We’re so excited and proud to be introducing Par en Par on Golden Edit. When we launched Golden Edit, it was our dream to create an online destination bringing together curated summer essentials that would support artisans and independent brands across the globe, while celebrating travel, craftsmanship, quality and sustainability. As a female founded and run small business, supporting fellow women founders is at our core, and discovering special brands that are doing wonderful things is such an exciting part of our journey.
"Versatile women's resortwear" is how founder Laura Choi describes Par en Par. We first met Laura in New York last summer while she was in town for her pop up (she’s based in sunny California), and instantly warmed to her calming nature, passion about minimalism and commitment to creating ethical collections. Launched in October of 2017, Par en Par is inspired by the duality of relaxation and effort. The collections balance elegance with ease and durability with lightness, creating purposeful clothing that’s adaptive to any journey. Their design ethos is simple: create with intention. Before designing each collection, the brand carefully considers the fabrics — where they come from, their impact on the earth — and source them from artisans committed to craftsmanship and sustainability, selecting breathable, handwoven cottons that pack beautifully and will take you from one adventure to the next.
To celebrate Par en Par's launch on Golden Edit, we sat down with Laura to talk about her vision for the brand, sustainability, travel, and what’s next...
Tell us about Par en Par - what made you decide to launch the brand?
The core of Par en Par stems from the love of travel. Living in New York City while developing the brand, I was traveling a lot to spend time in nature. And while the rest of my wardrobe was starting to distill down to versatile pieces that would stand the test of time, the resortwear in the market felt super loud and kitschy. I created Par en Par to bridge the gap between clothes you wear on your travels, and also back in the city. It’s the ultimate collection for women who do it all.
What’s the concept behind the brand?
Par en Par reconsiders resortwear. In a world of loud resortwear in the Instagram age, Par en Par is about minimalism, thoughtful creation and consumption. All of the fabrics are of natural and / or upcycled fibers. The silhouettes are relaxed yet refined so you can wear the same dress or culottes at the beach and in the boardroom. I also love working with solid colors because of their timelessness.
You quit your day job after a decade in the retail industry working with companies like Bloomingdale’s and Warby Parker – what were your learnings along the way and what was it like to develop your own line?
My time at Bloomingdale’s was the ultimate retail bootcamp. I learned so much about data and consumer behaviors. My time at Warby Parker was a brand building dream. They are such a great example of paying attention to all the touchpoints. When it came time to developing my own line and brand, I drew from both experiences equally, creating a well-edited assortment and a brand with strong, consistent values.
Your collections are created with sustainable fabrics, including the use of deadstock materials – tell us about the importance of sourcing ethically.
Sustainability should be a given. If we’re not creating consciously and doing good in the process, what is the point at all? The khadi fabric is a perfect example of how sustainable fabrics are not only ethical but objectively better. I went to India to source this fabric, where it has deep roots in history. It’s all done by hand which is mind-blowing. The yarn is handspun and then loomed by hand by artisans. It creates this beautiful textured fabric that is breathable, super soft, and machine washable. The subtle variations, the practical nature – it's all very wabi sabi.
How do your travels inspire you and your collections?
Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about why I travel. It takes a certain level of honesty with myself to answer, “Do I travel to be inspired, learn, grow?” or “Am I traveling to escape something?” The ethos of Par en Par is about the duality of doing and not doing. I’ve found that sometimes opting to not take a spontaneous trip to complete a project is the right answer. Par en Par is about finding that right balance and pieces that enable you to do both.
The collections are very tightly edited – what does curation mean to you and what’s the creative process behind every garment?
I stand by the motto “Do not create just to create.” From working in the fashion industry, I’ve seen a lot of waste occur from trying to satisfy the larger ecosystem. It’s a tiny luxury I have to create only pieces I absolutely love and wear day after day. By designing with intention, I am constantly filtering out the noise and making sure every detail can stand the test of time.
What's next for Par en Par?
We’re launching a new collection inspired by the tranquility of monks (have you watched Chef’s Table episode on Jeong Kwan?!). It’s full of timeless, modern silhouettes in rich earthy colors. For the first time, I am working in raw silks, the ultimate upcycled fabric that is also machine washable. I can imagine all of my friends and women I admire in these pieces, and that gets me super excited.