for creating memorable looks for evening parties?

Don’t forget to read the dress code! But within that, anything goes really. I never shy away from wearing something a bit extra to an event and have fun! I recently wore a floral oversized suit with pink feather cuffs to a lunch at 10 Downing Street! I just think you should wear what you feel great in to be at your best. Don’t ever wear something because you think you should even though you feel uncomfortable in it. Your discomfort will show and that’s a recipe for disaster.