The 9-year-old actor Alan Kim, who won the hearts of audiences worldwide after appearing in Minari, is on his way to becoming a fashion plate. His first stop: Thom Browne, a brand that the breakout star has worn to multiple awards shows, including the Oscars and the BAFTAs. Now, Kim is the star of the label’s latest campaign for its childrenswear line, which launched at Paris Fashion Week in January of this year. That collection—which consisted of shrunken down versions of Thom Browne’s standard Catholic school uniform-inspired fare—debuted with a simple black-and-white film. And the new advertisements, shot by Cass Bird, mirror the pared-down aesthetic.
In the video, titled “…Another Day in the City…” a case of role reversal takes place: suddenly, Kim is the adult—reading a newspaper with breakfast, grabbing his suitcase, adjusting his kid’s tie—and a fully grown model plays the role of the child. Kim walks the model to school, drops her off, and waves goodbye, while wearing a seersucker shorts look, complete with striped knee socks and horn-rimmed glasses.
Browne said he first happened upon Kim, like most people, while watching Minari. He knew the young actor’s precociousness would work perfectly in the short film.
“It was easy to communicate with [Alan on set] because he was a professional,” Browne told W over e-mail. “He’s a charming kid.”
Meanwhile, for Kim—who spoke via Zoom—meeting Thom Browne was a bit of a shock.
“I guess I was pretty amazed,” he said. “I never knew that it was an actual person, I thought it was just a store.”
When asked what he likes most about the Thom Browne label, Kim said, “Mostly everything: it’s comfy, it’s not too thin to make it wrinkle so much, but it’s not so thick to make it feel like you’re a bear in the summer. I feel bad for all those animals who have fur in the summer because they have no other way of cooling down other than sitting somewhere cold.”
At the moment, Kim said he’s not working on anything, acting-wise—but he will be soon, he hinted, adding that he can’t say more. This summer, he’ll also begin filming the Latchkey Kids movie. Aside from Hollywood, could he see himself doing more fashion campaigns, perhaps another one with Thom Browne?
“Yeah, I guess so,” he said. “I’m not sure, maybe in the future. You never know, I’m not a fortune teller.”
Perhaps he’ll don Thom Browne, his awards season favorite, for next year’s Oscars. But for now, he looks back on his tux from the 2021 Academy Awards fondly—especially since the outfit came with a special surprise.
“It was sent [to me] signed by Thom Browne,” he said. As for where exactly Browne gave his autograph, Kim still isn’t entirely sure. “Maybe around the back part?,” he said, scrunching up his nose. “I don’t know. When I went to the Oscars, I didn’t pay attention to anything. I just played Nintendo.”