“The Golden Child”
April 8, 2014

About 6 months ago, I was presented with an amazing opportunity to design a Faberge Egg that would be publicly shown and auctioned for charity. I was so honored at the moment that I did not immediately realize the significance of such an amazing project. As I accepted the offer, I learned how I would be 1 of 250 of the world’s leading creative working on this project. At first it was a huge sense of pride and excitement to be mentioned with this group of individuals. Then reality set in and I began to feel the anxiety of competition. I would be set amongst the world’s greatest artists, and my egg needed to be able to stand on its own. Coming from a fashion background I felt that I was an underdog. The other artists involved were the world’s greatest painters and sculptors. As I began to brainstorm ideas, I convinced myself that I could not paint or sculpt my egg because this was not my immediate expertise. I also felt it would be somewhat disrespectful and egotistical of me to think that I could possible paint or sculpt an item as well as these amazing artists who have dedicated their lives into a specific craft. Feeling under armed for this battle, I began to challenge my own mind and abilities. I learned to realize that I’m not actually a clothing designer or just a photographer or just an interior designer – my specialty was concept design. In all my endeavors, whether clothing or cars – or a photograph or a retail store – I look at the entire scope of a project and I try to give something new meaning or infuse a new concept. My work is never just what it looks like on the surface but there are many layers and details underneath. Everything has a very methodical approach and reason for being there. I then began to feel confidence in my vision and myself. My egg needed to stand for my concepts, my inspirations, my vision, and me. If I stayed true to what I always believed in – this would be an opportunity to communicate my message on a big stage. With this understanding I felt that my work could be shared with the rest of these great minds. Something that everyone could appreciate and also allow others to gain a better understanding of my perspectives on life and art and people as a whole. The egg is titled “The Golden Child” – the nickname I was coined very early in my career. The name conjures up ideas of royalty and history and my Chinese cultural upbringing. It also signifies my abilities in bringing together the western and eastern worlds. This global fusion of culture and perspectives is an underlying concept that runs across all my work. So the first step to making my egg was quite natural. I hand gilded the entire egg in 24K German Double Gold Leaf. This gold stands for the golden child and stands for luxury, but also serves as the heart or yoke of the egg. It was a way to embrace luxury without showing off. This gold layer intended to be covered. Similar to my aesthetic in fashion design, I enjoy using the world’s best and most expensive materials in a way for the user to enjoy and not necessarily for showmanship. There is a humbleness and reservation to how this luxury is implemented. For the second phase of the egg I acquired a Chinese antique – a pair of amazing fine china vases that were sculpted by one of Chairman Mao Zedong’s master porcelain masters. Mr. Yang Guang Yuan is still alive today, and is also one of the masters who crafted the 7501 series porcelain set that is now considered one of the most important porcelain series in the history of China. Although he had not produced pieces in recent times – the art he created over his career are showcased in the Palace Museum in Beijing and the Jingdezhen Museum of Porcelain, he is currently considered one of the greatest living porcelain masters in the world. These vases were then transported to my NYC studio where they were smashed. At first thought this process may be perceived as disrespectful to Chinese culture and art. But I felt that this shock was necessary in communicating my message. The pieces are then refractured into smaller natural break mosaic pieces. It is important to note that not one piece is alike. Each individual piece has different break points, angles, and the curves of each piece are different depending on which part of the vase they come from. Each piece is then hand set onto the golden egg. The process was similar to recreating a jigsaw puzzle by matching all the correct angles and curve lines to fit perfectly onto the egg and to appear as the original break lines were put back together. However, the trick is that none of the pieces are actually in its original place – so an entirely new pattern and art work is created via a blueprint of mosaic pieces all set equidistant apart (approximately 3mm in between each piece). The results are quite beautiful; a new modernized aesthetic appears, seemingly tying together a culture of thousands of years of tradition meeting the future of a globalized modern society. From my perspective I did not destroy the original work. Instead through this process the old art is transformed into a new body for a new audience and new world that most likely would have never paid attention to it. Underlying this project was a message I wanted to communicate. Being raised traditionally Chinese, as a child, my parents would force me to learn about my culture and heritage. I was required to learn about traditional Chinese art, dress form, food, and music. Whether or not I liked it, my family felt it was important to know where I come from. I was taught to always respect the history and understand why things were made and what the purposes of these things were. In 2014, I feel that this respect of the past has been somewhat lost by society and mass commercialism. The youth now speaks about artists as they were local celebrities and art that I was taught to admire now are simply tools in commercialism (via tees, reprints, to anything that can generate a dollar). My frustration wasn’t the sale of items, but more about the lack of education. Few actually make an effort to learn about the history behind the art, why the art was significant, and what its purpose was in time and how it has affected us. Something as simple as a fine china vase that has been produced for thousands years the same way – does anyone know why? I hope that people will enjoy this egg and also dig a little deeper. I hope everyone asks “why?” and we can begin the natural desire to learn more about something while respecting its history. The world is becoming smaller and I think it’s becoming ever more important to understand our roots and celebrate our vastly different histories because it is due to these traditions and experiences that we are where we are today – an amazing world of one people sharing and enjoying each others cultures, synergies, and ideas.

