Hi! I’m Rachel Park, a bespoke tie designer and founder of Rachel Park Designs. I’m also a triple-negative breast cancer survivor. During treatment, I used my sewing skills to create The ParkPuff™, a stylish chest-comforting, go-anywhere seatbelt pillow for breast cancer patients and also founded Survivor Moda.
I play piano.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
“Protect your peace.” As a breast cancer survivor, I have to prioritize my health above EVERYTHING – especially my stress levels. I’ve worked too hard to be on this side of cancer; I refuse to live the rest of my life miserable.
What message do you think every woman should hear?
You’re beautiful and deserve love – just as you are.
What is your favorite thing about where you live?
I’m a transplanted New Yorker now living in Los Angeles. I miss finding a good bagel and walking everywhere – but you can’t beat the L.A. weather! It was so instrumental in my healing. (During my chemotherapy, we got outside to the beach or mountains, if my energy allowed.)
Do you remember a specific time you overcame adversity?
After over a year of 15 rounds of chemotherapy, three surgeries and 32 radiation treatments, I am thankful to (still) be cancer-free! I’m lucky to almost officially have three years of NED (No Evidence of Disease).
Photo Credit: Caddie Hastings Photography
As a younger breast cancer survivor – especially of color – nobody looked like me in chemo rooms and support groups, and it’s very isolating. Often told, “I’m too young for cancer,” it’s important to me to put a face & voice to young breast cancer survivors to help them feel less alone. So much of cancer is spent feeling helpless…making the ParkPuff™ allows me to give back to the breast cancer community and feel like I am helping them in some way, if only to give them a little comfort during such a needed time.
What is your favorite meal?
Korean BBQ. Always!
What do you do on a daily basis to grow and move forward?
Every morning, I meditate, and every night, I add to my gratitude journal, which helps me focus on looking for joy during the day. Both daily practices help keep me centered and operating from a place of thankfulness.
What is one thing people would be surprised to hear about you?
I’m a Korean adoptee, but I used to live in Madrid. So, everyone expects me to speak Korean (I don’t)…and are surprised when I speak Spanish instead.
Have you ever had an extraordinary experience? Describe it!
I just walked in the AnaOno x #Cancerland New York Fashion Week show, which featured 30 breast cancer patient-models. As an introverted fashion designer, that is not the side of the runway I am ever used to being on! But I knew it was a once-in-a-lifetime-experience, and it was so INSPIRING to meet the other brave beauties who also walked the runway. I cannot thank my dear friend, Dana Donofree (founder of AnaOno Intimates) enough for that amazing HONOR.
What are your biggest passions?
Representation matters! As a menswear designer/breast cancer survivor/techie, it’s difficult to find stories of POCs – especially women – within those spaces, so I’m a strong advocate for sharing these stories of diversity. I now feature them on my “Style Signature” (sharing stories of menswear creatives of color) and “Survivor Spectrum” (sharing stories of young cancer survivors of color) blog series. I decided if mainstream marketing won’t highlight these INSPIRING stories, I WILL.
More About Rachel
Rachel Park is a tie designer and founder of Rachel Park Designs. Her distinct made-to-order ties have been custom-created for special weddings, received international press and also been worn on the Emmys® red carpet! As a triple-negative breast cancer survivor, she became committed to raising awareness for the issue. During breast cancer treatment, she founded Survivor Moda and used her sewing skills to create The ParkPuff™, a stylish chest-comforting, go-anywhere seatbelt pillow for breast cancer patients worldwide.