Jihye Sim Unzipped: ELLE Meets Fashion And Beauty's Rising Stars

From conjuring up set designs to designing innovative and fresh trends, ELLE lifts the lid on the talented up-and-comers in art, design and fashion.


When we set out to showcase Pandora's new-season jewellery collections in the November issue of ELLE magazine we invited three emerging talents in the worlds of fashion and beauty to dress and style the shoot – a fashion designer, make-up artist and set designer.

Now, in the first of three profiles, we meet the talent behind that shoot – first up, make-up artist, Jihye Sim.


Forget stories of playing dress-up at her mother's bathroom mirror or being seduced by glamorous images from the pages of magazines – ask make-up artist Jihye Sim how she first became interested in pursuing her chosen career and the answer is as pragmatic as it is surprising.

'My father,' comes the reply. 'He felt the beauty industry had a bright future and suggested I go into the field.'

So after attending 'beauty high school' in her native South Korea to learn 'the practical skills and basic knowledge of make-up, hair, nail and skincare', Jihye enrolled at the London College of Fashion (the only place in the world that offers a BA degree in hair and make-up, fyi).


Since graduating in 2014, Jihye has been steadily building her portfolio ('It's like laying a puzzle where the flow and pacing has to be right'). She's also working on developing her own make-up brand.

How has your heritage influenced your work and style?

The culture in Korea is very much geared towards a natural feel when it comes to make-up. They go by a kind of uniform ideal that can feel crippling at times. When I first arrived in London it was so liberating to be able to do something more eccentric so I did that for a while, but lately I have found myself shifting back to those roots.

What would you say is key to your style as a make-up artist?

I have a very contemporary visual style with some classic influences. I get most of my ideas from retro culture and fashion. Recently I've been looking at old portrait images from Korea in the 1920s, during my grandparents' time. The country has changed a lot since that period and the traditional style is a large contrast to modern Korea. I get a lot of ideas from it.

What advice would you offer to anyone else wanting to break into your industry?

If the picture isn't right then the image isn't usable, even if the make-up looks great. I believe that the key is to work with the right photographers and to focus on the image that comes out. When I realised that, things started to work more smoothly for me. By adopting a team mind-set I suddenly got much more quality work done.

How did you find collaborating with others at the ELLE shoot?

The vibe was very positive. The fashion and set designer were really talented and we found our groove together pretty fast. It was great because the people from Pandora weren't afraid to try things out. I did a lot of research before the shoot and the ideas I presented were well received. It was really important to really dig into the style of the brand and see how it could be implemented in the best way possible. The gorgeous jewellery worked like a charm in the images.

To discover more from Pandora, click here.

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