July 8, 2013

My colleagues found a picture of me from my old high school yearbook and next to my photograph was a quote that I had written back during high school. The quote read – “We take a handful of sand from the endless landscapes of life and we call that handful of sand the world.” As I began to read these words, a surge of memories ran through my mind. A range of emotions struck me immediately from a grey sadness of how fast time has past. As well as an intense moment of reflection of how lucky I was to have the opportunities and experiences that I have had in my young lifetime. I couldn’t believe how at such a young age I have always seemed to “challenge” life and myself. Here I am 12 years later reading this quote and doing exactly what I set out to do: and that is to walk the road less travelled and create my own roads and leave my own footprints. I was asked what exactly does this quote mean? When I wrote this I was a young teenager going to a school that is considered the #1 intellectual high school and academic competition madhouse known as Stuyvesant High School located in downtown NYC. This is the school that wins every single math and science competition in the last several decades and known as the #1 breeding house for most placements into Ivy League Universities in the nation. In this school there were truly geniuses and prodigy’s sitting amongst each other in classrooms. But there was one problem. I felt that the academic competition created this tunnel vision amongst all the students. Everyone “needed” to have the highest grades, the highest SAT scores, the most extra curricular hours on record, etc. I became really frustrated with the system, and the demands of this academic atmosphere and so when I graduated I wrote this single quote. We take a handful of sand from the endless landscapes of life and call this handful of sand the world. The world does not revolve around getting into Harvard. If we don’t get perfect scores on our SAT’s, life will continue. What we know and see is just a small handful of sand from an endless beach of knowledge and experiences. Sometimes we need to look beyond this handful of sand and let ourselves engulf in all the great things the world and life has to offer. *** Here are some photographs I took on a recent trip to Jamaica. Life is beautiful, open your senses and enjoy!

July 1, 2013

On the plane now heading to Tokyo. One of the few times where I have an opportunity to wind down, listen to some music, and let my mind relax. Currently I’m a big fan of Lykke Li… And I’m addicted to “I follow rivers,” maybe I’m late but good music is good music… As I listen to the lyrics I can’t help to think about the lyrics and how they can apply to me. After my long tough trip through mainland China, I’m beginning to see light at the end of the tunnel or in this case the end of the river? Oddly enough, water is a very superstitious matter in Chinese culture. Water is considered the roots of life and nature.

Everything around us starts, thrives, and continues to evolve because of water. In business, the Chinese believe water is related to prosperity and business success. Thus, many superstitious Chinese have ponds and waterfalls in their homes and offices. Now as I think back to the horrible mind state I was in several weeks back – I feel that I got out of my slump by following the water or in this case – following rivers. Water can be calm or it can be quite rough – but life is also that way – and whenever in doubt – just follow the river or follow your heart and your natural intuitions. Because the unbiased natural way or direction seems to end up being the best way. As you follow your own rivers always remember that rivers all lead to great open space and if you follow your mind and soul you will undoubtedly allow yourself to be free to enjoy your life and great energy. Here is an old picture of a river I found hiking through the hills of Jamaica a few years back.

