Ami Park was born in Seoul, Korea and later moved to New York to follow her dreams and develop her career in fashion. In 2016 she graduated from Parsons School of Design with a BFA in fashion design and began designing for private labels.
Ami has worked for some of the biggest brands in the industry, including Alice & Olivia, which is a known favorite of Angelina Jolie and Anne Hathaway. She also spent some time working for Derek Lam, where she was a key participant in the brand’s role in the SS15 NYFW runway. Today, the impressive young designer owns her own brand, collaborating with magazines, photographers, celebrities and holding exhibitions worldwide.
In the summer of 2018 she even exhibited some of her designs in Paris during the SS18 Paris fashion week. Earlier this year, Ami released her latest collection, MOLD. The remarkable pieces reflect the in-between, with garments deconstructed and disconnected, somehow appearing simultaneously delicate and sturdy.
The extraordinary nature of Ami’s designs derives from the active engagement they solicit from the viewer. Although the garments look only partially put together by traditional standards, whether they are truly closer to completion or total disintegration is up to the viewer.
Ami has received countless praise for her original, cutting-edge designs, and celebrity singer/songwriter Cory Wade chose a piece from the collection to wear in the music video for his song, “There For You.” Also, recently, Grammy Award-winning U.K. singer-songwriter, artist, record producer, Imogen Heap, dressed MOLD collection for her world tour concerts.
A CONVERSATION WITH FASHION DESIGNER AMI PARK
TPM: You’ve reached such a high level of success at a very young age. Did you always know you would be a fashion designer?
Since I was a young girl, I have always loved clothes, accessories, bags and style. My mother greatly influenced my curiosity and attention to fashion. She has always been my greatest idol and inspiration, and I have recurring memories of watching her sew when I was a child. I think that this led me naturally into fashion.
TPM: What or who has influenced your work as a socially and environmentally responsible brand?
Well, I really enjoy any and all materials relating to fashion, art, food, nature, etc. I have learned over time that these human concepts and nature are intertwined. Without nature, there would be no human culture, fashion and art. Thus I think that humans have a responsibility to reduce the size of our negative impact on the planet.
TPM: Your newest collection, MOLD, is revolutionizing the way nature informs the fashion industry. Can you tell us a bit about this creative process?
I was intrigued by the shapes, textures and colors of mold so I decided to participate in a biological experiment run by Ali Schachtschneider (a designer/researcher in biotechnology, and the author of Vivorium) and Annelie Koller (a multi-scale designer and the author of Cultivate). This workshop explored how bacteria can be used as a design medium to make printed textiles. Subsequently, I moved on to creating textile design with various crafting techniques: painting, embroidery, knitting, felting, etc..
TPM: You speak often about ethical issues in the fashion industry. Is there a particular area to which you may want to apply your high level of esteem to promote change?
Since I am a textile designer, I appreciate craftsmanship, and it essentially drives my design. Fashion industry sources often outsource work like embroidery, embellishment and dye to homeworkers in the developing world. These workers play significant roles in the fashion industry, but the data shows a severe lack of transparency in the supply chain. Knowing that there are millions of these handworkers out there, most of them female, I worry about issues of fair wages and safe work environments. This is something that I am very passionate about in particular.
TPM: What should a customer expect when buying your clothes?
I strive to design clothing that is meaningful and mindful, an outlet for creative thinkers and productive discussion. I hope that my customers feel that they are expressing themselves in my clothes. My idea of fashion does not revolve around following the latest trend. It is about interacting with the world around us in an open and positive way.
TPM: Given your impressive record of recent success, is there any advice you would like to give to new designers still trying to find their place in the industry?
I think that the industry can be too fast-paced and hectic to appreciate failure as a part of growth. I encourage young designers to experiment without the fear of failure. Mistakes are the key to improving experience and style, two fundamental aspects of fashion design. It is important that young creatives be given time and freedom to navigate their creative mind and artistic perspective.
For more, visit Ami Park’s official website: www.ami-park.com