How Happiness And Purpose Inspired ÖHLIN/D

PHOTOS BY BRIDGET BADORE FOR THE ASSEMBLIST

PHOTOS BY BRIDGET BADORE FOR THE ASSEMBLIST

Meet Anne Deane and Jacob Park the duo behind the highly sought-after contemporary brand, ÖHLIN/D. Known for championing a fun and effortless approach to getting dressed, ÖHLIN/D's collections are conceived collaboratively, as they work with artists each season to bring a fresh and somewhat whimsical approach to the table.

If we're talking specifics, one can find a variety of eye-catching prints, refined silhouettes and thematic color palettes - all of which are details we love here at Brand Assembly. Though beyond just designing incredible clothing, if there's one thing you should take away from today's studio chat with ÖHLIN/D it's this: "We don't want to be in a bubble here at the ÖHLIN/D design studio. It feels really good to honor other people's creativity and attempt to build a community around that idea."

With this in mind, we were excited to visit Anne and Jacob at their Lower East Side studio where they gave us a glimpse into their world and shared more on their experience in the contemporary fashion space. Read on to learn more about ÖHLIN/D and also visit The Style Line for a second part of this feature.

Please introduce yourself!

JP: My name is Jacob Baxter Park, and I'm the Creative Director of ÖHLIN/D. I've worked with Anne Deane, the President/Founder and friend, for 3 years now. Outside of  ÖHLIN/D, I do a lot of styling, image making and yoga, and I write, direct and perform original plays and performance pieces. I love being outdoors... I value more than anything both my biological family and my chosen family and my chihuahua Mussy. 

AD: Hi, I'm Anne Deane, the founder of ÖHLIN/D. Although my work is my life – in a healthy, happy way – outside the office I quite enjoy spending as much time outdoors as possible (with my dog) or connecting back to my literary roots through reading or writing. This past summer I took a creative writing night class at The New School, which was a cool way to get outside of my normal day to day. 

We love the brand’s collaborative spirit, so tell us more about your ongoing collaboration with contemporary artists. Why do you think this makes sense for the brand and do you in a way consider ÖHLIN/D to also be wearable art?

JP: Fashion and art rarely embody the same thing for me. I think they are more often than not wholly separate entities. I love attempting to incorporate them together, but they have never fully become one for me. Sometimes I see it happen but very rarely and especially not recently. We love our artist collaborations though because we love spotlighting our contemporaries. We don't want to be in a bubble here at the ÖHLIN/D design studio. It feels really good to honor other people's creativity and attempt to build a community around that idea.  

How would you define “contemporary” fashion and what do you hope to offer contemporary shoppers that they can’t find anywhere else?

JP: I think that we have a lot of fun and that comes through in the clothing. Also shoppers can feel good about what they are wearing. Something happens when you invest in things that you know come from a sustainable and socially conscious process or at the very least a 100% transparent one. Personally, it makes me feel more in control of my own existence and grateful for what I have. 

AD: Partly why I created ÖHLIN/D came from my searching for something that wasn't out there. I pinned it down into two buckets: happiness and values-driven. Our customer is playful and has a unique perspective yet also expresses deep values of good - I think those come out through our clothes and spirit of the brand.

With a nod to ÖHLIN/D’s craftsmanship could you ever see the brand existing in other forms of design? 

JP: TBD! Overwhelmed as it is!

AD: In the dreams bucket!

How did you first connect with Brand Assembly and what has been the most rewarding aspect of being part of the designer community? 

JP: Industry folks are so dismissive of young brands. We struggled for a long time to find a community within it that made sense for us. Brand Assembly is such a cool environment, and everyone is so supportive. We are very grateful to be a part of that family... Also the snacks in the BA kitchen!!! 

AD: When we first met with Hillary and Alex, we felt an instant connection and felt the brands as well as environment were so well curated and respected. We couldn't say no. It's so rare to find a home in the fashion industry that has a sense of community and sharing -- we love that Brand Assembly supports that.

Who is the ÖHLIN/D woman and do you have any plans to expand the brand to cater to her growing needs as a contemporary shopper?

JP: She evolves every season, but at her core she is sensible, respectful of the world, and likes to have a little fun with her style. We've been growing with her since we launched the brand. In Spring 2014 she was walking around the Catskills in a see-through, glittery rainbow dress. I think it's safe to say we accommodate her evolution. 

What do you assemble daily? 

JP: I think we are consistently wrapping our minds around the fact that somebody is supposed to wear this stuff out in public… It's hard to be creative and practical... but the compromises we make for one or the other are super interesting.