This year’s prestigious 18th Samsung Fashion & Design Fund (SFDF) Award was taken home by working mother, designer, and founder of her own fashion label Ashlynn Park. Also an LVMH Prize 2022 Finalist, Ashlynn has been leading her New York-based fashion brand ASHLYN since 2021.
Collection Theme: Resilience
The theme of ASHLYN’s new collection is “resilience,” capturing the process and identity of being a working mother of two, and a designer who overcomes her own inner struggle and difficulties. One example is a jacket in this collection with a sleeve that looks as if it has been stretched out by a child tugging at its mother’s arm, pleading with her not to go to work.
ASHLYN’s new collection captures the identity and process of overcoming struggles being a working mother and a designer.
Making a name for herself
Launched in 2021, ASHLYN is the personal creation of Ashlynn Park, known in Korean by her birth name Park Sang-yeon. After completing relevant undergraduate and graduate studies at Ewha Womans University and Bunka Fashion Graduate University, respectively, Ashlynn worked in Japan for 6 years at two fashion houses designing men’s and women’s clothing before relocating to New York City. There she designed menswear for Calvin Klein before striking out to create her own eponymous brand.
Having worked in New York and Japan for a long time, Ashlynn Park was sometimes mistaken for being Japanese or Korean-American. One of the reasons she entered the competition to win the SFDF Award was to express her pride in being Korean.
After working in Tokyo and New York for other fashion labels, Park launched ASHLYN in 2021.
Seeking Sustainability in Fashion
Park prioritizes sustainability in the design process in a way that is different from merely using some recycled materials and marketing it as environmentally friendly. Above all, she aims for a process that avoids additional dyeing of the textile to cut down on unnecessary water pollution and waste. Furthermore, Ashlynn took advantage of her experience as a patternmaker to find designs that reduce waste material being thrown away. One of her own dresses is actually made from a single square piece of cloth.
ASHLYN seeks to create environmentally sustainable designs. One of its collection items is actually made from a single square piece of cloth without any waste.
But there is more to sustainability than the physical materials used; the work of creating fashion must be sustainable too. The industry has a reputation for long hours, skipping meals, and working to exhaustion. Ashlynn Park also experienced this trend, working for other brands while preparing to launch her own. So Ashlynn places value on fashion industry workers leading healthy work lives while also spending enough time with family. At ASHLYN, sustainability in fashion means working healthily to design good clothes that can last a long time.
18th SFDF Award
The Samsung Fashion & Design Fun Award was kicked off in 2005 to discover and recognize up-and-coming Korean designers around the world and help them to flourish in a systematic and practical way. Towards the end of each year one outstanding designer is selected for public recognition, receiving a 100,000-dollar prize as well as promotional activities and professional support to grow their business.
Park’s clothes embody the power of her resilience both as a designer and a mother of her children.
This year, Park topped the list, beating out other young prominent designers by scoring particularly high in terms of commercial viability, completion, and sustainability.
Choi Myung-koo, director of Samsung Fashion & Design Fund, said, “The finalists in the competition were evaluated as being excellent and having great potential to the point that it was hard to distinguish between them. We will continue to find talented designers to enhance Korea’s status as a fashion powerhouse and to strengthen our role as Korea’s top platform to promote K-fashion worldwide.”