Oct 04, 2019
Through my close friend Kim Jones I first became aware of Yoon and her work with him at Dior. She’s got such an impeccable eye for elevating even the humblest object with a cool and directional slant through her jewellery. And I love that she brings that same edge to her own personal style. Below, I hope you learn something new about Yoon and how she’s shaping jewellery design for today. VB
“Everything is abstract,” says Yoon Ahn of her design process and ethos. The designer behind haute streetwear label Ambush credits this to her experiences. The Korean-born, Seattle-raised, Tokyo-based designer employs a global perspective to her approach, fitting given her rigorous travel schedule. “I’m connecting dots and it becomes clear throughout the process. I like to keep the energy very organic. Not forced.” That thinking is what led Ambush (which she founded in 2012 and works on with her husband, Verbal) to be a finalist for the LVMH Young Designer Prize (in 2017) and be appointed Dior Men’s jewelry director (in 2018). So how did Yoon, who’s pieces have been sported by the likes of Kanye West, Kate Moss, and Rihanna, first find her footing in fashion?
“[My first fashion memory is] the Freedom music video from George Michael,” says Yoon of the iconic 1990 song that features the original supers—that’s supermodels—Linda Evangelista, Cindy Crawford, Naomi Campbell, Christy Turlington, and Tatjana Patitz. Seeing the fashion and music industries blur triggered something in Yoon who would go on to design jewelry pieces for Verbal before expanding Ambush into ready-to-wear. And the pieces take their cues from Yoon’s own wicked sense of humour elevating humble items from a carabiner or lighter into literal gold. Yoon’s first jewelry memory? “A crackerjack ring as a kid,” says Yoon, however, it’s clear that since then she’s upgraded the wares. “Dior is clear with Kim’s direction and I do jewelry,” adds Yoon. “Ambush is a bit more challenging. Because there are more categories and plans I have to overlook.” That included recent collaborations with Amazon and Nike both of which proved to be popular with the fashion cognoscenti and hypebeasts alike.
So where does Yoon draw inspiration? “People. Our environment and our relationship with it,” she adds succinctly. But her highly followed Instagram account is filled with the faces and places that provide the context behind her pieces. And some major makeup moments. “I know my face well so I’m pretty clear of what works, what colours work on my skin,” adds Yoon. “My signature would be a cat-eye and lip liner. I like definition.” Also clearly defined are her essentials while on-the-go. “Airborne tables, anti-bacterial wipes, noise cancelling headphones, and a neck pillow.” Any beauty must-haves? “Vitamin C. Make-up is nothing unless you have a clean, good canvas to work with.”