KING OF COOL: Kai Lumieres for SUSPEND Magazine

Kai Lumieres is a man of practicality. Kai stopped by the studio a few weeks ago with a big hug and a duffel bag of items he quickly put together for our impromptu shoot. When I incorrectly assumed his affinity for designer goods, Kai was quick to mention that the pieces he's had in his possession have stayed with him over the years. Case in point: his thick black boots he brought to the shoot and heavy duty jacket, which he recently released, 3PEAT x LUMIERES Heatclub Mechanics Jacket.

DIANE: Hi Kai! Thanks so much for meeting with me a few weeks ago at my studio in Downtown. Since we met, your 3PEAT x LUMIERES Heatclub Mechanics Jacket released exclusively at Heatclub.com in an edition of 50 jackets. Can you tell us how this jacket collaboration came about?

KAI LUMIERES: I was walking around and browsing the Melrose/Fairfax flea-market one day and came across this Harley t-shirt with a tiger on it. I was very inspired. After that, I was dying to do something animal-related so I went home and made a graphic with a tiger on fire! I offered the design to a couple stores I won't name, but 3PEAT took a liking to the design right away and offered to help me with it. No puns intended –the tiger was on fire and 3PEAT’s website was Heatclub!

How does it feel getting feedback and seeing individuals wearing your latest jacket collaboration? “Sensational.”

How long have you been living in Los Angeles and what state did you live in before? “I moved from Vietnam to Minnesota seven years ago, and I recently moved to L.A. about one and a half years ago.”

You mentioned your early fascination growing up riding motorcycles. What was the first motorcycle you rode? What’s your dream motorcycle you’d like to one day own? “My first motorcycle was a Yamaha XS400! It was a project between me and my friend to turn it into a bobber! I don't have a specific dream motorcycle, but I do want to start building and riding motorcycles again as soon as my life is stable and I have the funds for it.”

Typical day for you? “Nothing is ever the same really, the only thing that is the same is me being hungover almost every morning to be honest.”

Your style is pretty effortless and very utilitarian. You wear pieces that serve a purpose, are efficient and sensible. How does your own personal style dictate the pieces you design for Lumieres by Kai? “You're spot on! I hate beauty without functionality.”

What’s next for you? “Now that I've ventured into other industries, I'm able to find the funds to help me progress with fashion! I'm finally able to start an actual capsule with fully cut and sew pieces, so that's exciting..”

Where do you feel most SUSPEND-ed? “Orochon Ramen in Lil Tokyo.”

Interview and Photography by Diane Abapo

Follow Kai on Instagram at @kailumieres


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Diane Abapo Founder and Editor-in-Chief at SUSPEND Magazine.