Kumi Ding is a Shanghai-based hatmaker, fashion designer, and the founder of Kumi Shop. Originally a professionally trained musician, Kumi had worked for five years in the fashion industry before establishing her self-titled design label, Kumi Ding. Themes such as religion, music, classical aesthetics, architecture, fairytales, and Eastern beauty are often visible in her work.
Kumi Ding是上海的帽饰设计师，也是Kumi Shop的创立人。音乐科班出身的她，在服装行业品牌市场公关领域工作五年之后，于2013年创立了个人品牌Kumi Ding，开始了设计以及制作工作。在她的作品里，你能看到宗教、音乐、古典美术、建筑、童话故事等元素，以及东方美学的气质。
During the fall and winter of 2013, English designer Piers Atkinson’s dinosaur baseball hats made ripples in the fashion world. Both inspired by and seeking to improve on Atkinson’s designs from a more female perspective, Kumi began to experiment with designing her own custom baseball hats. For her, the brim of the hat serves as a platform on which extravagant scenes – such as flower gardens, rainforests, old battlefields, or parties, can be created. Through the process of designing and manufacturing hats, Kumi found a consumer market that was eager for something new and fresh, leading her to establish the Kumi Ding design label.
2013 年秋冬，英国设计师 Piers Atkinson 的恐龙棒球帽倍受欢迎。但在她，作为女性看来，其设计呈现很单一且有点“硬”，所以她开始尝试做创意主题棒球帽。她将帽檐看成一个干净的平台，并把神秘花园、热带雨林、远古战场或派对现场等各种立体故事场景搬到帽檐上。也是因为这些棒球帽, 一下子让她发现了帽饰市场的饥渴，并在同年成立了个人品牌Kumi Ding。
Kumi calls her design studio a “hat laboratory”, in which new hats are created almost daily. Her designs span a wide range of creative approaches, from simple commercial designs, to extravagant runway designs and upper-class millinery, to more experimental and futuristic designs. Many of the hats that Kumi designs are one-of-a-kind, or are in need of custom alteration upon order. “Rich, multi-layered, with attention to ideology and creativity” – these are the common traits and main driving concept behind Kumi Shop.
Kumi says, “I’m a free spirit, rebellious by nature and perceptive, with the hopes of being independent in thought and action. I want to create new things and ideas, in order to express individual values.” Influenced by her musical background, she is a lover of diverse artforms, saying, “Art inundates my life, and a good work of art is like food for the soul. Sometimes inspiration is more subtle, and other times more obvious.” Thus, from materials to form and design, Kumi’s works embody a strong sense of art and individual aesthetic.
Kumi说: “我是一个自由主义的崇尚者，骨子里面叛逆，感性并且希望特立独行。我想要创造新事物与想法，以此实现个人价值。 ”出生音乐之家的她，热爱并关注各种形式的艺术。她告诉我们: “这些内容充斥我的生活，一切好的作品都给予我精神食粮，给我灵感，只不过有些细微有些明确。”所以，完全不难理解为何她的作品在材料形式设计上如此天马行空。
Many times, Kumi will be inspired by designs from other hatmakers, which she may expand on using her own approach. Her exploration of materials and form, and a more progressive mindset has also led her to incorporate 3D printing into the design process of her flat brimmed baseball hats. According to Kumi, the process has been challenging, but has also been well-received by the public.
Kumi Ding is passionate about each piece that she creates. For her, creativity is a process of never-ending change. Her ideas and products change with the times, so much so that sometimes she is unable to replicate works from her earlier periods, especially her higher-end works. She is currently working to expand further her series of 3D printed hats, and she hopes to reveal a new design series in spring and summer of 2016.