Younhee Park still sees all the fun in fashion.
Despite its endless hours, addictive nature and contribution to the stress she quells with laughter, the designer behind South Korean label Greedilous would choose fashion over and over again.
Especially now that the worlds of garb and gaming are melding thanks to the metaverse.
At New York Fashion Week in February, Park created an AI-designed collection in a show that brought the metaverse to the runway. As part of a collab with South Korean tech company LG AI Research, Greedilous tapped into its AI artist Tilda (who’s a little like an avatar in a game world) to create the season’s collection.
“I wanted to show the world of metaverse through my fashion,” Park told WWD from her studio in Seoul, with the help of a translator. “AI technology is still evolving, it’s still growing and I think this is also a huge part of art, just like fashion. And brands like Gucci and Burberry, all these high-end brands are collaborating with metaverses and none of them have actually done a fashion show before, so I wanted my show to be sort of the first AI fashion show.”
Through interacting with Tilda (who hails from Venus and specializes in illustration and pattern design), and using the keywords “flower” and “Venus,” to assess what flowers might look like on Venus according to Tilda’s imagination, Park yielded a series of new prints and patterns for the high-style, multihued coats, maxis and even socks and bucket hats that came down the runway. Each model in the aptly named “Flowers on Venus” show appeared in green wigs reminiscent of Tilda’s computer-generated hair and red smoke filled the stage so, as Park noted, “everyone at the show would feel like they were on Venus to interact with Tildas that are actually popping off the screen.”
“Because the metaverse right now isn’t a place for us to physically be, I wanted to sort of step that up and create a place where humans could actually interact with Tilda in her world through the show,” Park said.
And it was a success. Since the show, celebrities including Miley Cyrus have been reaching out to Park, influencers are sliding into her DMs — and Western brands and retailers are watching.
“This was by far the most fun show that I’ve put on and it’s not going to be the last,” she said, noting that K-beauty and K-pop aren’t the only things rising out of South Korea. “I think Koreans, because of the internet and globalization, I think it’s happening because we’re ready to say and show, and to make things that are very personal to us, but we have found a way to do it in an engaging way, if I may say.
“It would be safe to say that more of deep Korean culture is going to be shown throughout our fashion industry from now on and I think it will be really good for both [the U.S. and South Korea] because I think we’ll be able to inspire each other. There’s a lot to show,” Park said. “A lot is coming.”
In WWD’s latest “10 Questions With,” find out more about the colorful designer behind the colorful brand, how her pup is linked to what she wants to manifest, and which luxury labels she aims to be aligned with in the next five years.
1. Describe your design style in one word.
Younhee Park: Greedilous.
[It comes from] greedy and fabulous. My life is the same story, greedy and fabulous, Greedilous. The reason why I came out and started my own brand is because I wanted to learn more about myself and I love that personality that I have which is very greedy — I want more everything. But I also want to be fabulous because what’s life without fabulousness?
2. What did you want to be when you were younger?
Y.P.: The same, a fashion designer. My mother was in fashion design, my father is an English professor and when I was younger I used to cut off the curtains at home, I used to make my own garments and clothes. And I also got in trouble because of that. And my mom, one day she kicked me out!
3. If you could use any technology (existing or not yet invented) to create a product or experience for fashion, what would it be and why?
Y.P.: If I could, I’d want to use a time machine and go back in time and talk to Coco (I love Chanel) and talk to Yves Saint Laurent and talk to Balenciaga, all these amazing teachers because I see them as teachers. I’d want to ask them how they created such a powerful idea. I also want to ask them “10 Questions” myself so I can enrich my knowledge and wisdom and creativity. And I want to ask them about my collection as well, what they think of it.
I think foundation is the key for anything and because of them, because of the foundation that they built even though I’m Korean and I don’t share the same culture as them, but the fashion speaks for everyone. So that’s what I want to use if I may use any technology that I can.
4. What’s one thing you couldn’t go a day without?
Y.P.: My dog Rich. My dream is to be rich. In Korean culture, when we say the word of what we want to be or what we want, if we say it out loud many times over and over it happens. So, I named my dog Rich. So I can’t go a day without my dog. Rich is a man’s name but I don’t care, my dream is to be rich!
5. What’s your favorite color, and if that color had a taste, what would it taste like?
Y.P.: My personal favorite is red and it would taste very sweet. When you’re stressed you have chocolate, you relax and I want to give people sweetness.
Red [is] passion, passion is very sweet. Dreaming and planning for the future and thinking about good things is sweet and red is a symbol of passion for me, so when I see red it tastes sweet.
6. Is there anything you wish would come back in fashion?
Y.P.: The fashion of Vivien Leigh [British actress who played Scarlett O’Hara in] “Gone with the Wind,” so the fashion from then [which spans Antebellum hoop skirts and ruffles to ornate Gilded Age gowns], very the extra, the hip accentuation and gowns, very dramatic. And the corset, that very small waist. It’s very uncomfortable but I want it! I want to try those clothes, I want to be in that era, I want to go in the carriage. I’m curious about that whole era in fashion, the umbrellas and gloves. And I want to meet someone like Napoleon.
7. How would your friends describe you?
Y.P.: My friends often tell me that I’m very funny, very energetic and also very caring about my craft and work incredibly hard. And my friends tell me that I’m very charismatic also. I believe today, whatever you do, you have to PR yourself, you have to brand yourself and I’m really glad that I have that in me, the celebrity side, the fabulous side in me.
I’ve also made friends with the officers at the immigration border because I have so much luggage every time I go back and forth from New York and my English is not good but because of my good humor and personality I’ve made really good friends with all these officers at the borders.
8. What makes you laugh more than anything else?
Y.P.: Myself! Just like I am laughing now, every day I’m like hee hee hee.
9. What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done and would you do it again?
Y.P.: Being a fashion designer. This is not for everyone. I can’t sleep, I don’t smoke, I don’t drink because I can only do as much as my body allows me so it’s whatever I’m doing I need to be able to stay up as much as I can so I need to be healthy. Every day [it’s] vitamins, omega 3. And I would do it over and over again. I don’t do drugs but if drugs would exist in a different form, I think fashion design would be one of them.
I always say this is my last collection, my last season and I’m here for 25 years strong.
10. Where do you see Greedilous in five years?
Y.P.: LVMH and Kering contacting me, and big companies making investments.
In five years, I see myself choosing which companies I’m going to sign with because they’re all going to be hopefully contacting me as the first Korean designer. That’s my goal.