After breaking through as one-fourth of the hit K-pop group Kard, Matthew Kim's solo career really started to take off last summer.
The 29-year-old heartthrob, known to his legions of fans as Big Matthew, has released several singles and videos that racked up millions of views on YouTube, including his trap-rock track “LIE (Lost in Euphoria)."
His hunky good looks and style quickly caught the eye of the fashion world, scoring front row seats at Kenzo and Balenciaga and a runway debut for Boss in Milan. His latest fashion endeavor is a campaign for Hugo, the younger, Gen-Z line of Hugo Boss (he was their face for Spring earlier this year).
On the day of his Hugo Fall 2022 campaign launch,PAPER caught up with Big Matthew to chat about his solo career, foray into fashion and memorable fan encounters.
What was it like to be part of Hugo's brand refresh this year and how does it feel to stay on for another campaign?
It was easy-going with an emphasis on self-expression and diversity, it’s something that resonated with me. HUGO’s targeted more towards a younger market, there’s a lot of cross-over with K-Pop. I’m happy to stay on for another season as it’s important to keep experimenting and pushing boundaries.
Is there anyone in particular you want to collaborate with in the future outside of fellow campaign stars SAINt JHN and Selah Marley?
I want to focus more on collaborating with artists around the globe (Denmark, France, Spain and the US), Doja Cat and Giveon to name a few.
Is there a social media platform that you are currently interested in and why?
Tik-Tok is an interesting platform, it’s quirky and more lighthearted since there’s an active element to it. With Instagram, it’s becoming more and more difficult to stay connected with people - I still used it a fair amount though.
Craziest fashion week experience? What do you like most about Fashion Week?
I like that you run into people from just about anywhere, whether it's people from film, music, architects, designers, etc. It's got a good energy and pace when it comes to it. Rolling off COVID-19, going back to shows helped me get inspired to try new things and see outside the box. Other than that definitely the fans, I love the fans for all the love and support in Paris! No crazy experiences during Fashion Week so far!
You made your runway debut at Boss x Russell Athletics last fall. Is modeling something you'd like to spend more time pursuing?
I’m open to exploring it more, the whole experience was positive, very nostalgic. All things considered, it’ll probably depend on the timing and the project since my main focus right now is music and acting.
How much time are you spending between Korea and the US these days?
I cycle back and forth between the US and Korea (if it’s not Europe), closer to 60:40 split at this point. I don’t really get to spend too much time at “home”. With my current schedule, I’m focusing more time into the Americas this time around but plan on being in Europe again in the fall.
What else is in the pipeline this year? Solo Tour? Acting?
This year has been about focusing on myself and trying new things. I’m preparing for a new solo with a bit of change up in genre and vibe, I feel really good about it. Aside from that, I’m working on developing my interests in acting in the US/Korea, this is something that I’ve been wanting to do for sometime.
K-pop fans are very passionate. Any memorable fan encounters/stories?
In a recent encounter, a fan told me my music is helping her recover from self-harm and on another instance, a fan mentioned that it’s helping her try new things. There are also times when a fan(s) sends a catered service or meal(s) for the entire team, it's kind of wild when you get 50-100 boxes of food, drinks, and coffee delivered to your room. These encounters are all memorable - K-Pop fans are some of the most respectful and organized.
Photos courtesy of Hugo