Sun Mi Kim, 27

Broome St between Broadway and Mercer St

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Photograph: Jay Muhlin

Where are you from? I'm from Seoul, Korea. I'm at Parsons for fashion. This is my first year here.

How close did you ever get to sneaking into North Korea?I went to the line when I was young. It was a school field trip in history class. It's very sad because it's really close, but there are iron fences, so even though I can see there, I cannot go there. Some people whose families are in North Korea sometimes visit the line. They can't see their family, but [they go] just to visit because they miss them.

I hear that near the border, North Korea built a fake town to make it look like there's more wealth there than there really is. You mean like model buildings but people do not live there? Yes, I heard that too, but I didn't see it. They don't have freedom, I think. It's really sad. I hope it will change.

Did you grow up with a lot of American culture? Yeah. I could experience America even though I did not grow up here. I think both Korean culture and American culture influenced my childhood. When I was young, I liked to see the Disney animation. Like with mermaids!

That was a good one. So why did you choose to come to New York? I like the practical design of America, so I chose Parsons.

Practical like Lady Gaga? [Laughs] I think European designs are still more decorative. America is more wearable designs. And New Yorkers are very fashionable.

More from Sun Mi

"I really miss my mother's cooking. When I meet my Korean friends, we eat Korean food in Korea Town. If you like tofu, Cho Dang Gol (55 W 35th St between Fifth Ave and Broadway; 212- 695-8222, chodanggolny.com) is really good."

"You call me Sun Mi Kim, but in Korea I'm Kim Sun Mi. Sun mi is 'kind and beautiful' in Korean."

"New Yorkers have style. Also in Korea they do. But older people in Korea, it's hard to make beautiful, because they are busy [living] their lives. I think here, older people, they also have style. There is a special exhibition, "American Woman," at the Metropolitan Museum. I can see every person has a special style philosophy, and I think this influences their style, even if they're getting older. America is a really strong power in fashion design. They have history. I think it's different from Korea."

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