Designer Laura Kim Might Be the Most Honest Person in Fashion

The best quality is knowing what I suck at and making sure I hire the people who are better than me. It’s almost like filling in holes. I’ve seen a lot of bosses who don’t let people grow, and sometimes people take what they’re not good at as an insecurity and kind of torture the people who work for them. But I’m like, why would you do that? I really enjoy finding people who are inspiring me, who are better at what I really suck at.

Fernando Garcia, Laura Kim, and Pamela Anderson attend The 2024 Met Gala on May 06, 2024 in New York City.

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Laura Kim Mariska Hargitay Fernando Garcia

Oscar de la Renta Co-Creative Director Laura Kim, Mariska Hargitay, and Oscar de la Renta Co-Creative Director Fernando Garcia attend the Colleagues Spring Luncheon on April 25, 2023 in Beverly Hills, California.

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For example, Fernando Garcia, my business partner, used to be my intern. He is the opposite of me. He loves celebrities, he loves watching movies, he likes to create things that are fantasy. Whereas, I like creating things that are realistic, and I hate watching movies. I usually don’t remember celebrities names. It’s good to acknowledge what your weaknesses are and push people to fill in that space for you.

And the worst boss, in my opinion, are the bosses who don’t know what their team is doing.

What is your favorite thing about your job?

I get a ton of free clothes. There are days I really want to quit. I’m like, “Oh my God, I just want to break.” But then I’m like, okay, in a year I’m going to run out of clothes to wear, so I better stay at my job. It makes me so happy still. I mean, that’s probably the reason I’m still here.

I’m dying, but also love the honesty. What is one thing you’re a perfectionist about?

I must say, I’m not a perfectionist at all. I’m a hot mess.

[Laughs] What’s the most misunderstood thing about what you do?

I don’t know, actually. My boyfriend didn’t understand what I do for almost two years. I’m not good at selling myself. We created a documentary at Oscar de la Renta for how we create a collection. We’re trying to pitch it to different channels so if you watch that, you can really see what I do, and hopefully my boyfriend will understand what I do.

What do you tell people you do?

I just say I’m a fashion designer. I don’t know how else to talk about it. Some people really oversell themselves, and I just don’t like that either. But yeah, I design clothes.

What is one piece of professional advice that has always stuck with you?

Oscar [de la Renta] told me when I was like 22, “If you’re not having fun at work, it shows in your work and it sucks. It really sucks.” I call myself the Eeyore of the Winnie the Pooh family. I have really low energy, and I’m always grumpy. So that advice really helps me to wake up. I’m like, “Why am I being grumpy? Why am I depressed about something?” My work is amazing. It’s fun. I get free clothes. Keep it happy. Enjoy the process.

What is the best piece of money advice you’ve ever gotten?

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