Pep Kim has been an international homie of ours for a while now, originally bonding over our mutual love of soccer and style. We got to catch up with him ahead of the launch of his brand Chrystie NYC's new collection.
Growing up, how important was skateboarding to you?
I think skateboarding is important cause it naturally teaches you where you belong to and in which field you are talented of. And most importantly, you learn the value of DIY/FUCKYOU mentality in the most positive way possible. I probably would have never started any of my creative works if I had never started skateboarding.
Why did you leave Korea? Was New York the destination you always dreamed of?
The first job I had after graduation, disappointed me so much and I felt there’s nothing I’d like to be pursuing professionally in Seoul. And the skateboarding scene wasn’t the way I was enjoying back in early 2000 so I was so ready to leave.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great city. But just at that time, I needed changes.
I never really fantasized NY as much as people who looked up to NY street culture. I actually was going to move to Berlin for my own art career, but the plan changed after ICP, International Center of Photography, accepted my application.
I never regretted moving to NY.
When did soccer come about in your life?
Probably as soon as I started playing on CSC. I mean I used to be kicking a ball around when I was really young, but it wasn’t anything serious as much as it is in UK or Brazil.
But I still don’t really support any pro team or watch games much. I just love playing on CSC. CSC for life.
You also take photos... Do you still exercise that profession today?
Most def. Use it or lose it. Chrystie had opened up another good possibility in my career but one’s time is limited. I still try to roll around in the street to shoot photos but I def can’t afford my time as much as I used to as I have to take care of Chrystie first for now.
What sparked the idea to create your own brand? And what are the origins of the name Chrystie NYC?
It’s after the street name Chrystie street in LES/Chinatown area. There are two soccer fields I play on with CSC and also is a few historic skate spots on the street.
And I like its feminine feeling.
When did you join the legendary Chinatown Soccer Club?
It was in 2011, a time period when it was very hard to join the team. It still is to this day but I think we had way more regular members back then so I think the Coach wasn’t really considering any new member. Then one day my friend Maia linked me up with Gerhard, aka the Coach, and Peter (Sutherland) at Peter’s art show. (Shout out to Maia!) I was with my skateboard and camera bag after a skate session and I think Gerhard like it. (Gerhard is a skateboarder and used to shoot skate photos in Europe & SF back then.)
You visited Montreal twice over the years, soccer tournaments during both occasions. Any memories you would like to share?
Both were truly amazing.
At the first tournament, I played goalie and it was rainy & windy day so it kinda sucked but was my first CSC trip so it def was very memorable.
And it was really hot on the second trip last year. I think Zach was barely able to run.
What does the future hold for Chrystie NYC? Any collaborations in the works?
We are working on a bag collaboration project for 21FW. We just got samples last week and are very happy with them.
Also, I’m talking with Angelo about a project with The Ringleaders for the same season or a season after. We would like to make it a bit more unique than ever.
While we salivate over a Chrystie NYC X Ringleaders collab, you can shop their S/S 2020 collection here: