The Art Institutes Interviews: Grace Ahn

Today’s interview from the Art Institutes show at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week is with Grace Ahn.

Emma: What is your inspiration for this collection?
Grace: My inspiration started as, since I’m doing menswear, my first question I ask myself is “What would I wear if I were a boy? What would I want in my closet for day to day wear?” And I was thinking that most men these days want to be fashion forward, but they don’t want to go too out of their box and wear something too crazy.

E: Since both of your parents were tailors, do you think that gives you a basis more for menswear than womenswear?
G: Definitely. My dad was a custom suit tailor in Korea, and that’s actually where he started his tailoring skills from scratch. I was really influenced by it because he knows a lot of these skills that most people have no idea about because these are from the original roots of custom tailoring. That’s why I told myself, I need to learn these traits because sooner or later no one is going to know these things, so I have to take it upon myself to learn it and expand on that.

E: What kinds of different fabrics and silhouettes are you using in your collection?
G: I have classic silhouettes, they’re a little bit tapered but not too tapered because not all men favor tapered. It’s all about the fit. I have a lot of textured fabrics, like embroidered fabrics, brushed cotton, different linins. Lots of texture going on and I love combining them because it creates something amazing.

E: Do you have any memories or advice from college?
G: The first years of college I was actually in nursing school, and I loved it. All throughout high school I was in clinical rotations, volunteering at the hospitals, and I loved doing it. Two years into college my sister passed away and I had to really think about what I wanted to do and that’s when I realized that nursing is not what I want to do for the rest of my life. It’s a good career, I love helping people and I love the environment, but I just couldn’t see myself doing it forever and that’s when I took a step back and though about what’s going to make me happy for the rest of my life.
I know we are told to listen to our parents and what they want us to do, and I totally get that. You want to do the best for your parents because they raised you, but you have to do what is best for yourself. You have to do what you’re going to be happy doing everyday of your life. Otherwise you’re going to go insane.

E: What internships did you have or what connections did you make during your college experience?
G: During my college experience, fashion wise, the only internship I did was Stanley Korshak. I made a lot of connections while working there- I met the CEO of J Brand, the designer for Brett Johnson.

E: Have those connections helped you at all?
G: Actually, yes. Brett Johnson and I share information and he shows me his lookbook before it ever comes out and asks me what I think about it because we are both doing menswear.
We share info like manufucturing and other stuff like that, so it’s definitely been very beneficial.

E: Are you nervous?

G: Yeah, I’m super nervous, I’m trying to keep my calm right now but I’m shaking inside.

all photos accredited to Elvia Gobbo


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