Yoon AhnFashion and Jewelry Designer

Yoon Ahn. Tokyo, Japan. September 21st, 2020.

Interviewed by Alexei Key


Yoon Ahn: A few years back, I made my mind up to pursue design seriously. I realized that all the answers we are seeking are right there for us in our very nature.

I find balance in reminding myself that if it’s something I love to do, it will not be as hard as I’ve made it out to be.

Every aspect of my work is always evolving, and staying on top of change is critical for future growth. The brand is growing; technology is changing; the world is changing. It happens to be that work is something I’m deeply invested in, so I have to consistently update myself like software.

To deal with moments when I feel stuck I usually forcibly put away mood boards or whatever stuff I have in front of me, so I have to look for new sources of inspiration. Also, I go for long walks and try not to get too lost in my head.

Yoon Ahn. Ambush
Yoon Ahn

I have never been a designer who only pursues a specific aesthetic over and over. My taste, process, and everything is always evolving because I like to develop and grow as a designer. This concept has been one of my biggest influences.

Vulnerability is important to my work and plays a significant role in it. Vulnerability is the willingness to show up and be seen, despite uncertain outcomes. It’s about being honest with yourself and willing to display all you are and share it with the world. Sometimes, you don’t have the answers; sometimes you are seeking them out while you are working. All of these aspects must be shared with your audience, because it’s essential that they know you’re just a human being on a creative journey.

My personal style is probably more minimalist now than when I was growing up. These days, I try not to think as much about what to wear in the mornings, so I keep color palettes more neutral and simple.

The most challenging obstacles I’d faced in my career were in the beginning. It was quite hard. I had no experience and did not go to fashion school, so everything was learned on the job or online. I made lots of mistakes which taught me real-life lessons the hard way. They helped me to become realistic and pragmatic, so ultimately, I appreciate those early challenges.

Something that I’ve found inspirational recently has been space. I have been wondering what it would be like to be out there in the galaxy and how other living beings might survive there. I get the sense that we humans would seem so primitive to a more advanced civilization.

We have entered a new era in fashion, a disruptive year in fashion. There are still many answers waiting, but to move forward, I feel we have to take one thing at a time since the pandemic we are facing is beyond our control.

The most important thing I’ve learned in my career so far is to keep going. You’re only as good as your last performance.

At the beginning of the lockdown, things were a bit tough because the world was all over the place, but things are much better now. I miss going places. Sample checks and certain meetings are better done in person, but I can’t leave Japan due to the travel ban. That’s the most frustrating thing, to be honest.

It’s hard to say what I would like my legacy as a designer to be or what I’d like to leave behind with my work. I’ll let you know when I’m about to die. I’m just going to have lots of fun, do things I love to do, and do as much of it as I possibly can.

Right now I’m raising my three cats. I just got a kitten and introducing her to my two other 8-year-old boys has been quite challenging, but good. I’m learning a lot about their other personalities, which I didn’t notice before.

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