Sonya Park was working as a fashion editor when she decided to open her first boutique in 2003. "At that time, there were a lot of things that were not available here in Tokyo, specifically bath products and bed linens," explains Park. Dubbed "Arts and Science," she stocked the new store with hard-to-find home products and rare vintage items, and soon attracted an international customer base.
With the success of her boutique, Park--who also works as a fashion stylist--began focusing on her vintage collection. "The vintage was selling really well and I was quite sad to part with [the pieces], because I knew they weren't replaceable," she explains. "I was selling turn-of-the-century European pieces that were hard to find."
Park ordered pattern replicas of her favorite styles so she could "remember the shapes as a reference." Soon, though, she discovered she could reproduce the garments themselves, giving them her own contemporary spin.
The result was an unusually sophisticated in-house label that has begun making waves on US shores. "There are a lot of great designers who make beautiful clothes, but I wanted to make something that I would live in," she explains. "Not something for a special occasion, but for everyday."
Clean and minimal in design, every Arts & Science garment is painstakingly crafted, with most styles directly inspired by vintage pieces. "My inspiration comes from old garments, especially menswear and workwear," says Park. "[I prefer] things made for a specific person to measure, rather than 'ready-to-wear' pieces."
The entire Arts & Science collection incorporates Japanese fabrics. "I feel fabric is one of the main focuses of our garments," says Park. "Japan still offers small mills who are willing to work very closely to produce original fabrics, even on a smaller scale."
The result is a collection that feels both fresh and historical, modern but reverent. Now, if only Park would set up shop Stateside.