Korean American Jennifer Park is a friend to every girl looking for more than the usual fast fashion labels, but who still needs to be budget-friendly. Cue her line Funktional, which offers high-quality clothing at affordable prices. But beware — the line isn’t for wallflowers. Just look at some of Park’s favorite designers: Ann Demeulemeester, who favors deconstruction with intricate detailing, and Japanese designer Junya Watanabe, known for his innovative collections. Or her biggest celebrity client Rihanna, who was spotted wearing Funktional’s black “Cage” dress in 2009.
That year Park debuted Funktional with (you guessed it) functionality as the key, yet “far from basic,” she assures. Park’s inspirations come from the past, present and future, and her fashion-forward thinking shines through with each collection. Funktional’s selling point isn’t just the thrifty price line; it’s also wearable despite the futuristic elements.
Although Funktional is only two years old, Park has a strong grasp of the brand. It’s what you expect from a designer with 11 years of industry experience. With a fashion design degree at Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising, Park worked at juniors and contemporary lines, but there’s more to her pedigree. She also studied economics at University of California, Irvine.
“I want to believe that I have learned the business side of things from my economics degree,” she shares. “Both degrees have helped build a foundation to my career, but overall working in the industry for the past 11 years is what really gave me the courage to start my own line.”
Since Funktional is all about looking forward, we ask Jennifer to predict the next big things in fashion.
Favorite trend at the moment?
Bold printed pants and shorts.
One item you think people will be rocking this summer?
Bright color anything.
Your must have summer accessories?
Any labels to look into for hot wedges?
Chloe’s are always great, but if you want fun I’d go for Prada.
What’s your prediction on the next trend?
I am a bigger fan of originality than trend. I tend to look at people who are risk takers.
Who are the “risk takers” you look at for style inspirations and what makes them so special?
I tend to look usually at strangers on the street. From all my travels I tend to come across very eclectic people all over the world. They are special to me because they stand out but make it work for them.
What trend do you think has staying power?
I think it is important for a person to find their own style. Everyone should always experiment with their style and try new things and find what works best for them.
We’ve had few Asian celebrities become style “It” girls, like Alexa Chung who is Chinese-English. Which Asian American celebrity do you think will get that chance in the spotlight?
Maybe Rumi Neely, she is part Asian right? [Yup, she is of Japanese, Dutch and Scottish descent.] Her blog has a great following and she won the blogger of the year.