A Conversation with Terry Cho, founder of Exchange Program
A Ma Maniére x Exchange Program, The Exclusive Capsule Available April 16th.
Exchange Program was created by Terry Cho in the midst of a pandemic, in the heart of New York City. Cho reflected on his challenges, the community that became his family guiding him in life, and the connection of how those challenges are familiar to others but in different ways. The actual student exchange program, created in 1982, was a form of getting students to experience other environments and cultures for personal growth. As a Korean immigrant, Terry was able to poetically align his life story to the global understanding of the program, focusing on how his community allowed him to grow in his new environment while sharing his own point of view.
Terry Cho has created a six piece capsule, exclusively for A Ma Maniére, aligning both ethos into the graphic design elements. Embroidery “A” work, iconic to the A Ma Maniére brand, overlaps on Exch”A”nge Program, combining the two worlds.
How does Exchange Program connect with your life story?
I would say Exchange Program was an experience I came across in my life unknowingly before it became a brand. It was based on how I connected with people. Me being an immigrant, moving to America at a young age, soaking up the experience, and giving mine in exchange was already the main ethos of the brand. I would not be who I am today without the people I was lucky enough to encounter in my life and those who have shared their knowledge and stories with me, it’s what THE exchange program is. Many don’t have the chance to meet people outside of their immediate environment. Exchange Program offers a platform for those who are looking for different experiences through the storytelling of the brand and our collaborators.
What emotion do you hope to evoke through Exchange Program?
I hope to evoke the feeling of being able to do things in the most unconditional ways, there is more than one way to do anything in this life, this feeling can be achieved by learning and experiencing new things across all different lifestyles and backgrounds. “To learn is to coexist,” is our brand slogan, meant to be a medium for exchanging ideas in the most organic way, which is what Exchange Program is. I want to bring worlds together to create juxtaposed solutions in everything we do. I want to open people's minds to unconventional thinking through other people’s stories, allowing us to feel the encouragement to do the same... the feeling of IF they can do it, I can do it too. The brand doesn’t carry just one meaning, it's about everyone’s stories and each one is so important because it may affect someone differently. All in all, Exchange Program carries a unique and special meaning to everyone as they relate to it in their own way. It's okay to think differently about my brand, I want them to, no one is wrong!
How would you describe the capsule created for A Ma Maniére?
The capsule for A Ma Maniére is simple and clean. The idea was to create a timeless graphic, in a way a new logo that marries the main ideas of both Exchange Program and A Ma Maniére. We didn’t want to dig too deep and over expand on graphics that may take away room for self interpretation. We want it to mean something to whoever is a part of it, for their own particular reasons. The collection draws energy from being a part of something bigger than “one” and we are all a part of certain things for our own reason. The greater picture remains the same. ALL WE ASK IS TRUST.
What are you currently listening to, to stay creative?
I listen to a lot of different music but to be quite honest I have been listening to Boards of Canada, Aphex Twins, and more sounds than lyrics lately. I think this gives me room to dwell in my thoughts when being creative instead of having forced direction. It gives room for imagination, error, forgiveness, growth and sometimes accidental perfection (which when this happens, it’s the best feeling).