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Who is Yoon, the designer in A$AP Rocky’s video for “LSD”?

 

European audiences might have discovered her first in A$AP Rocky’s video “LSD”, but Yoon, one half of the Ambush duo is a fashion designer and hot news in Japan. We met up with her in Paris.

 

Since 2008 the Japanese label Ambush has been creating chunky pieces of jewellery that play on cultural symbolism: gothic skulls, esoteric eyes, onomatopoeia from comics and pop art, sculpted busts have over the seasons all been subjected to the brands special treatment. Brandished on rings, earrings and XXL sculptural necklaces, these symbols find new meaning in 21st century cultures. At the crossroads of hip hop (that fully assumes its love for bling) and the neon lit irony of J-Pop and K-Pop, Ambush's jewellery is popular with musicians from all backgrounds, all loyal to the label and who frequently sport it in their music videos. A success that's in part due to the quality of these accoutrements totally Made in Japan, but also the nature of their designers: Verbal, a Japanese rapper who's made hip-hop good in Japan, and Yoon, who used to be a graphic designer, are a big deal in Tokyo and friends with the coolest kids on the planet.

 

Ranked on the 500 main influencers in world fashion list since 2015, established by Business of Fashion, Verbal and Yoon are opening their first boutique in Tokyo in Autumn 2016.

 

They've also been making unisex ready-to-wear for a year now, with the goal of generating a more complete universe. Numéro met up with the splendid Yoon at the Parisian showroom where she was presenting the spring-summer 2017 collection entitled Surplus Sound System.

 

Numéro: Tell us about the idea behind this collection…

Yoon: The collection as a whole recreates the meeting between the punk scene and the reggae scene that happened in the 1970s. It represents that moment when the young were making a new sound, having found an original expression. I was inspired by the DIY aspect of punk that used random objects like safety pins, and I combined it with the militant side to Rasta and reggae culture. 

You’ve often worked with an incredible range of nuances in your metallic jewellery, but here you’ve gone back to the classic shades of silver and gold. Why?

This time the colours are taken from the ready-to-wear, and in order for the jewellery to evoke punk it had to be raw. We’ve made more sophisticated versions of locks and chains, barbed wire and safety pins – now very sculptural earrings that go all the way through the ear. The pieces are transformable and can be worn in various ways. Certain gold metal chokers have XXL charms. The links of the chains are broken, the big signet rings look they’ve been cut in two, and we see this spirit echoed in the buttons of a denim jacket that look like they’ve been smashed with a hammer. 

 

Why launch a ready-to-wear line?

Our jewellery is made up of pretty avant-garde statement pieces, the ready-to-wear is an easy way to explain our world. Originally we just wanted clothes to show the jewellery against for our lookbooks. We started with tops and the buyers loved them. So we started doing proper collections. Here I’ve been inspired by military garb. I created an officer’s shirt out of denim instead of khaki. The jackets become oversize capes, the trenches are exaggeratedly long, I’m also doing jumpsuits and XXL knits. The cables that link musical instruments to speakers have become motifs for the large silk scarves. All of it, I hope, offers an innovative vision of punk, military and reggae inspiration, with new proportions and nicer materials. It’s just a modern interpretation. I work in the same way as musicians, from samples, producing a sound that seems right for our era.

 

www.ambushdesign.com

 

Interview by Delphine Roche

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