Andre Kim was considered the first male Korean designer, and an unofficial ambassador of Korean fashion to the world. At a young age, Kim said he was always interested in the arts, and wanted to become an artist, or poet. He attended Hanyoung High School, and graduated from the Kookje Fashion Design Academy, established by famous designer Choi Kyung-ja in 1961. In 1962, the then 27-year-old Kim presented his first fashion collection, and opened Salon Andre Kim in Sogong-dong, downtown Seoul. A diplomat from the French Embassy gave him the name "Andre" saying he would need an "easy foreign name" to become a world-class designer. In 1966, he became the first Korean designer to hold a fashion show in Paris, where the French paper Le Figaro aptly described him as a "magician from fairyland".

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