Artist Spotlight: Doran Kim

Artist Spotlight: Doran Kim

Doran Kim


Doran Kim is a junior Textiles and Apparel major at UT Austin and is going far with her out-of-the-box fashion thinking. Motivated by sustainable fashion, Kim took a trip to Austin Creative Reuse that inspired her collection for the UT Textiles and Apparel annual fashion show! Almost the entire collection is made of materials from ACR, including embellishments made from upholstery swatches and colorful plastic folders. Full of color, fringe, and sustainability, Kim’s reuse garments were the finale of the fashion show. Read more about Doran’s practice and see pictures from her fashion show below!



When did you start creating art?

I started drawing even before going to elementary school. They were mainly figures in different ball gowns I designed. I competed with my friends for who drew cartoon characters better going to elementary and middle school. Although I started studying French literature later, soon I realized my passion is in art and fashion, so I went to London to study them.


What is your preferred medium?

I love mixing media. Even when I draw the simplest things, pencils and colors are on the side. Learning about sustainability in fashion and in general, I began to enjoy converting discarded materials into something beautiful. I love hearing people saying, “you made this from what?” Working this way can remind people that the things they are about to throw away could live longer in different forms.


What drives your creative spirit?

 Literally, everything around me. It could be my cat lying on a sofa, a random trash bag, news, and of course, fine arts. Working on my collection for the major this semester, I realized that materials influence my art a lot more than I thought. That’s because this collection would not have started if I didn’t find the upholstery swatch books and plastic folders at ACR.


How has your art adapted during the pandemic?

During the pandemic, I have stepped out of my boundary and explored other ways to do art. I was not a craft person before but found joy in crafting. Working with limited materials that I could find at home made my work more challenging, and I enjoyed that. As a result, I feel like I have broadened my perspectives on how to do art and fashion.


How does reuse play a part in your art?

Since I learned about fashion sustainability at UT, I have only used recycled fabrics and materials except for team projects. It became the most important part of my fashion construction to reduce waste discarded in landfills and remind people of waste generated every day.


What compels you to shop at ACR?

The unexpected variety of materials, the hope to make something beautiful out of things that were once considered no longer needed, and the philosophy ACR conveys to the community.


Do you have a favorite ACR find? What did you do with it?

It is an easy answer. My favorite items are the plastic folders and upholstery swatch books. I made my collection with them!


You inspire us, Doran! Follow her on instagram and or view her portfolio.




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