Talking SUOAK With Designer Elly Geana-Park
Elly Geana-Park began designing, what would quickly become, a childhood dream of pure palettes and patterns. SUOAK is a contemporary and eclectic brand dedicated to the modern family. After having given birth to her little boy, Elly Geana-Park began applying her knowledge of womenswear into the world of children’s textiles and apparel. petitePARADE caught up with the designer in New York City to talk a bit more on her inspirations, career, and what’s next for the emerging brand. Merging unisex pieces into gorgeous dresses for little girls and detailed button downs for the little man, SUOAK’s ritzy aesthetic has captivated the attention of international buyers and specialty boutique stores across the nation.
pP: Your designs were a hit on the mini-models this past petitePARADE. We know you typically design for the tiny tot, any plans to expand to an older age group?
EGP: petitePARADE is a very exciting time to showcase our latest collections. Indeed, we initially focused on babies and toddlers, but in response to our customers’ growing demand we began to produce for a wider age range, up to pre-teen (14 years old). We are offering some styles for mom and dad as well — these are quite popular in our Asian markets, where the parents and kids matching is a big trend.
pP: You've designed and sold in both New York & Tokyo, what are the difference in the two consumers and inspiring cities (as a designer)?
EGP: They are both very inspiring cities. Japanese are some of our most sophisticated customers and I am very glad they appreciate our design. They have an eye for one-of-a kind and well-crafted high quality products. I see people in New York are more focused on practicality, especially in the children’s wear market. They prefer to distinguish more clearly between girls and boys; so unisex garments can be a difficult sell.
pP: Your prints and designs have a classic yet transpiring aesthetic; What can we expect for the upcoming collection?
EGP: For our upcoming 2014 fall-winter season, I was inspired by stained glass art — the richness and brilliance of color, amazing patterns and dynamic composition. I feel they are glamorously beautiful but whimsical and exciting at the same time. We decided to use colorful metallic glittered wool and rhinestone, quilted double jersey, paisley printed velvet, and ornament embroidered cotton laces.
pP: How did you get into designing and choose the younger age group of children's apparel?
EGP: I was in womenswear for some time and after I had my first child, I realized there are not that many clothes or brands that appealed to me. I didn’t want him to wear something cliché, or be a miniature version of adult fashion, so I decided to create something uniquely stylish and fashionable, a tribute to the wonderfully expressive personality children carry.
pP: Do you use adult fashion to forecast trends for childrenswear?
EGP: Yes and no. I think it is necessary to stay informed and inspired about everything that’s new, in and out in the fashion world. However, childrenswear, as we know, has a strong commercial and traditional component, so we need to strike the right balance between timeless and being on trend.