LVMH Prize Finalist - Ambush
There are no better "couple goals" than those of Ambush. Originally founded by Yoon Ahn to restyle the image of her rapper husband Verbal, the line has since evolved into a total reconstruction of Japanese style. It's a notable feat for an Asian-American originally from the suburbs of Seattle, even moreso considering the patriarchal standards upheld by a large majority of Japanese culture—not to mention the fact that she is completely self-taught.
For Yoon, the recent LVMH Prize nomination came as a total surprise, especially since Ambush started making clothing only two years ago. The collection began as a jewelry and accessories line, but after landing their iconic POW! chain on the likes of Kanye West and Big Sean was expanded to create clothing as a canvas for their increasingly-popular accessories. Ahead of the LVMH Prize announcement, we sat down with the designer to talk all things fashion.
What prompted you to move to Japan?
I never thought about living in Japan until Verbal (my partner in crime) asked if I was interested. I gave it a try and now its been over 13 years.
How has being an Asian woman propelled you in the fashion industry? How has it burdened you (if at all)?
Something I realized when I got into the fashion industry was how male-oriented it was. No matter what background you come from, you will always have advantages and disadvantages, so I try to focus on my strength and excel at it. I think with the younger generation of designers and creative heads, people are really open to people from different backgrounds, so I think it's an exciting time with new energy flowing.
What do you want most out of fashion?
I don’t expect anything out of fashion, but as long as the destiny allows me to work and create in this industry, I want to deliver things that will make a mark in history.
Your top 4 designers dead or alive?
Rei Kawakubo. Walter Gropius from Bauhaus. Steve Jobs. Martin Margiela.
If you weren't in fashion you'd be...
I don’t really wonder what else I could be doing because I have just been so focused on this path for many years. Perhaps something with animals like a zoo or a vet?
Do you feel you have a responsibility to reflect the times and make political statements in your art? If not, why? If so, how are you accomplishing this?
There is a clear distinction between being an artist and a designer. I don’t see myself as an artist. We live in time so certain ideologies might get reflected in the tone of the design/collection. However, I try not to mix political statements into my designs. I believe my role as a designer is to makes things people want to wear and enjoy no matter what’s going on in the world, not forcing my views and beliefs on the customers. We are not that kind of a brand.
Describe your new collection in one word.
In an industry with such high energy and momentum, how do you relax and take breaks from the world of fashion?
I usually try to go to places that have nothing to do with fashion where I can pack very little and be able to walk around in my bikinis.
How do you want to be remembered?
Still figuring that out. I’ll let you know in 10 years.