June 15, 2013

This is a quote that has stuck with me since high school and as I travel around the world again my mind has began to wander. Typically I make 2 extended trips a year to Asia, to work on my future collections. And although I have embarked on these bi-annual trips for the last decade – Oddly enough each trip marks a new chapter in my life. I feel that I always experience something new and learn more about myself and my own endeavors on each and every one of these trips. As a teenager I would spend lots of my time thinking about the past and all the “what ifs?” – then another large fraction of my time I would spend day dreaming about the future – what I wanted to be and what I hoped to accomplish. One night it struck me to stop both of these thoughts. I realized the past cannot be changed and the future will always stay a dream unless I began to live in the present. I needed to focus on what exactly I wanted to accomplish and learn how to do it. After much success and recognition I find myself feeling a bit lost. With a twist of bad luck I have found myself sick and unhealthy. As I check into a local hospital in Shanghai for the 3rd time in 6 weeks I began to feel uncertain why I have punished myself in the way that I have. What am I looking for? I’ve pushed my mind and body to the limits but what am I pushing for? Is it the pressure of a perfect collection? Is it the unease of expanding my company? I know that I’m a perfectionist by nature – but I think I’m realizing that career/business success is not the end all in life. I have always been a preacher of working harder then anyone can imagine. To always do something to the best of ones ability or don’t try to do it all. But now at a moment of reflection I’ve had a slight change of perspective. I’ve been pursuing my career relentlessly to the point that I may have been blinded from what the ultimate goal really is. I think I have been caught up thinking/dreaming about the future that I forgot to take care of myself in the present and I may have also neglected reality. Career success is not the only thing that exists in the world. Without health and happiness all the success can be meaningless. I needed to cool down and think about my present self and position. I need to realize why I wanted to work in this business to begin with. I always said my job should be something I enjoy so I would never feel like I needed to work. I need to re-learn what drives me and what inspires me. I always wanted to create newness – to create ideas and products that people would enjoy. Unfortunately I now feel that the machine behind the fashion business has blind sighted me. I need to begin working for today again and aspire for the future but not let that idea control me. Most importantly, I need to take care of myself. The human mind and body can seem resilient but when it gives in you can quickly learn how vulnerable one really can be. In a sense I am glad reality has struck and I have my good ole quote to fall back on – because at the end of the day “the present is the only reality” and I guess I would like to share this and hope that everyone else may take a break during their endeavors even its for a quick second to check up on themselves. The journey to ones dream is a long and exciting one but always remember to love yourself and those around you. Because at the end of the day without your own health/happiness and without those who support you – there isn’t much to enjoy at all. Here are some pictures I have been taking along the way. Old town shanghai and Hong Kong – the world has leaped into the future but it’s always nice to see some good old history and culture. The nostalgic feeling is still one that touches my heart and stimulates my mind.

April 28, 2013

I wanted to use the quote “the journey of 1000 miles begins with a single step” then I realized that I had used that as my first blog post. So I guess this is the second step, but I do feel as though I am entering a brand new world with the opening of the Private Stock store. After 18 months of renovation, natural disasters, and NYC landmark politics – the world’s first Private Stock Flagship is open to the public in good ole SoHo NYC. This honestly is one of my biggest achievements and proudest moments in my life thus far. I feel like this store is the most elaborate and most detailed garment I have ever designed. I’ve never been a retailer nor do I claim to be a great one – but like everything else in my life I directed myself through feeling and the desire to do something different. 76 Wooster is definitely a labor of love and it’s basically my heart and soul transformed into a retail store. There are hidden gems and surprises planted throughout the space and I welcome everyone to come by and preview this exciting new piece of the Private Stock world. Please don’t be shy or intimidated by the look – just like Private Stock clothing I wanted the look of the store to really draw emotions. But as you begin to explore the space I hope you find the soft and fun details that Private Stock continually thrives to create and share with the world. Here are some photos of the space- please enjoy!

March 25, 2013

The year is 2528 and the world loses all political stability and society is engulfed in chaos, warfare and nomadic tyrants. Before we enter the “second” modern world we will all undergo a new revolution of people and political structure. AS WE UNDERGO THIS TRANSFORMATION NEW LEADERS WILL EVOLVE, JON KOON’S NEW PRIVATE STOCK COLLECTION IS A ROMANTICIZED IDEA OF WHAT TOMORROW’S EMPEROR, PRINCE OR TYRANT MAY BE WEARING Titled “The Emperor Has New Clothes,” the Private Stock S/S 2013 Collection is a prophecy towards the future of chic and luxurious active wear made for tomorrow’s emperor. In terms of styling, the inspiration was to be active and utilitarian without meshing the concepts of active athletics, utility work wear or utility military-styling. Instead, active and utilitarian are infused with the concept of royalty and dynasty to showcase tomorrow’s royal and luxurious drab. The fabrication of this collection was to develop luxurious fabrics that provided active characteristics. The silhouettes are honed to showcase utility while remaining progressively sharp looking and modern. Examples of this are the usage of silk, tencel, and linen for shirting, waterproof cotton-cupra coats, silk georgette jackets, primofine Australian cotton hand-knit sweaters, Japanese 8 oz cotton linen hand dyed denim, down to leather/nylon hand-polished slip-on lace-less wingtip sneakers. >>S/S 2013 COLLECTION LOOKBOOK

