May I Introduce: Sohee Park
Aug. 9, 2020
Labels: On track, May I introduce
Sohee Park is a 24 year old fashion design and merchandising student hailing from Seoul, South Korea. Having first been enthralled by the escapism granted through the art of illustration as a young girl, Park realised that she could transfer her imagination from paper into reality through design. After moving to London at a young age, the designer felt displaced in her new culture and turned to illustration and design to find her sense of belonging. Those 2D fantasy worlds of a young girl’s dream that once lived solely on paper had the opportunity to bloom into the floral dystopia visible in her final collection for Central Saint Martins. The collection was inspired by the concept of a girl evolving into a young woman, drawing parallels to Park’s own growth into a young woman herself as well as her artistic growth from illustration to design. Stunning and vibrant gowns with long trains, caged crinolines, and show-stopping prints and colours are a constant in her collection. (via bafcsm)
Having previously worked at Marc Jacobs, Sohee’s collection is an incredible representation of her impressive design skills. While keeping tight-lipped about the unique techniques used to produce such fantastical garments with intricate and grandeur floral creations, the designer claims that the key of making her collection is her use of prints and colour, as every look was either digitally printed or hand-dyed. As a little girl, she often found herself daydreaming about a beautiful universe within her head, describing it as ‘a romantic, glamorous world exploding with floral fantasies, with beautiful, elegant women walking down streets in gorgeous gowns with their pink and purple poodles in tow.’ (via bafcsm)
LOVE: Your final collection is beautiful, congratulations. Did it turn out the way you had imagined? Sohee Park: Thank you! I would say it has! It’s been a very tough journey creating my pieces in lockdown and it definitely took longer than expected. However, I was able to manage everything from home and I'm so happy how it turned out. Especially the big green-pink gown is the dress that I’ve been dreaming of for a long time. Almost like my childhood dream dress.
LOVE: What was your starting point? Sohee Park: My starting point of the collection was my illustrations, it is an outlet I use as escapism and to portray my fantasy world. A world full of glamour exploding with floral fantasies. I’ve been an illustrator my whole life, and I started fashion because I wanted to transfer my imaginations from paper to reality.
LOVE: What would you say is the ‘Sohee Park' silhouette? Sohee Park: I always adored the delicate shapes of flowers, they are like mini sculptures to me. We have been using flowers as decorative elements for thousands of years, and I assume that this will go on. My silhouettes are hugely influenced by their structural shapes. Overall, I try to keep my silhouettes bold, elegant and sexy.
LOVE: Your collection was heavily influenced by elegance and a by gone era of glamour, do you think glamour will make a return? Sohee Park: Definitely. There has always been a market for couture and glamour, but couture has always been very exclusive and specific to a certain clientele. I would love to see more of glamour and elegance brought onto the streets. If I were to start my own label, that would be my biggest aim.
LOVE: How was your CSM experience as a whole? Sohee Park: Growing up in Seoul, South Korea, I spent my childhood in a conservative non-art school. I remember being called out during math class for doodling on my textbooks. I never really seemed to fit in as I was stuck in my own thoughts and was very different from my peers. It took a lot of courage for me at a young age to come to London, and CSM especially represented freedom and liberation to me. I was finally able to thrive in an environment where my tutors pushed me to become the most extreme and craziest version of myself. I was always so inspired by just being inside the building, surrounding myself with such inspiring people. I will really miss the school and the creative environment.
"The slim black dress with the 3D blue flower bolero would be my favorite piece," commented the CSM graduate on her favourite design. "I think it is more of an art piece, as it will make someone look like a sculpture almost. While looking at the poppies in my vase, a thought struck me: “What if the poppy was big enough to rest on someone’s shoulders?” That was the starting point. And it took me months and countless hours to develop the right shape and silhouette. It reminds me of Alice in Wonderland when Alice first encounters the flowers. I love how this look is so surreal but also glamourous!" (Sohee via LOVE)
LOVE: Lockdown was an unusual time for everyone, how did you find it making your collection amidst a global pandemic? SP: Due to Covid, we are all going through the toughest times. Every process became so slow as I had to work on 5 potential ball gowns in my small apartment without proper equipment. I was frustrated, but also at the same time the situation really motivated me to finish my collection. I wanted to create a really beautiful collection and present it to the world. I wanted people to feel inspired again and deliver them joy during the darkest times. It’s the most meaningful part about what I do, and what keeps me designing.
LOVE: Do you think you would have done anything differently? Sohee Park: I’ve had some changes of plans because of the pandemic. During the initial stages of making my collection, all events were being cancelled – including my fashion show. From a perspective of a designer creating ballgowns, seeing the Met Gala or any big social events being cancelled left me very confused. I continued making my collection, but took a different approach. I made the dress into a separate top and skirt, so that they could be styled separately into ready-to-wear. I made the long train for the dress detachable. I added a lot of accessories, such as gloves or bow scarves to style with, so that I don’t miss out on the market for accessories.
LOVE: Talk us through one of your favourite pieces and the work behind it? Sohee Park: The slim black dress with the 3D blue flower bolero would be my favorite piece. I think it is more of an art piece, as it will make someone look like a sculpture almost. While looking at the poppies in my vase, a thought struck me: “What if the poppy was big enough to rest on someone’s shoulders?” That was the starting point. And it took me months and countless hours to develop the right shape and silhouette. It reminds me of Alice in Wonderland when Alice first encounters the flowers. I love how this look is so surreal but also glamourous!