Erica Kim grew up in Southern California and currently lives in Toronto where she is a professor of architectural history. Since her graduate school days, she has maintained a fashion account as a creative outlet and a way to connect with people.

While she was at our workshop we spoke to her about design, clothes & more. Here are some excerpts of our chat with her..

Working at a design school, I have always been interested in how things are made. I was so happy to visit the World of Crow workshop in Ahmedabad, which is in Gujarat, India. As an art history major in college, I was fascinated by Indian architecture and sculpture, and my research focused on the history of colonialism and modernization. I knew how important the textile industry was to Indian independence. Seeing the studio and family workshops, and visiting Gandhi’s ashram gave me a new perspective on this history.

Not only was I excited to see Mumbai, Ahmedabad and Bhuj—where many of the family workshops are located—I looked forward to the food. I mostly eat vegetarian dishes,  and the local specialities did not disappoint! Shaila took me to all of her favorite restaurants, and I finally had the guava ice cream that the author Deborah Levy writes about in “Real Estate—A living autobiography.”

I first landed in Mumbai. I had so much fun visiting the fishermen's wharf, Sassoon Dock, Nita Mukesh Ambani Cultural Centre, flower market, and Dhobi Ghat, a neighborhood where they wash the city’s clothes. I took the local train where passengers hop on and off before the train even stops. On day two, I left for Ahmedabad, where I was greeted with a garland. We went for a Gujarati lunch and spa at a heritage hotel. We took a train to Bhuj, where World of Crow makes all of their prints and organic cotton. We spent the whole day visiting different workshops to see the whole process of making the fabric, and meeting the makers. We also selected some fabrics before heading back on a night train. There, we worked for five days, talking about fashion, fabrics, and food. I visited museums, mosques, temples, the old city, and ate so many delicious things.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve loved putting together outfits in new and surprising combinations. Growing up in a warm climate, I mostly wore hoodies and shorts, but life in Toronto means layering year-round. I like brands such as Crow that offer core pieces in new colors and patterns as well as special standalone pieces. When designing this collection, we revisited Crow’s archival pieces to imagine them in textiles that we chose during our trip to Bhuj. Every day at the studio we talked through design options. The pattern maker would create muslin samples so quickly that we were able to test our ideas day after day. I loved being in the bright studio with large windows overlooking the Sabarmati River. 

I love everything about the collection; it's easy, fun, classic, and cool at the same time. It can be mixed and matched in so many ways, offering versatility for all seasons and occasions. We've incorporated prints, weaves, and solids, ensuring there's something for everyone. 

  1. Romantic Dress This is one of my favorite designs. It's not only super soft and easy to wear but also incredibly versatile, suitable for any occasion from casual outings to more formal events. The voluminous sleeves are slightly sheer and perfect for hot summer days. It packs down small for carry-on luggage, making it perfect for your travels.
  2. Block Printed Black Skirt I've always had a penchant for checks, and World of Crow offers this skirt in a stunning indigo hue. When I came across the black version, I knew it was a must-have addition to our line. Its simplicity yet striking appearance makes it a standout piece in any wardrobe. Pair it with our retro shirt for a chic and timeless look.
  3. Artist Smock Living in Canada, where the weather tends to be on the colder side, I've developed a fondness for layering, a style choice I've mentioned numerous times. This smock shirt, crafted from organic cotton and dyed in natural colors, perfectly embodies my love for layering while providing comfort and sustainability.
  4. Pride of Crow Abstract The Pride of Crow is one of the most beautiful designs, and I was so happy to help design two new versions using textiles that we selected for this collection. The dress shape is very comfortable and looks beautiful belted or paired with a duster coat. I really like that the dress looks so different depending on the fabrics and colors. The pattern placement creates visual interest from every angle.

As I reflect on my journey with World of Crow, from exploring their manufacturing process in India to experiencing the versatility and style of their collection, I'm filled with gratitude for the opportunity to delve deeper into the world of slow fashion.

Discovering the intricate craftsmanship behind each garment, from the hand-dyed fabrics to the thoughtful design details, has truly been an eye-opening experience. It has reaffirmed my belief in the importance of supporting brands like World of Crow that prioritize ethical production practices and environmental sustainability.

As I return home to Canada, I carry with me not only a suitcase filled with beautiful pieces from their collection but also a newfound appreciation for the artistry and dedication that goes into creating them. Each item tells a story – of skilled artisans, of thoughtful design, and of a commitment to making a positive impact on the world. Thank you, World of Crow, for inviting me on this unforgettable journey.