October 5, 2012

Titled “Future Vintage,” the Private Stock F/W 2012 Collection pays homage to vintage/antique clothing while maintaining its ideology of progressive fashion for the future. As opposed to “vintage” clothing in which classic silhouettes are aged to create an old feel and look, Private Stock takes progressive modern silhouettes and then takes those items through the vintage process. Essentially what we are offering is product in Fall 2012 that is designed for 2015 with the effect and finish as if the product was allowed to age until 2030. We are going back to the future and back again. Several different methods were employed to accomplish the “vintage”process. In creating the collection we tried to avoid the traditional method of garment wash and destruction to attain the “vintage” feel. Instead of simply washing these items, we attained “vintage” by constructing items with raw edge finishes matched with washed appliqués to create the feeling of age without destroying or wearing out the garment. As opposed to garment washing, we experimented with washing, burning, and fraying fabrics and trims individually pre-construction. The shirts and jackets are fabricated using refined luxurious fabrics and materials, while some of the silhouettes are free forming, allowing for some drape and body in select styles to reinforce post-modern future look. The concept of “vintage” is also touched upon in terms of referencing “classic” prints and artwork. The knits show maturity and age through nostalgic styled weaves and patterns while several sweaters are washed and dyed by hand to create vintage effect. These treated wool fabrics and vintage patterned fabrics are also used to create equestrian rider pants with oversized chunky sweater rib cuffs to compliment to future vintage look. A collection of “vintage” bags and briefcases were developed with futuristic styling and raw edge finishes. An example is the use of washed Italian calf leather pieced together into a madras pattern and then used to make an I-pad/laptop sleeve. Once again, the meeting of the old and new world mixed together to create a new product that stands to represent itself as “Future Vintage.” >>F/W 2012 COLLECTION LOOKBOOK

November 30, 2011

“I hear and I forget, I see and I remember, I do and I understand.” – Confucius Staying true to this quote, I’m busy traveling the world again. When I started working in fashion, one of my first major interests was production and exactly how things and products were actually made. Over the last decade I have travelled the world extensively visiting factories and sourcing for rare and exclusive fabrics and materials. My experiences and education that I received from traveling to all these various production facilities are invaluable in my understanding of product and design perspective. Against everyone’s concerns, I am in Japan working with my partners and working on new Private Stock optical and sunglass collection, as well as getting a healthy dosage of inspiration shopping. I’ve been coming to Japan for years now, and the Tsunami was devastating to the Japanese people and economy. I am glad to see the country begin to rebound from this horrible tragedy. The attitude in the air is positive and the people are seemingly more driven and focused then ever before.

September 16, 2011

Just experienced a uniquely pleasant cab ride to my hotel as I arrive in Hong Kong. Hong Kong cabbies are known to be quite interesting people. If you have the privilege of understating Cantonese – you will find HK cab drivers to be quite impressive storytellers and comedians. On today’s cab ride, my experience had a slight twist – and the dashboard was a showcase of a huge variety of small animated figurines – almost a little animated kingdom that was painstakingly constructed and maintained. After taking this picture I immediately began to daydream about how art can be found everywhere, even in something as common and casual as a taxi cab. This display of characters was awesome and uplifting and as a consumer I really enjoyed this cab ride and the creative expression of the driver. It proved to me that art is love and art can create happiness.

July 19, 2011

After 3 straight weeks of heavy production/factory work – I decided to take a break and visit my friend’s new hotel in the Liannan Mountains in Southern China. I met up with Calvin Yu, who I consider one of my best friend’s, also who was awarded top 10 most successful businessmen in China year 2010. He arranged for a car to take me up to the mountains where he reserved a suite for me in his new hotel. In Chinese culture, when someone of power tells you to do something, you usually should abide. This time I easily and gladly accepted his request. On the ride up, I was told that these mountains were greatly undiscovered and these roads were just put up 6 months ago. As the highway ended – we went off road for another 45 minutes before arriving at his hotel and the base of a range of mountains. After a perfect night’s rest we left the hotel early in the morning and began to ascend up the mountain. As we began our trek, I was given another surprise, as my friend was bringing me to visit a small town of 1000 people that have inhabited the top of these mountains for over 1800 years. On top of this, we were going to have dinner and spend the night in this ancient village. The views and pictures I took during this journey were awe-inspiring and simply breathe taking. As I reached the top of the mountains and peered back, my mind and body were simply elevated to another level, I felt as if I reached a new level of clarity. This “high” will never be forgotten and these mountains will be revisited many times in the future.

June 30, 2011

Hello World! Welcome to my blog. In a tribute to new beginnings I wanted to share a quote that is really close to me and also very influential to my life. “The journey of 1000 miles begins with a single step” – Lau Tzu This introductory blog is a first step in the new life of Private Stock – my first personal brand/collection. Throughout my young career I always referred to this quote in reference to many initiatives in life. I believe with anything in life before you are great you need to be good and before you are good you need to learn exactly what it is you are trying to do. The first step is a step that I would recommend everyone to take, always try to learn about something before making a decision. Also, this first step is important, because it refers to having a game plan and creating a strategy to accomplish your objectives, and most importantly, sticking to your game plan to accomplish your goals. In life, the world is ours, and there are many steps that can be taken, I hope everyone takes as many steps as they can, and hope they can enjoy their aspirations and experiences as much as I have in my own life journey. Here are some photos of Private Stock’s new USA showroom located in the heart of the NYC fashion district 214 W 39 St. NYC.