Kimberly Drew, curator and author of "This Is What I Know About Art," lives in Brooklyn, New York.
HOW DID YOU FIRST BECOME ACQUAINTED WITH JONATHAN COHEN?
I think my first interaction with Jonathan’s work was through Instagram. I think I’d found myself on some research journey and landed on the page. Soon, I would find myself taking in his garments at fashion week and I’ve been hooked since.
FOR YOUR PHOTOSHOOT WITH THE STUDIO, YOU HAD THE OPPORTUNITY TO STYLE YOUR OWN LOOK. WHY DID YOU CHOOSE THE PARTICULAR OUTFIT YOU WERE PHOTOGRAPHED IN?
I have been really focused on working with, wearing, and supporting brands that are thinking critically about sustainability. When I saw the dress on the rack I knew it was the perfect choice. It’s glam, cozy, and thoughtfully made with upcycled crystals. It’s the perfect dress to describe my current style goals.
THE FASHION INDUSTRY IS CHANGING AT SUCH A RAPID PACE. WHAT DO YOU SEE AS THE BIGGEST CHALLENGES FOR THE FUTURE OF FASHION? ADDITIONALLY, WHAT DO YOU SEE AS THE MOST EXCITING OPPORTUNITIES FOR THE FUTURE OF FASHION?
I’m not feeling particularly optimistic about the future of fashion. That said, it’s designers and companies like the one that Jonathan and Sarah have built that helps me stay excited.
HOW DO YOU THINK FASHION, ART, AND ACTIVISM INTERSECT?
I don’t know if I can say how these three realms neatly intersect. I think there’s a lot to be said about how brands are misusing activist sentiments to sell their products. That said, I do think that these three things should always intersect. The question may be: how do make sure that the intersections are authentic and thoughtful?
HOW DID YOU GET INTO THE WORLD OF FASHION?
Through some strange lottery, I was kind of shuttled into fashion. I’d been working in the art industry for years and didn’t think much of how I presented myself. It was really women like Hikari Yokoyama who saw the work that I was doing and literally wrote my name onto a list of people of interest that got me into the door. Since then I’ve become positively obsessed with fashion’s role in the world at large. It’s such an incredible medium for storytelling. Art feels so insular at times. Being closer to the industry has taught me so much, but mostly it’s taught me that fashion is democratic which means there’s always an opportunity for it to reach new audiences. It the potential to reach more people that has kept me interested in carving out my own space within the world of fashion.
STUDIED MATH AND ENGINEERING… WHAT INSTIGATED YOUR SHIFT TO A CAREER IN ART? WHAT SPURRED YOUR LOVE OF ART AND YOUR LOVE OF FASHION?
When I began my college education, I was convinced that I had to study something practical to make a real contribution to the world and support my family. I entered college as a Math major with a Pre-Med focus. After two years fumbling through math and sciences, I landed in my first art history class by chance and never looked back. Following my love of art was one of the scarier choices of my young adult life, but at the time it seemed like the only way I could survive college. It was the only place where my brain felt active and alive. Years later, I still feel the same love and kinship.
WHAT WAS IT LIKE GOING TO WORK AT THE MET, ONE OF THE HIGHEST INSTITUTIONS FOR ART, AT THE BEGINNING OF YOUR CAREER?
It was one of the greatest gifts that I have ever had the privilege of earning. The Met is full of magic and a very demanding work environment. I couldn’t imagine being the person I am without having spent three pivotal years as part of their staff.
WHAT ARE YOUR BIGGEST GOALS FOR YOUR WRITING?
I always want to make sure that I am writing to broad, diverse audiences no matter where my writing appears. I want anyone who may read my writing in Vanity Fair to also be able to read the writing I may do in a book or for television. Legibility and authenticity are always key.
YOU TALK A LOT ABOUT STRIVING TO INCREASE ACCESSIBILITY TO ART, SO THAT EVERYONE CAN EXPERIENCE IT COMFORTABLY. WHAT DO YOU THINK IS NEEDED TO MAKE THIS HAPPEN AND HOW DO YOU SEE THIS NEED FOR ACCESSIBILITY IN RELATION TO FASHION AS WELL?
I think we all need to make a comment to access – as artists and as audience members. I hope more people in the arts will invite people who may otherwise not have a connection with the arts into the dialogue they are participating in with regards to arts and culture. I think there needs to be infrastructural changes: more funding so that admissions fees can stay low cost, better training and benefits for security guards, and more committee and community partners invited into museum decision making processes. But, beyond that, I think we each can have a roll in inviting more people to participate. I think fashion has a different set of needs around access. Whether we like it or not, we all participate in fashion in some small way already, or we’d all be nudists. I think the push in fashion needs to be about making garments for more body types, because somehow in 2020 we aren’t thinking that way on a global scale.