DAUL KIM: The sad fashion story

“My parents are a typical strict Asian family. I had to prove to them that I was serious about modeling. Now they understand that it is good and it has made me more responsible.” i-D, July 2008. Kim was born in Seoul, South Korea, on 31 May 1989. She regularly featured in magazines such as British Vogue, i-D and Dazed & Confused. In South Korea, she appeared on the covers of South Korean Vogue in August 2007 and May 2008 and in Harper’s Bazaar in July 2008. She had made her international catwalk debut at Paris Fashion Week in 2007.

Karl Lagerfeld, Vivienne Westwood, Chanel and Alexander McQueen and Christopher Kane are among the top designers who consistently used Kim to showcase their latest collections. She also modelled for H & M and GAP. In 2008 she was named Model of the Year by Anan magazine. She also appeared on the South Korean series I am a Model in season 3. In June 2009 she appeared nude in i-D magazine, sparking criticism in her native Korea. Her career was developing when she moved to Paris, France, in 2009 to model for Next.

Shortly before her death she had appeared on the cover for the Australian Russh in November 2009. Kim was a keen painter and on 10 August 2007 she held a solo exhibition of her artwork in Seoul. She was also a fan of Klaus Kinski and his films and collected forks. She had a tattoo of a star on the inside of her left hand.

Kim was discovered hanged in her apartment in Paris on 19 November 2009 at the age of 20. The Paris prosecutor’s office ruled her death as a probable suicide. Kim had suffered from depression and frustration for a long time, and had voiced her frustrations in her own weblog and in her paintings.

As far back as 2007 she had left often violent posts of self angst related to self-mutilation and suicide and, exhausted in April 2007, had posted “I am going to smash my face… My life as daul was so miserable and lonely. Please join my loneliness in another world. I love you all. Daul.” She then added. “KIDDING. I’m fine. Just tired.”

She had also described suffering from insomnia and had admitted that she liked to torture herself. In October 2009 during New York Fashion Week she left a post on her blog describing herself as “mad depressed and overworked.” She became the ninth South Korean celebrity to commit suicide in 2009.

Daul’s last post included a song titled “I Go Deep” by Jim Rivers. The post was titled “Say Hi to Forever” and under, Kim wrote “best track forever.” Daul worked hard to bring environmental awareness and action to the youth of South Korea as the spokesperson for the Korean Federation for Environmental Movement. South Korea has the highest rate of suicide among the 30 nations belonging to the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development, according to BBC.