Jongik, could you please briefly introduce yourself, and tell us about your first encounter with fashion? Who has influenced you to start in this industry?
Hi! My name is Jongik Park. I am originally from South Korea and am now a fashion designer in New York! No one in my family thought I would pursue fashion until my high school years after having watched a documentary about a fashion designer and somehow I was unable to shake off the idea of fashion design. I have worked in many different aspects of the fashion industry. I have been a stylist, a technical designer and now a fashion designer. Having to work in different areas broadened my perspective towards fashion. As a designer, my goal is always to approach customers, regardless of what I drew inspiration from, with a positive interpretation.
You have a very unique style. How would you describe your work to someone who has never seen it?
I always aim to incorporate some drama into my designs. My essence tends to be interpreted in soft silhouettes with dramatic details, and I also enjoy mixing various colors into my collections to create a subtle yet impactful statement.
What are the most important lessons you have learned about fashion design so far?
Being able to assess where I am! Everyone is on their path to improve and succeed. In order to do it, you need to be able to see what your strengths and weaknesses are. More importantly, you need to be able to see where you are at this moment so you can prepare yourself to move to the next level. I, as a designer, try to assess what my weaknesses are and have always been working to surpass myself.
What gives you ideas and what inspires you to create your beautiful work?
The inspiration for this project came from a fictional character, Miss Havisham from Great Expectations. She was jilted at the altar and decided, from that point on, to wear the wedding dress she was in for the rest of her life. I found that idea to be enchanting and I considered the wedding dress as a means to keep her mind intact. It inspired me to juxtapose a structured silhouette against soft details to convey that concept of having a rigid layer, hiding a vulnerable state of mind.
Tell us a bit more about your project "Happily Ever After". Is there any particular message you would like to get across to the viewers?
I wanted to bring Miss Havisham to 2022 and I started with the silhouettes from wedding gowns with classic fabrication. A skull detail was incorporated to convey the narrative and echoing silhouette was used throughout in order to keep the project cohesive. My aim was to portray and interpret Havisham in an elegant and elevated way while still delivering the story of her. I hope viewers can see the vision and drama that I mixed with this project, not only with the clothes but also with surroundings and editing, as well.
If you could go back and tell yourself one thing before beginning your career what would it be?
Try things and seek more! I think I was too timid in the beginning and should have been more experimental with my approach. I am still at the emerging phase of my career but I wish I was able to participate in events and even competitions to push myself.
If you could say one thing to someone younger who looks up to you, what would you say?
Experiment when you can! When I was at school, I thought I knew what my personal style was and kept to similar aesthetics. I wish I experimented more whether with silhouettes or details purely to have fun and experiment. After graduating from design school, there are less opportunities to be avant garde as it is not likely to be marketable; a strong component in real world design.
What's the most important thing you want your potential clients to know about you?
All I wish for my clients when wearing my clothes is to be happy and confident. I believe a good style can offer you that.
Where can our readers keep up with your work and get connected with you?
You can find me on Instagram where I share more of my personal work.
If you would like to see more of my work, please follow me @jongik_park_.
Fashion Designer: Jongik Park @jongik_park_
Photographer: Andi Bierlein @nyc.andi
Model: Katelyn De Levante @katelyndelevante