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Ambush’s Yoon Ahn tells me what everyone should be wearing this year

Images and words by Alyce Greer

All hail Queen Yoon.

As the creative director of Ambush – a luxury streetwear label worn by the likes of Kanye West and Rihanna – and the jewellery director of Dior Homme, it was only a matter of time before Yoon Ahn graced us with her next big thing. She just probably didn’t think that the next big thing would be a worldwide collaboration with a Japanese apparel company and a 1920s cartoon mouse. 

“UNIQLO UT approached [Ambush] about a collaboration with Disney. They asked me which female Disney character I really resonated with and for me, Minnie Mouse is such an icon. I never looked at her as Mickey’s sidekick. She’s the same as Mickey, except she’s wearing a beautiful red bow and an amazing dress,” says Yoon.

This appreciation for Minnie Mouse’s status (and her knack for a lewk) laid the foundation for Yoon’s collection for UNIQLO UT, a series that collaborates with iconic brands, people and designers to share messages through the humble tee.

“People can recognise Minnie straight away, so I wanted to play with the abstract side of Minnie, bring my own language into it and figure out how to interpret her in my own way,” says Yoon.

And that she did. The collection for women and girls – due to land in UNIQLO stores on Thursday March 5 2020 – puts a streetwear spin on our favourite lady mouse, with track pants, streetwear coats, bucket hats and of course, perfectly cut tees. It’s what Minnie might wear today if she were working as an art director in Tokyo.

While in Japan for the launch, and in between bowls of ramen, I sat down with Yoon to get her best style advice for 2020. I’d suggest taking notes. 

Invest in some ‘extreme casual wear’

“To me, Ambush isn’t doing streetwear. Ambush is comfortable, extreme casual wear – it’s a daily wardrobe,” says Yoon.

“People wear clothes for different reasons – for protection, to express themselves, to share a message – but at the end of the day, comfort has to be there. It’s on our body and the last thing you want to be thinking about when you leave the house is how uncomfortable you feel.

“I’ve chosen these shapes and styles based on what the Ambush brand is all about, and the functional ethos of UNIQLO. I wanted to make really good daily wear pieces that anyone can adapt and blend into their wardrobe: tees that can be tucked in, comfortable track pants, coats that have multiple functions. That comfort and versatility really mattered to me.”

Stick to a colour palette of black, neutral, pink and green

Yoon’s UNIQLO UT collection features four colours: black, beige, pastel pink and mint green, which mirrors the colour palette for Ambush’s Spring/Summer 2020 collection.

“I love the black and beige shades, offset with spring shades like pink and mint,” says Yoon. 

“If you want to go lighter you can coordinate the pastel colours against the beige, or if you want to go bolder you can wear them against the black to create more of a contrast.”  

Don’t ignore the timeless wardrobe pieces 

Yoon had a small but mighty list of key pieces that she said every single one of us should own. 

“If you haven’t already, definitely invest in a good pair of black trousers you can wear to work but also take out at night,” says Yoon. 

“A nice coat is always a good idea too because it can camouflage whatever you’re wearing underneath.

“A great T-shirt is key. All T-shirts are not created equal! They come in all different shapes and cuts and the best ones can be so flattering, and can be dressed up, too. Although T-shirts are traditionally seen as casual, the cut will define how you can play with it and whether it’s suitable to wear at night. 

“Lastly, I’d have to choose a cute novelty bag that you can have fun with.”

Take some risks with your jewellery 

Jewellery is a huge part of Yoon’s life, having begun her career by designing jewellery and now working as the jewellery director for Dior Homme. She is covered in precious gems and wears no less than six giant rings at any given time. So, after explaining Australia’s dainty jewellery epidemic, Yoon had some straightforward advice for treating jewellery like it’s part of the look, not an afterthought. 

“Try it,” says Yoon. 

“Just start trying things on and you’ll be surprised. When it comes to fashion, people get scared before they try things and then when they do they think, “Actually, I can do this! 

“Choose what you’re drawn to, whether it’s an earring or a necklace, and go from there to slowly build a collection.”

Consider function and creativity when putting together looks

“For me, what I choose to wear each morning is what I’m going to be in for the rest of the whole day, so firstly I consider my agenda. Think about your day and night, and how you can evolve your look throughout. Maybe during the day you need to wear a blazer for a business meeting, but you’re going to dinner afterwards? Layer something underneath the blazer so at night you can take off your jacket and transform for night,” says Yoon.

“Also, consider how you can wear pieces differently. When I created this collection, purity and versatility was very important to me. I cut the T-shirts in a way that was very flattering and made sure they were cropped enough so you can tuck them into other pieces in your wardrobe. I love the track coat because it’s long enough that you can turn it into a dress, too. Zip it up and pair it with boots or heels instead of sneakers to create a completely different look. It’s all about versatility.”

UNIQLO UT x Ambush x Minnie Mouse is arriving in Australian UNIQLO stores today. 

Alyce was hosted by UNIQLO at the UNIQLO UT x Ambush x Minnie Mouse preview in Tokyo. 

uniqlo.com/au

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