Thursday, January 2nd, 2014
By Kimberlie Birks
Photos by Christophe Randall at CR Photo
After several leading design offices tried their hands at giving a physical presence to the virtual-based My Suit retailer, UnSpace founder Ji Rook Kim took an unconventional first step.
“The first thing I did was make my own suit,” Kim says, recalling his process of selecting a designer-quality, made-to-measure suit online. “They weren’t sure what I was doing at first,” the designer chuckles. “I didn’t give them a presentation; I just kept asking questions.” Highly influenced by his work with Japanese architect Itami Jun, the founder of this interior/ architecture studio seeks to incorporate the concept of yin and yang into all of his work. “I try to let the product talk to me and design itself,” Kim says. With My Suit, which offers a fully customizable menswear shopping experience for the same price as most off-the- rack options, Kim aspired to extend their streamlined online ingenuity to the store.
At My Suit Wall Street, the sleek, award-winning second store that UnSpace designed for the company, white walls dotted with fabric-covered magnetic blocks act as a customizable fabric bar for customers who want to test the weight and feel of the various options. To help suit-seekers further tailor their experience, runway-like countertops lined with iPads extend throughout the store. Crowning the space, Kim’s award-winning digital mannequin—a human-scale series of display panels made out of four video monitors—projects a succession of photos that produce a retro flipbook-style image of a virtual model walking a catwalk.
As the lining of My Suit’s pockets reveals, UnSpace has proved to be the perfect fit: the company has now tripled its projected sales targets and recently opened a third location within Manhattan. And Kim, who now finds himself design- ing a set of fixtures to carry My Suit nationwide, takes pride in the collaborative success: “Just a little design can launch a company and make them successful.”