There seems to be another temporary design slash fashion store popping up every minute in Berlin these days, but every once in a while, there is a concept that deserves some special attention. Last week, Berlin/LA-based designer Emilie Boschung, founder of the womenswear label KIMEM, in partnership with her friend, designer Kaylee Cho of outerwear brand TMM opened their first pop-up store together in Berlin’s Mitte district, selling not only their own fashion, but also a selection of labels that embody a similar minimalist aesthetic and effortless vibe, matching their respective journeys from Los Angeles to Berlin.
Along with clothing from KIMEM and TMM, the store features designs from LOQ shoes, Beatriz Palacios jewelry, Nudeite Parfum, Daniela Rubino concrete planters, PSZO artwork, Portraits de Villes postcards and George the Cardmaker’s greeting cards, among others. KIMEM x TMM Berlin will run until September 15th with the goal of becoming a multi-city experience afterwards. We spoke to Boschung about their store concept, her fashion brand and unusual background.
You were born in Chicago, grew up in Switzerland and decided to go to Los Angeles after your graduation, where you founded KIMEM in 2013. What made you move your brand to Berlin earlier this year?
I love Berlin and I thought it would be great to open a design office over here. The contrast between old and new architecture is something I am really attracted to as well as the history. Berlin is great for young artists and young companies. Having an office in Europe is really good as I think KIMEM has great potential over here! KIMEM is still based in California so I am going back and forth.
Tell us about you new pop-up store – what made you team up with TMM and what’s the general direction of the store?
Kaylee, the designer of TMM is one of my best friends. She and I met in LA where we both studied fashion. After living in different cities for the past 4 years, we finally are reunited in Berlin!
The aesthetic of our brands are very similar, we both love minimalist and both have a thing for small details that make the difference.
With this first pop up store, we wanted to give our customers a taste of the lifestyle what goes with KIMEM x TMM. We want our customers to enjoy the experience at the store and leave with a piece from our journey. All the other brands we have in the space, are brands we met here and there in our journey to Berlin. They all have the same focus on fine detailing in even the simplest designs.
Where and how did you find the other labels you are selling?
I met some of them through friends, at some trade show on my way from Los Angeles to Berlin and others I met via social media.
What do you like about the location and your customers?
The location is great, we are in the midst of it all! Mitte is a very young and trendy neighborhood with a lot of tourists. The store is located in a courtyard connecting Rosenthaler Strasse and Weinmeisterstrasse. We have a beautiful patio to hang out at and it’s a little bit quieter than on the actual street. It’s really nice.
How do you plan stock for a shop that is only open for a month?
Honestly I kind of just did it randomly. I always have extra stock for my website so I just added a little bit more to that. It’s hard to plan since this is our first time creating a retail experience but I believe the curation of styles will resonate here. People just have to hurry before it gets sold out! (laughs)
Which trends (styles, fits, colors) do you believe in most strongly for fall/winter 2017?
The navy silk shirts! I have three different styles that I think are really strong.
How important is social media for your brand building/store?
Social media is very important. Most of my followers are based in the US but I am building my German network and it’s great to interact with a whole new audience!
Tell us about your womenswear brand KIMEM.
The idea behind KIMEM was to create a line of elevated basics, simple and beautifully made. The perfect addition to a woman’s closet story. With price points between 160 euros for a cotton poplin shirt to 250 euros for a silk shirt / around 300 euros for a jacket, our market is a 20 to 40 year old woman working in creative fields. Apart from our new pop-up store, KIMEM is sold in boutiques in Japan, USA and Europe and you can find it online at Garmentory, Spring, and soon on a platform in Russia.
You studied Business Administration and Communications and have been part of the Swiss Equestrian jumping team. What made you switch over to fashion? How do benefit from your non-fashion skills in your job today?
I always had a passion for fashion! Once I graduated from business school and I had learned what I needed to run a business I went to fashion school to learn how to make a garment. Now I use all this knowledge in my business and everyday life. Equestrian jumping is a passion, I hope one day I’ll have time to do it again.
KIMEM x TMM
Rosenthaler Straße 51
August 18 – September 15, 2016