The future of fashion has been envisioned in many ways. But for Yoon Ahn, the designer behind the fashion-adored label Ambush, it looks like AI will play a significant role in the design world.
On Oct. 3, the streetwear brand recently announced its latest collaboration with Coca-Cola. The limited-edition collection of T-shirts and accessories channel Ahn’s futuristic vision. This comes in tandem with the carbonated soft drink company’s new product called Y3000 Zero Sugar, a “Future Flavored” beverage co-created with the help of artificial intelligence that launched back in September.
Ahn’s take on the Coca-Cola collaboration gives a glimpse into what the year 3000 could look like – a holographic universe with lots of metallics and sequins involved. By using the Y3000 AI Cam for imaging, Coca-Cola’s new AI-powered tool, the designer ended up with three standout pieces: a necklace resembling the tab on a Coca-Cola can, a logo-adorned graphic tee, and a silver bedazzled shirt.
“Coca-Cola is such a heritage brand, and I wanted to see what Ambush could bring to the collaboration,” Ahn says of the partnership. “As a continuation of this ‘found objects’ jewelry collection I did years ago, we wanted to create a necklace resembling the aluminum tab to connect the past to the future. We also made T-shirt prints and used sequins to give that holographic effect as it changes color depending on the angle. I felt this was the best way to capture what the AI generated in the app.”
The Coca-Cola x Ambush capsule line will be released on Oct. 17 exclusively at AmbushDesign.com and select retail stores. Ahead of its release, NYLON chatted with Yoon Ahn about the collaboration and what she thinks the future of fashion looks like, below.
How did the opportunity with Coca-Cola come to be, and what were your first impressions?
Coca-Cola reached out first, and after explaining what the collaboration was going to be about and the features involved, I was instantly fascinated. We discussed what products we could work on together, a story of how Coca-Cola exists in our universe, and then how to co-create a future together in an imaginary world. Besides the merch we’re launching, there’s also this AI tool, Y3000, where people can access the link to play around with it and reimagine the interiors of the buildings or their surroundings.
After working with AI in your designs, what are your thoughts on it?
I think the AI itself is not a bad thing, but it’s always the people who are in control. It’s normal for people to freak out any time there’s a new technology development that gets penetrated into society because it’s not something they’re accustomed to. It’s just like when the World Wide Web first came into everyone’s lives, and people thought t it was going to be the end of the world, but it actually gave birth to so many different ways of communication and connection. At the end of the day, humans have to be responsible, but at this stage, and from a creative side, AI can be fun to test out things that you can’t do otherwise in a physical world.
What’s typically your philosophy when it comes to collaborations? How do you choose what brands to work with?
I definitely think about if I connect to the brand and the project at hand. We’re very consistent and have done many collaborations, but they’re all genuine and authentic because honestly, I won’t do a collaboration if I don’t see myself using it. Also, I like working with the best in any given industry — I mean, Coca-Cola as a soft drink is the best, right? How can I say no to that? I like to keep standards really high.
When it comes to the future of fashion, what do you think it would look like and why? What do you hope to see? How do you incorporate that vision into your work now?
Most people tend to just look at Fashion Week and those more intricate ideas and think that’s what fashion is about, but most of the population lives in real, everyday clothes. When you really look at that and the direction that we’re heading in terms of global warming and other social-environmental issues, I think protective gear will be needed more. I also see tech being integrated more into our lives and it’s already happening.
What feelings do you hope your designs will evoke now and in the future?
Right now, we’re focusing on restrengthening the DNA of the brand because we’ve been around for almost 10 years. With every decade, I think it’s a good time to reshuffle and rethink our heritage story, and that’s where we’re at. Having said that, we meet so many suppliers and manufacturers who come up with new ways of developing materials and printing techniques, so that will most likely be integrated into our future.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.