Model: @fagette4life_ Photo: @eugenetangible Hair / Make-up: @kimmhee_ @potatosino_
Assistants: @jiamingyou_studio @kimmhee_ @wgmg. Words: Jess Ralph
“My goal is to refresh people’s mindsets in our constrained world, and suggest new ways of viewing”
I think fashion should be seen as a bit more of a meatier subject? Sino Park does. The New York based, South Korean fashion designer and artist makes garments, wearable sculptures and accessories inspired by “trivial” objects, food and butcher shop flesh – blood, guts and all! Driven by the artistic logic of “making the familiar unfamiliar”, Park’s work explores how our view of what is seemingly functional and mundane
can be transformed with a slight eschewing of our perception – more, how the ‘familiar’, with a closer look, can be warped into the world of the uncanny, the absurd and the grotesque. “My goal is to refresh people’s mindsets in our constrained world, and suggest new ways of viewing.” she says. “Breaking the invisible rules we are trapped in, the invisible rules that make the world monotonous. I think it’s almost like I suggest absurdity as an exit out of reality.” From admiring the sugary decadence of a patisserie desert, to scouring the local market of her childhood homes of Seoul, Bauigo in the Philippines and now New York , food for Park is a multi-sensory lens for decoding the world around us. It is also a culturally complicated thing, and like clothing embodies meaning far removed from its utilitarian, survivalist function. “Food is
very complex” , she says, “It can be consumed as an aesthetic, or even as a fear when it comes to
pursuing a beauty standard.”.
“You are what you eat is a quote I’ve always found interesting. The action of taking in food, what I see as
engulfing food, sourcing energy, [and the process of it] in our body and intestines.
“You are what you eat is a quote I’ve always found interesting. The action of taking in food – what
I see as engulfing food – sourcing energy, [and the process of it] in our body and intestines.” Key to Park’s artistic practice is interrogating the way we (subconsciously) categorise the world around us. What is useful and what is not? What is interesting and what is boring? What is clean and what is dirty ? What is beautiful and what is disgusting? “Function becomes a measurement of value for something’s existence , and people tend to perceive what they think of as uncomfortable or unsanitary or useless based
on if an object is in the place where it should be. For example , intestines are vital components
for bodily function, but outside the body become grotesque and dirty. If a fork is made out of soft
material, it becomes useless”. Ideas around the abject body, and the dissonance between meat (food) and visceral flesh . After all, what makes our human flesh and blood any different from the vacuum packed chunks on the supermarket shelves? Who and what do we live for? Born to be Dead , Parks’ scholarship winning thesis collection, explores this meaty, macabre existentialism to its apex. In unconventional
materials of silicone , plaster and alginate, the carnivalesque garments-cum-sculptures take
shape in a viscerally textured colour palette of mostly red, pink and gristly off-white.
“I learned fashion is not just making clothes, but delivering messages with material and form”
There are evidenced references to historical costume; the clownish neo-renaissance ruff, the crinoline like cage structure underneath the thinly stretched, red splattered wrapping. The ruched black trousers, with their soft anthropomorphic limbs hanging lifelessly, are evocative of the stuffed hosiery sculptures of Louise Bourgeois. Park comes from a fine art background, and this has influenced her approach to fashion design. “I think it’s very natural for me to create bizarre works, simply because I did not know any
fancy [garment construction] techniques when I started! I started with what I know and it makes the boundaries between fashion and art blurry” she says. “I love the infinite possibilities of creating silhouettes, and how fabric can be transformed. I learned fashion is not just making clothes, but
delivering messages with material and form.” The message of Born to be Dead? Park recalls observing the “zombie-like” presence of rush hour commuters, and linking the feeling of their mundane, “trapped in’’ existence with that of the suffering of caged zoo animals. “I hope this collection is a reminder to reflect on life, and that people can find the true meaning of their existence and their ultimate goal that’s deep inside of them. It all may seem very dark and doomed but it has a positive message and hope in the core.” So, what’s next for Sino Park? “I had a hard time after I graduated about defining myself,” she says. “Am I an artist or a designer? Where should I start my career – fashion house or art studio? However, I’ve realised I’m a fashion artist and I’m glad people are becoming more open about multidisciplinary art. My goal this year is to figure out what my art can contribute to the world. I’m currently working on my mini collection that I’m excited to share very soon – stay tuned!”