To mark Women’s Equality Day, we hung out with Boss Babe Kim Bui Kollar to talk about life lessons and what it means to be behind the steering wheel. Kim is at the top of her field as the Fashion Director of #Legend Magazine, runs an agency called Banck Creative, and consults for retailers, talents and brands.
How long has it been since you relocated to Hong Kong from New York?
8 years. It was only supposed to be for one year. Time flies!
Where do you call home now?
Where my family is.
Do you believe in the “hands on” approach?
To me, being hands on is actively taking part in what is going on. I see this as being close to the action and being really aware of the process and effort that is required to achieve something. Being hands on makes the achievement feel even more gratifying, so yes.
What are your key go-to pieces that are in heavy rotation at the moment?
1) Knee length cut off denim pants
2) Long sleeve button down shirts in silk – I prefer wearing loose shirts like this during the summer over a tank top. I just think they are so effortlessly chic, sexy but still stylish mom appropriate. I roll my sleeves up above my elbows and wear lots of jewelry.
3) Khaki pants or skirts – I am really into the neutral palate and the utilitarian look especially paired with something super feminine and romantic on top or a slinky bodysuit.
How do you feel about fast-fashion and trends?
I am a believer in investing in good quality basics as a foundation to the wardrobe. There is an energy being in a fast fashion environment that makes it feel very easy to consume. I think the key is to find things that have some authenticity to the design. It’s easy to get bored of items that are super trendy. I think it’s fun to pick a few trendy items per season to layer on top of the good basics that are made well and fit well.
What items of clothing do you own that are long-term investments (ones that never go out of style, that you expect to evolve with for a long time)?
I will collect pieces that are iconic to the design houses. Sometimes there are items that are so original in their design that they just become pieces that never lose their wow factor, or amazing vintage finds.
If you were to give styling advice to someone who is trying to break away from the usual tee and denim outfit, what would you recommend?
Keep the denim, just wear a cool dress over your jeans. Or pop a great tailored jacket on top for a polished denim look.
Tees and denim to me speaks of an appreciation for ease, comfort, and function.
I don’t think these elements have to be sacrificed to look stylish and cool. It’s like Kate Moss says “know your lengths!”
Were you always in the driver seat in life (a boss!)?
I was not always a “it’s my way or the highway” kind of person. But what is important to me is the quality of an experience for everyone involved, which tends to mean that all of the consideration, the details management, and idea conception falls in my lap. I didn’t realize this was the case until a bit later in life when I was frustrated at how everything wasn’t getting optimized which is when I started to “drive.”
Do you feel a pay gap or sexism in your field of work?
No. In what I do, experience and the quality of creative and ideas determine our value.
What do you love the most about your work?
Seeing possibilities. Creating beauty. Being inspired and continuing the process for others.
What’s the greatest lesson you’ve learnt through your career?
Ask questions. Trust an instinct.
Always consider the end use of things.
Through managing/directing a team, what have you learned about yourself and from working with other people?
By striving to be the best person that I can be, and to be mindful of others and totally present, we as a team achieve more success in everything. Everything gets optimized.
What advice would you give to someone looking to have it all?
Balance is the new spice of life.
When you travel, is it mostly for work or for recreation?
If you were going on a weekend getaway, where would you go and what will you pack?
Vietnam – specifically Nha Trang. I would pack some Eres bathing suits, denim shorts, white cropped jeans, and silk button down shirts. Sun block, three pairs of sunglasses, coconut lotion, Chanel #5, one red lipstick and one pink. And a slip dress. I like looking like I just “threw things on” when I am on vacation.
What is the most amazing destination you’ve been to?
I recently went to Troll Peninsula in Iceland. It was spectacular and a deep reminder of the circle of life. I would urge everyone to go and see people who live in a sustainable fashion in the most purest sense.
You heard her.