From a young age, it seemed that Sohee Park would be destined for a career in fashion — even if she didn't quite know it yet. Her mother, a prominent children's book illustrator ("she's quite famous in Korea, she won many awards," Park says), served as a big artistic influence on her growing up.
Up until high school, drawing and painting were the only outlets where she could express the fantasy world she created in her head as a result of spending time in her mom's studio. But it was a chance viewing of a Chanel fashion show on TV in 2012 that flipped a switch for the young creative, leading her down a path that would begin at Central Saint Martins.
"I wanted to challenge myself, and I've always been so ambitious, so if my parents are paying loads of money for me to study abroad, I'd rather study at the best school I can," Park tells me over Zoom from London, where she's been based ever since graduating from the venerable institution with her BA earlier this year. (Buzzy designers like Harris Reed and Yasmina Atta also graduated from CSM this year.)
The Girl In Full Bloom
Throughout her studies, Park interned under the likes of Marc Jacobs and Molly Goddard, where she honed her strong, ethereal aesthetic and penchant for sculptural silhouettes. (She helped make all the flower brooches and headpieces for Marc's Spring 2020 show.) Her debut collection under her namesake label MISS SOHEE, "The Girl in Full Bloom," was produced entirely during lockdown with no final-year fashion show to present it at. Instead, she released a series of striking photographs capturing her demi-couture, floral-inspired pieces on model Georgie Hobday.
"Everything was so difficult making that collection," she admits."First of all, I had to move all my dresses to my apartment. And I don't live in a big apartment, I can't just make five gowns in my room. I ran out of fabric, all the fabric shops were closed, so I had to do a Skype with the fabric shop guy for him to show me the fabrics. And then it took me a week to receive the fabric, because all the deliveries been delayed and everything. So, it was a mess. I would not like to go back into that situation."
Christian Cowan Spring 2021 X MISS SOHEE for NYFW
"But I think then, I was so desperate to finish this, because it's basically the highlight of my five years of studying in London, you know?" she continues. "Since the school shut down, a lot of my Korean friends, they all flew back home. I think I was the only one that left that was staying here because I really wanted to finish it, regardless of the pandemic."
The imagery captivated industry heavyweights and young fashion lovers alike. Looks from her graduate collection (big on gradient hues and iridescent fabrics) were featured on the cover of LOVE magazine, a coup for any emerging designer let alone someone straight out of university. Christian Cowan was blown away by her talent and asked her to collaborate with him on a trio of looks for his Spring 2021 collection. She's already dressed Bella Thorne, Jhene Aiko and Munroe Bergdorf.
A pivotal moment came a few weeks ago when Miley Cyrus wore a MISS SOHEE Peony Gown for the backdrop of her "Midnight Sky" performance on The Graham Norton Show thanks to her stylist Bradley Kenneth. Given Cyrus' fashion transformation during her new era, the look reverberated throughout social media and pull requests started to pour in from all over.
Because of the sudden attention, Park decided to stay put in London and put off her job search for the moment. Going forward, she plans to keep working on custom looks for celebrities and orders from private clients. "I'm kind of forced in a situation to launch a brand," she says. "I haven't been applying for jobs or anything, but I'm just constantly working for myself. I'm just going with the flow, but it just seems like, as a small designer who just graduated, the way for me to get my name out there is by collaborating with celebrities. And they love my work, so yeah, that's my big focus at the moment."