“Dress in general seems… to fulfill a number of social, aesthetic and psychological functions; indeed it knots them together, and can express all simultaneously.”
- Elizabeth Wilson, Adorned in Dreams
Kim Jenkins specializes in the sociocultural and historical influences behind why we wear what we wear, specifically addressing how politics, psychology, race and gender shapes the way we ‘fashion’ our identity. Based in New York, she is a Visiting Assistant Professor at Pratt Institute, Part-time Lecturer at Parsons School of Design and amongst the pioneering cohort of graduates from the MA Fashion Studies program at Parsons. In Fall 2016, Kim debuted the undergraduate course “Fashion and Race” at Parsons, examining the implications of the social construct of race in fashion history, business and image-making.
In addition to teaching her own courses, Kim has presented guest lectures at The New School, The Fashion Institute of Technology, Pratt Institute and she will deliver the forthcoming "Diversity NOW!" lecture at Ryerson University (March 2018). Kim is also currently featured in the film for the Museum at F.I.T.'s exhibition, The Body: Fashion and Physique (December 5, 2017 – May 5, 2018), speaking about dress and the racialized body. Kim hosted her first workshop, “Fashion & Justice" (July 15, 2017), in collaboration with her colleague Jonathan Michael Square and the two will present their second iteration of the workshop in Austin, Texas on February 3, 2018.
Kim’s expertise has been called upon by Refinery29, New York Magazine, ELLE (Canada), Racked, Fashion Unfiltered and Not Just a Label and her work as an educator has been profiled by NYLON magazine (2017). Her academic research and writing has been published in QED: A Journal in GLBTQ Worldmaking, International Journal of Fashion Studies, The Fashion Studies Journal, Art Jewelry Forum and the exhibition A Queen Within: Adorned Archetypes at Art Basel.
Since 2014, Kim has been the host and co-organizer of “Fashion Talks” at Pratt Institute, interviewing luminaries the likes of Becca McCharen (founder of CHROMAT), designers Adam Selman and Telfar Clemens, author Simon Doonan, model and activist Yomi Abiola, "States of Undress" host Hailey Gates and photographer David Needleman, to name a few. Additional speaking engagements of note include two public conversations with legendary designer Stephen Burrows for the Museum of the City of New York, a New York Fashion Week-focused panel discussion on fashion and diversity at Phillip Lim's showroom and a sold-out panel discussion at Tishman Auditorium featuring Elaine Welteroth, Aurora James, Anastasia Garcia and Amy Farid, co-produced with Becca McCharen of CHROMAT.
In 2018, Kim is expanding her teaching platform into the public realm and working to advance the field of fashion studies. She became the grant recipient of The New School's Innovation in Education Fund in July 2017 for her proposed project, "Fashion and Race: Mapping a Decentralized Approach to Fashion History and Design Practice" and will present the culmination of her work in September 2018. Kim's service to the fashion system includes her involvement as a fashion curriculum committee member and as an advisory board member for The Model Alliance and the Inclusive Pedagogy Scholars Program at Pratt Institute. As of May 2018, Kim is a humble recipient of the Faculty Award for Outstanding Achievement in Diversity and Social Justice Teaching from The New School.
Kim was born in Detroit, Michigan and raised in Trophy Club, Texas. She currently resides in Fort Greene, Brooklyn. Amongst her favorite hobbies, she enjoys vintage shopping with a particular interest in Bonnie Cashin pieces.