Luxury journalist Kim Parker has loved jewellery ever since she was a little girl, when she inherited an amethyst and pearl ring from her Scottish great aunt. The Hong Kong born writer and brand consultant was the executive fashion and jewellery director at Harper’s Bazaar and Town & Country UK for four years, before leaving last year to go freelance. Now she writes for a host of UK and international titles including The Times, The Telegraph, Vanity Fair, Conde Nast Traveller, The Week, Net A Porter, The Glossary and Something About Rocks, as well as consulting with luxury brands. She lives in London (in Fulham actually, so not too far from the Kiki boutique!) and juggles her passion for jewellery with her other great love: equestrianism. She has ridden for the Household Cavalry in nearby Hyde Park for over 15 years and this year also qualified as an amateur jockey to race in the Magnolia Cup at Glorious Goodwood.
Can you tell us a little more about yourself and what inspired you to your current career path?
I’m naturally inquisitive (some would say nosy) and love meeting people and hearing their stories. I grew up in Hong Kong, which is a vibrant place, full of colour and sound and bustling people, so there was always something new to see, taste or experience.
After reading English at university in London, I entered a talent contest for creative writing at a glossy fashion magazine and scored myself a month’s internship there. This was followed by internships at other magazines and newspapers for another 18 months until I finally got my first job in the beauty department as an assistant at a magazine called Red. I stayed for years, rising through the ranks until I was made executive fashion and beauty director, then made the leap into the sparkling world of jewellery and watches. I was executive fashion and jewellery director at Harper’s Bazaar and Town and Country UK until last year, when I went freelance. Now, I write about luxury jewellery, fashion, watches (and, yes, still beauty sometimes) for all sorts of fantastic newspapers, online titles and magazines. I’ve worked hard to get to where I am, but I’ve also met some amazing people (including friends for life) and visited some incredible places along the way, so I am extremely lucky.
What have you found the biggest challenges to be?
Initially, breaking into the publishing industry. The competition is high, and London is an expensive place to live, especially when you’re an intern on low wages and don’t live at home. I was enormously fortunate to be able to make it work, but for many it’s often a matter of who can afford to survive the longest on a pittance before a job opens up, which isn’t fair. Now, it’s about keeping creative, fighting burnout, and convincing people of the value of good journalism at a time when everything can be reduced to ‘content’.
When did you discover your passion for jewellery?
I’ve been a magpie for shiny, pretty things for as long as I can remember. When I was little, I inherited a pearl and amethyst ring from my Scottish great aunt. It wasn’t an expensive or fancy jewel, but it ignited my fascination with the way jewellery can connect us, and act as a store for our stories.
You are a keen equestrian, most recently finishing 5th in the extremely challenging Magnolia Cup, tell us about your other passion - horses
Churchill was right. There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a (wo)man. Riding keeps me fit and it keeps me sane. My passion has taken me all over the world – I’ve ridden across Mongolia, through the Australian rainforest and over Moroccan deserts and I’ve made some wonderful friends. I’m lucky enough to be able to ride in Hyde Park in the mornings before work, which is blissful, and earlier this year I thought it would be a good idea to train as a jockey for a charity race at Glorious Goodwood. It was toughest and most exhilarating thing I’ve ever done. Now, I’m looking for my next horsey challenge, so watch this space…
What 3 words would you use to describe yourself?
Loyal. Sensitive. Creative.
What has been your greatest achievement?
Getting on a racehorse and riding at 40mph at Goodwood is right up there. But seeing someone on the Tube or on the bus reading a piece I have written never fails to thrill me, either.
What makes you feel powerful?
See above. That, and a spritz of good perfume (Prada Iris or Parisian Musc by Matière Première) always helps.
What is the strangest thing you have ever heard about yourself?
That I might be related to the Parker pen people. I wish.
What are your greatest sources of inspiration?
Other writers. My friends. My loved ones. Travelling. Seeing things. And time spent outside in the fresh air (ideally on a horse) or curled up somewhere cosy with something good to read.
What best describes your style?
I like unfussy, elegant clothes that fit in with my busy lifestyle. A nice blazer with jeans and good shoes, or a dress with lovely boots, jazzed up with some pretty accessories (layers of necklaces, earrings, or statement rings).
What does a typical day look like for you?
There aren’t really any typical days when you’re a freelancer. When I was training to be a jockey, I was up at 4.30am in order to be in the saddle and out on the gallops in Epsom by 7am. Nowadays, if I’m riding, I’m up with the lark (mercifully not 4.30am anymore, though) in order to fit in a ride and be back at my laptop, ready to work, at 9.30am. Otherwise, it’s a morning in the gym, before dashing into town to meet a designer, or interview a jeweller, or go to a watchmaking event, then lots more writing and perhaps a work dinner before collapsing into bed.
Looking ahead to 2023, what are your hopes for the future
I would love for the news cycle to be less angst-ridden. Other than that, more adventures, more stories, and a bit more joy for everyone.