Funktional takes its name in part from founder Jennifer Park’s oft-uttered phrase, “I can’t function!” Clearly, that’s not the case: The New York designer’s first collection debuted for holiday 2009; two seasons later, she’s the toast of Need Supply, Oak, and Revolve Clothing. She even garnered a celebrity following after Rihanna was spotted wearing a Funktional cage dress, a piece that has been reordered numerous times by vendors. “I’ve seen knockoffs, and it’s kind of flattering,” marvels Park.
Despite graduating college with the intent of becoming a lawyer, Park found herself working at a talent agency that represented up-and-coming comedians. Clients took a liking to her personal style and would request help dressing for appearances. Eventually she left the agency to study design, taking a gig at a contemporary brand that folded shortly thereafter; that experience inspired her to found Funktional, whose name also speaks to Park’s desire to create versatile pieces. A dress can be tucked in and worn as a top, draping can be rearranged, and so forth. Citing Ann Demeulemeester, Gareth Pugh, and Rick Owens as some of her favorite designers, Park’s line embodies accessible deconstruction. “My aesthetic is grandma-meets-grunge,” says Park. “I love Nirvana and the grunge era but it’s still clean-cut enough to meet your grandma.” Best of all, most pieces cost less than $200. Click ahead to see a slideshow of our favorite pieces from Funktional’s fall 2010 collection.