Design student creates with military in mind

2014-01-26T00:00:00Z 2014-05-21T13:40:35Z Design student creates with military in mindBy Kristen Cook Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
January 26, 2014 12:00 am  • 

Being stuck in a military uniform for nearly a decade helped fashion design student Soo Kim develop her sense of style.

It gave her a taste for tailored.

“I like the look of sharp, clean lines,” says Kim, 31, who designs under the name Océane Kim. “It gives you confidence.”

People around here tend to gravitate toward flip-flops and loose clothing. So not her thing.

“You don’t see a lot of people wearing shirts buttoned up to the collar and a jacket,” says Kim, whose website is

That kind of business attire — for both men and women — is what she creates and hopes to sell one day in her own boutique.

Kim was born in Hawaii, grew up in Korea and moved to Chandler for high school. She was interested in fashion but her dad encouraged her to join the army.

“The military influence has a lot to do with my designs,” says Kim, who worked in military intelligence and graduates from the Art Institute of Tucson later this year. “I have a lot of collars and belts and make sure it looks sharp.”

Kim — who participated in Tucson Fashion Week as well as the annual Moda Provocateur event, which celebrates Tucson style while fundraising for the Southern Arizona AIDS Foundation — was a finalist this past fall in a Humane Society of the United States fur-free design contest. Her re-creation of a Tom Ford design incorporated pieces of towel for sleeves as well as lace and home decorating fabric.

Kim, who favors button-downs and blazers herself, gravitates toward online sample sale site for clothes and shoes, although lately, her growing design skills have had a negative impact on her shopping habit.

“I look and I think, ‘I can make that,’” says Kim, with a little laugh. “I don’t need to buy it.”

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