This season we are seeing the emergence of a trend that is good not only for the track, but also for the environment. And the creators love Ashlynn Park, the creative eye of the ASHLYN brand, create collections rooted in sustainability.
When she grew up in Hong Kong, Park always assumed she would be an architect, even choosing her as a specialty in college. âBut during my first summer vacation, I took fashion illustration lessons,â she recalls. âI even submitted my designs to a fashion competition organized by the Korean Minister of Industry – and I won. After that I changed my major to fashion design.
Since then, Park has worked for renowned designers like the San Francisco native Alexander Wang and Raf Simons. And while those experiences were instrumental in her career – and sparked a move to New York – it was her very first job as a fashion designer and pattern maker for a Japanese designer. Yohji Yamamoto this inspired her to create her own brand and to be conscientious while doing it. âYohji instilled in me a sense of pride and commitment to the quality of design that would stand against a world where overproduction and overconsumption in fashion has become the norm,â says Park.
Then COVID hit, and she found herself designing a collection under difficult circumstances. âIt was a time of serious pause, reflection and rebirth,â Park shares. âSo I took on the challenge of reassessing my role as a designer. How can I change the fashion system to reduce its negative impact on the environment? Park has discovered how fashion has an impact on the environment. âThe latest research indicates that fashion production is responsible for 10% of humanity’s carbon emissions,â she notes. âIt dries up water sources and pollutes rivers and streams. When discarded, 85 percent of all textiles end up in landfills or are burned each year. Even washing clothes, especially those made from synthetic fibers, can release microplastics into the ocean with every cycle. With our planet and our lives at stake, I wanted to take on the challenges of navigating ethical production and slowing the fashion cycle, while bringing beautiful designs to life.
With this firm commitment, she creates collections where items are pre-ordered and never mass produced. All materials are responsibly sourced, primarily from Japan, and the clothing is ethically handcrafted in New York City. And it offers tailor-made clothing.
Her fall collection, titled “Hibernation”, embraces the unexpected. Traditional silhouettes are reworked to reflect the lines of change. Deconstructed Mannish couture is juxtaposed with plush voluminous shapes and minimalist knit dresses. Park plays with undulating silhouettes in contrasting tones of black, white and cardinal red – a color that signals his resilience. Crepe suit jackets are surrounded by elongated ties and bondage straps and paired with cotton poplin shirts that explore unexpected folds. The dresses feature whimsical cutouts at the back and an air-dried cotton skirt plays with double-layered pleats. âAll of my pieces are built to last, and I intend each collection to sidestep trends and be worn season after season,â says the designer.
As for Spring 2022, Park is exploring transparency in construction while continuing to focus on building a sustainable brand and passing on what she learns to all who will listen. âYohji has always had great respect for the incredible artistry he put into his work, the attention to every detail and the emphasis on perfecting the inner construction of the garment,â she says. âI will continue to work this way and share this technique with my team and future generations of designers. “