Portrait of Kimi Zarate-Smith - GORE-TEX Roadshow

    Kimi Zarate-Smith


    Kimi works for Frieze, one of the most renowned outlets for contemporary art. Additionally, she was Editor in Chief of era journal, a magazine focusing on Arts and culture.

    Follow Kimi on Instagram @yungk1m

    A Conversation with Kimi
    How would you describe yourself?

    Impassioned – I would say a creative, but only when I figure out what that actually means!

    Tell us a bit about your city’s climate. What are your three favorite spots - in the summer, in the winter (outside)? What is your favorite method of transportation and why? How do you prep for bad weather if you spend time outside?

    London, especially with climate change, has seen some strange weather the past couple of years. Really cold and wet winters followed by insane heatwaves in Summer. But we’re known for our rain! Summer at Café Kick on Exmouth Market. Crowding around small tables, rotating picky bits – it’s like Bar Italia but a little less… Soho. Hampstead ponds is an all-weather favorite: heatwave relief in Summer, cold swims in Winter. It’s a mental health reset for me. But overall – it’s Seven Sisters Road, where I live – it’s incredible! Nags Head Market reminds me of wet markets in the Philippines, where my family is from, but I guess every culture has their version. There’s a Colombian place next to an Osakan ramen joint. A Filipino kiosk opposite an Eritrean restaurant, neighboring a Vietnamese family-run pho operation. There’s farm fresh eggs, bootleg bags, a haberdashery, hardware store, and nail salon in one corridor. You can even get your fortune read in a tiny, yellow painted Tarot cupboard. It’s a magical common ground there, and I really hope it stays away from whatever development company thinks they can get their hands on it.

    My favorite mode of transportation is the DLR. I think that part of London’s metropolis has so much history folded into its docks and harbors. It’s a good place to reflect, especially at night.

    I invest in high-quality layering pieces. If I know it’s going to rain, I will have a shell jacket on. I commute every day on the tube, which gets stuffy and hot. Light pieces give me the option to reconfigure how I’m insulated.

    What are you wearing today? Why are you wearing it, and did you have a particular weather scenario in mind when choosing this piece? What do you love most about your GORE-TEX product?

    Today I’m wearing my GORE-TEX Salomon XT-6s and my Arc’teryx BETA AR. My work sometimes requires me to stay late nights or to be outside, so I was expecting rain. I walk a lot too – I feel protected and comfortable.

    Where and when did you get this... Do you have any special memories connected to this item? If you could go anywhere, where would you like to take this piece?

    I got my Arc’teryx 9 years ago. I was in Seattle, the weather is rainy like London’s – but I had packed differently, as I had just come from Manila. I wouldn’t have been able to visit Mt Rainier without it. It’s my go-to for hikes in the UK, or for wearing on the way to surf in Newquay. I got my Salomon’s recently because I took my other ones to too many festivals; wore them for long shifts when I used to work in retail and hospitality; to university; studios; film sets; camping; Notting Hill Carnival; to a yoga Shala in the south of France, and to Mount Toubkal in Morocco. I’m looking forward to wearing these new ones and having them with me for many more adventures. I’d take these pieces to Japan. I’ve never been. I’m a huge fan of Japanese literature and art; it informs a lot of my writing. I’d like to explore the countryside and Fuji.

    Why do you think functional clothing has gotten more popular in recent years? Because why wouldn’t you want your clothing to be functional?

    I think young people are seeking out more time outdoors, especially post-pandemic. I’d even argue we’re more active, even if it’s the appreciation of a walk around your area on a Sunday morning, or taking a train to Eastbourne to hike. Londoners lead packed, stressful, busy lives, and we don’t often give ourselves due credit. Hiking collectives such as Athene Club have championed the community building and mental health benefits that time outdoors provides. Functional clothing makes me feel like I’ve got things under control, at least.

    How do you define the term “comfort” in clothing, in particular technical apparel?

    Easy to move in, little hassle, and personalized. Comfortable clothing works for me, I don’t need to do much more to feel comfortable. It should sit right.

    What are you looking for in the next six months and what challenges do you see that you’re excited about?

    My career’s really just started. I only just graduated! I’m excited to keep traveling and writing about things that inspire me, to mediate the shining and promising young talent of this city. I’m so lucky to be surrounded by some of the most creative people – I look forward to reminiscing on my twenties when I’m a grandma! Challenges – probably making time for myself, but I’ve got the most caring friends to remind me to do that.

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