In 2009 I found myself completely immersed in K-Pop culture, especially with BIGBANG’s G-Dragon. As a K-Pop fangirl it wasn’t just about listening to their songs or knowing the names of the members, but also about knowing (and wearing, if possible) what they wear. I have always been quite fascinated by G-Dragon’s flamboyant fashion sense, so as I go through style columns telling me what he wears, I discovered this badass jewelry designer making the most ostentatious pieces under a brand called AMBUSH. If the brand name didn’t stun you enough, then the actual jewelry pieces will. From barb wire necklaces to safety pin bracelets and cassette earrings – I’m sold.
Yoon Ahn is the Korean-American fashion genius behind these wild street pieces. Raised in both South Korea and the United States, Yoon grew up in diverse environments embracing different cultures. The skate and street generation she grew up in makes itself very visible in her jewelry designs.
AMBUSH is the brand she started with her husband, Verbal, a hip-hop recording artist and producer in Japan. Yoon only began creating jewelry for her husband’s stage outfits for they couldn’t find unique pieces that they personally liked available on the market. The shocking pieces didn’t go unnoticed – from their circle of friends to her rapper husband’s fans, their street jewelry line was born. Yoon used to be a graphic designer and had no formal fashion training prior to creating her brand, but in an interview with Refinery29 she says, “I feel like every day since [AMBUSH was created] has been like being in school. Everything has been learned on the job.”
Making a mark in the global fashion scene
Yoon Ahn’s creations used to only awe fashion enthusiasts in the Asian underground street scene but in just a few short years she has brought her art to the world. She dresses not only the biggest Asian stars but also the world’s biggest hip-hop stars, including A$AP Rocky, Kanye West, and Rihanna. Yoon also made momentous collaborations with renowned fashion houses Louis Vuitton, Sacai, Off-White, and Nike.
Designing jewelry for Dior Homme
Early this year, Dior Homme’s new artistic director Kim Jones appointed Yoon Ahn as the luxury designer house’s menswear jewelry designer. Let that sink in for a moment – an Asian woman designing jewelry for one of the world’s biggest couture houses for men – that’s truly something, isn’t it? While it is true that we have iconic Asian female designers thriving in the fashion scene, like Vera Wang, Monique Lhuillier, and Guo Pei, it’s still apparent that we have a smaller space to fill compared to those established names from Milan, London, or Paris. Yoon Ahn is more than just an Asian designer, she is a worldly representation of being able to marry diverse cultures through fashion regardless of race and background.
Despite being appointed for Dior Homme (Dior Men), Yoon believes that jewelry has no gender. It’s always about self-expression and how an individual interprets the aesthetics of her work. With her unique style perspective and vast understanding of diverse cultures, Yoon Ahn is truly a designer to watch out for.