Seattle-based Olivia Kim is a major cool hunter in the fashion world. As the former superstar buyer of mega concept store Opening Ceremony, she defined downtown-cool, avant garde style. And if you’ve been to a Nordstrom lately, you may have noticed a store within the store named Pop-In. As the new Director of Creative Projects, Olivia sets trends by finding designs and products for the theme-changing boutique. So did we think this curator of cool’s style, business and lifestyle tips needed to be compiled in one place? Yes, we did, and oh, yes we did.
1. Balance is key: When it comes to getting dressed in the morning, Kim told Elle, “I’m not a super flashy dresser, but I think my skirts are a little outrageous, so I go for a boring top. I don’t like the idea of being dressed up for work.” For effortless work style, Kim says, “I try to downplay whatever’s happening, so if I’m wearing a lot of print, then I’ll do a normcore shoe.”
2. Never play it safe in your professional life: “If everybody thinks it’s amazing, I’ll feel like I played it too safe,” says Olivia. “If everybody is completely offended, I’m fired. But if I achieve a good balance of people who are uncomfortable and people who are fighting over a pair of New Balances, it’s going to be a good thing.” The take away tip from this Vogue interview? No matter what you do, make go-big-or-go-home moves.
3. Be socially conscious: “I’m really into the fact that fashion is being so conscious right now. It started with the likes of Stella McCartney and her doing a line that promised to be animal- and cruelty-free,” Olivia tells Where Traveler. She believes in this so fully that she’s filled Nordstrom‘s Pop-In with eco-friendly, upcycled, artisanal and community-focused fashion goods.
4. Stay relevant and grow: Nordstrom’s president of merchandising told Elle, “Olivia helps to represent what customers expect from us going forward. To stay relevant and grow, you have to attract new customers. Broadly and philosophically, that is the kind of stuff we focus on with Olivia’s efforts.”
5. Save and splurge: Olivia has spent a decade defining what “downtown cool” is for fashion-forward cities like NYC and LA. So you can only imagine her walk-in closet is full of eclectic cool pieces. You can see her personal style reflected in her product choices, which are all about mix ‘n’ matching indie labels with super high-end luxe brands. (via Elle)
6. Comfort is queen: The secret to her ultra-cool uniform? You often see her sporting crisp button-down shirts with outrageous long skirts, pairing the look with comfortable flats, oxfords or sneakers. Her style pet peeves are too much make up and wedge sneakers. It’s all about keeping it simple, casual and fun. (via W Magazine)
7. Keep yourself mobile: Girls on the go can’t be wrestling with a big bag. It’s either a tiny bag or a backpack for Olivia. Her collection includes everything from Chanel, Olympia Le-Tan and a custom bejeweled Prada backpack. Everything she owns is a statement bag. (via ELLE)
8. Embrace change: Leaving her home turf, switching coastlines and changing her career doesn’t trip Olivia up. She does the same things she’s always done to make her the success story that she is: Stay curious and explore. She likes to go to galleries and concept shops like Closed Ciruit Shop and Henry Art Gallery to hunt for local designs and contemporary art. When she needs food for thought, she hits up raw, organic hand-press juices at Strawberry Moon, vegan, gluten-free baked goods at Flying Apron and a yummy soy latte at Macrina Bakery. Anyone else suddenly feel like booking a trip Seattle? (via Vogue)
Which of Olivia’s tips are you planning to steal? Tell us in the comments below.