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Interview: TheKimbino

Interview: TheKimbino

Samantha talks to Kim Russell, known as @thekimbino on Instagram and Twitter.

She is a black fashion historian and researcher and has almost 70,000 followers across her social media platforms. With her well-informed, tongue-in-cheek and candid opinions on contemporary fashion, these numbers keeps on growing. Here, she shares with you her strategies, preferred platforms, and the changing landscape of fashion media. You will learn from on industry professional that is breaking the mould.

Tell us a little about your platform and the work you do there. How would you personally describe it?

I run an Instagram that basically has a little bit of everything on it. It’s mostly fashion related information and short witty captions with images we forgot about or sometimes have never discovered. I do like to think it’s a big archive for finding vintage fashion moments but I also think it’s a fun place for people to educate themselves or familiarise themselves with different designers. My page consists of everything from runway pictures to movie stills and interior design. It’s always nice to keep it fresh and I think that’s why I draw a fair amount of people in cause there’s something for everyone.

How do you use humour in your work? Why?

I like to use reaction pictures and just talk how I would with my best friend or my sister cause it just makes the content more personable. That’s my strategy on twitter at least but on Instagram posts it can be hard to incorporate the reactions or gifs into posts so I like to use them in Instagram stories and then be super witty in my posts. I don’t take it too seriously with the way I word things, it’s laid back and easy to read but I keep the element of education in there when I can.

Something unique about your social media presence is how you’ve managed to use the platform OnlyFans to create fashion content. What do you enjoy about this platform specifically, and what made you decide to use it?

I like the platform because it’s one of the few that is easiest to monetise, I’ll just be transparent on that. I have really struggled over the years to find ways to use my knowledge in a way that can also be monetised. I realised people kept asking me how, when, where, why I had gotten my foot in the door (somewhat) so I thought okay this is a platform that I don’t have to give all my information for free but it’s not at a ridiculous price point for people. So I started an Onlyfans! People can also sub and unsub as they wish like at the flick of a finger. It’s really easy on both ends.

How do you think the landscape of fashion media is changing? Particularly with regards to the new generation of fashion media voices and platforms?

I believe in some ways it’s becoming easier for non traditional people and entities to be in the fashion realm. And I mean it can be a good thing and a bad thing depending on who the fashion world is accepting to be apart of it. Just a few years ago we saw James Charles be invited to the Met Gala with Alexander Wang, this is really not a face in fashion that represents us. There’s so many POC who need someone out there opening doors for us. I think at this time the wrong people are being chosen to be these voices in fashion media. Now we have Addison Rae doing vogue interviews every two weeks when we well and truly know she took the renegade dance (that blew her up) from a black girl – this girl has yet to see these opportunities. Another example is YouTuber Ricky Thompson who’s personal style is off the charts and yet he is yet to step foot into a Met Gala. Weird.

How critical is humour in fashion media nowadays?

I think it’s great because you can kindly tell one of your favourite designers they can do better without fully being rude. I did this with Burberry recently and the head designer/patter maker reached out to me and followed me on Instagram, thanking me for my “real” review unlike what they are currently doing at vogue. We are all scared of being blacklisted – I definitely am but I also think it’s time and necessary for people to tell the truth! You can’t even get a real review on Vogue anymore because it’s all pleasantries and an interview about what inspired this totally crap collection.

Fashion is notoriously elitist, including in the media realm – do you think the changing landscape of fashion media, including this general movement towards less serious and more humorous fashion media, has been a good thing for combatting this?

I do as above I said you can make a real statement about what you’re seeing without coming off too harsh and mean because at the end of the day there’s a team of humans who put together what they thought is a master collection. There’s people who sewed and cut and tailored and hemmed till their fingers hurt. Hopefully one day i can write a real review for vogue. Even though it can be funny we are giving very real opinions about what’s happening on the catwalk or in magazines.

What do you think?

  • Who are your favourite emerging fashion media voices and platforms?
  • What do you think the future of fashion media should look like?

Further Reading:

https://i-d.vice.com/en_uk/article/dy8mnk/the-kimbino-is-the-fashion-researcher-hosting-tutorials-on-onlyfans

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