Jene ParkThomas WyldeLos Angeles, CAPhoto & Story by Lauri Levenfeld
1. What were you like as a child? Who are you today?
I was the middle child of 4 which means I had to compromise myself and work hard to live in a civilized environment. As a result, I have never gotten a chance to misbehave. I was the one whom always listened and obeyed my elders, did the right thing, studied hard (top 10 academically for my entire school life) and helped everyone in the family.
I grew up in a middle class household. We did not have a lot financially but we had an abundance of love, good morals and a strong sense of honoring one another. Who I am today comes from the strong moral values I learned from my childhood that truly shaped me.
2. Describe your life’s work.
I always wanted to create. Create something for people to enjoy. I did not realize that my creations would be in fashion until a much later stage in my life.
I started my fashion career much later than other people might have, but once I discovered my passion for fashion I was unstoppable. I always worked hard no matter who I work for. The part I love the most about my industry and work is that I am constantly learning new
things and evolving.
3. How did growing up in S. Korea contribute to your visual mind, design and aesthetics?
In our culture, presenting yourself by properly dressing is very important aspect in life. How you dress and present yourself defines your class and who you are. We also value quality which means beauty comes from the quality. That philosophy is found throughout my work and the products I design. I like to make good products that reflect the value you invested.
4. Where did you get your rock & roll sense of life and style?
I am drawn to music and lyrics. Everybody has a little bit of rock and roll attitude in them (if not, you should). I have a lot of friends who definitely have a rock star attitude and I am deeply inspired by having them in my life. I wanted to join their cool rock star club.
5. You dress celebrities and models for the biggest events, what’s your favorite part?
I enjoy connecting with people who have similar sensibilities and values that I have in life general. It is very inspiring to dress professionals who truly pursue what they believe in and work hard to achieve it. It is absolutely my honor and pleasure to dress each and every one of them. I have admiration and appreciation of the relationship with my star friends and I do hope in return I give them a bit of pleasure by dressing them in chic and edgy clothes that I design.
6. Who is your ultimate icon?
Coco Chanel, for creating a style that is timeless and chic.
7. How has running a business prepared you for motherhood? And vice versa?
Nothing prepared me for the motherhood. No other job is ever as important as being a mother. Becoming a mother truly taught me the lesson that what I make is not just for one season but for a lifetime to enjoy and cherish. Your children are truly the product of you.
7b. How do you balance your obligations to both?
It is not easy. It sounds cliché but again, I try to make the best out of whatever I am engaged in at the moment.
control over which means to not to sweat the small stuff and chill out once in a while.
8. Breakdown a Day in the Life of Jene Park
The first thing I do when I wake up is to read all my emails, texts and messages that came in during the night from all over the world. I will reply to the ones that require immediate attention for about an hour, then I work out for about 30 minutes at home usually watching fashion related videos or shows. I always eat a Korean style breakfast before I go to work, and I get to work around 10:00 or 10:30.Then it’s hands-on work with my team from design, marketing, sales, production, logistics, accounting and even legal. I usually work through the lunch hour, attending endless meetings and answering my team’s needs. I usually finish my office work around 6-7pm. When I don’t have business obligations, I have dinner with my family and spend some quality time with them. Then after 9, I work with my factories in Seoul, Korea up to around midnight when I finally end my work day. The last thing I do before I go to bed is read the rest of my emails, flip through fashion-related magazines and engage with social media. This routine never changes even if I am on a vacation in a very remote area in the world.
I can’t imagine not connecting to the people I do business with even for one day. This is my way of life and normal for me to be connected and engaged with the people I do business with at all times.
9. What was your biggest curveball? Your biggest surprise?
The departure of my long-time partner. I think it is hard to lose your partner in life but it is just as hard losing your work partner. Life happens and sometimes it is beyond your control but it is a super difficult thing to overcome.
10. What’s next for Jene Park?
I enjoy mentoring the next generation. It is tremendously rewarding and gives me great pleasure to guide and help the talented people who are driven to achieve their dreams. What I learned in this industry is that I want to share my experience and knowledge to help other people and make a difference in other people’s lives.
Favorite Expression? “the crying baby gets the milk”
Early Riser or Night Owl? Night Owl for sure.
Sugar or Organic? Organic.
NYC or LA? LA!!!!
Dream Getaway? Bora Bora.
Vinyl or Spotify? Spotify
IG or Snapchat? IG
Paris or Milan? Paris
Name One Thing You Do Daily? Work
Noisy Parties or Intimate Dinners? Intimate Dinners
Name the Guests at Your Ultimate Dinner Party. My close friends and family.
Big Splurge? Vacation
Must-Have Item for Thomas Wylde Summer? Ruffled shorts in cotton, denim and leather.
Favorite Music? Pop
Favorite Smell? Chanel No. 5
Your Best Joke? When I first met my husband, I told him that the only thing I know how to make is a “reservation”…