Style File: Tara Kim from OLIVIA

Style File Tara Kim from Olivia

Tara Kim, founder of OLIVIA. Image supplied.

Tara Kim is the founder of contemporary womenswear label OLIVIA which she launched in 2009. OLIVIA is a fusion of Korean and New Zealand fashion trends and was named after Tara’s daughter Olivia. The brand is designed in New Zealand and ethically made in South Korea, drawing inspiration from the style of both countries. Tara is the third generation of her family to be involved in the fashion and textile industries and after studying fashion and graphic design herself, a career in fashion was a natural progression.

We caught up with Tara to find out more about her brand, what inspires her and what you would never catch her wearing!

Tell us about your latest collection?
Sweetheart – Modern Love Story
Modern Love Story reimagines timeless love of the past into modern romance. This collection visualises a dream-like scene from a classic romance film through a modern lens. It captures the endearing stage of falling in love accompanied by beautiful scenery on a sunny Spring day.

This collection features romantic pieces inspired by the blossoms of Spring– a fresh season flourishing with the rebirth of nature. It reinterprets the past into the present with a playful twist of vintage elements on modern designs. Oversized collars, Victorian style sleeves and vibrant prints dominate the collection while maintaining delicate, feminine details reminiscent of the new season.

What made you become a designer?
Growing up, I was always exposed to fashion as I am 3rd generation in the fashion and textile business. I naturally developed an interest in fashion as my family always talked about job-related topics like the latest fashion styles and trends. Their passion and commitment to their careers in the fashion industry inspired me to establish my own fashion brand.

Style File Tara Kim from Olivia

Looks from OLIVIA’s Spring/Summer 2020 collection.

What inspires you?
Whether I’m going for a walk around or travelling, I find inspiration from the intriguing and unique scenery around me. Inspiration is truly everywhere. You just need to open your eyes a little bit to see it all around you.

Describe your personal style and how it influences your designs?
Personally, I like to experiment with different styles. I don’t like to limit myself to just one style as there are so many fashion styles that I can recreate– it all just depends on my mood or the event. OLIVIA is a reflection of all my favourite fashion styles. The styles range from modern high fashion and sophisticated elegance to sporty everyday athleisure.

What is your all-⁠time favourite purchase?
Earlier this year, I got the opportunity to try out the Perfume Recovery Body Cream and Skin Repair Signature Face Sheet Mask by the K-Beauty brand, La Muse. Ever since then, it has easily become my favourite purchase as it has really made a difference in my skin. I loved them so much that I decided to launch a skincare division and stock them at OLIVIA as I really wanted other people to try the products and experience the benefits too.

What wardrobe item should everyone invest in?
For this season, I think feminine linen dresses and a bucket hat would be an awesome investment. Not only are they super cute and stylish, they are also functional as they can keep you cool during the hotter temperatures. They are also easy to style– you can pair them with sneakers for a casual everyday look or with heeled sandals and bold jewellery for a sophisticated night-time look.

Do you have a style rule you always obey?
I personally think that dressing for your body shape and accessorising with trendy statement pieces are the golden rules for creating a fail-proof outfit that can never go wrong. However, there should be no restricting rules when it comes to fashion. Wear whatever makes you feel comfortable and confident.

Style File Tara Kim from Olivia

Looks from OLIVIA’s Spring/Summer 2020 collection.

What has been the highlight of your career so far?
The highlight has definitely been establishing a wide customer base of diverse backgrounds all throughout New Zealand. Since the launch of OLIVIA in 2009, we have experienced a steady growth over the years. We have expanded our brand by opening three stores in Auckland and growing our online presence.

What can’t you live without?
My family are everything to me. They are the source of my happiness and the reason I have a grateful attitude towards everything. Even when I experience a creative slump in my career, they always motivate and encourage me to overcome any obstacles.

Finish this sentence – You would never catch me wearing…
I am very open when it comes to fashion. I believe that any fashion item has the potential to look amazing when it is styled correctly.

Images supplied.

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