Sang A Im-Propp launched her collection of exotic skin and leather accessories in Spring 2006. She is known for her exceptional use of alligator, python, and ostrich skins, amongst others. She was inducted into the CFDA in 2010.
What influenced you to leave Korea and become a handbag designer following your career as an entertainer?
I was in NYC on a business trip and decided to study here…my studies led me to Accessories eventually after trying many different fields including Culinary Arts & Styling.
How did you decide to focus on skins? Where are you sourcing yours from?
I traveled a lot through Europe in my previous career [where I discovered] a wonderful French company (that’s actually owned by Hermès). When I visited, they had these beautiful alligator skins that I knew I had to use. I kept looking at the tiny swatches they had given me and finally my husband told me to just go for it. So he gave me that final push to make an alligator bag.
Have you found some skins to be more challenging to work with than others? Any your are still hoping to tackle?
Working with exotic skins is always a challenge, mostly because I design my own special finishes. Right now I am doing some work with leathers and embroidery, it is something totally new for me…
Do you have a best selling style? How often is a new one launched?
When I started out, my Jade bag, which is named after my daughter’s best friend, was a bestseller. My signature piece is the Flash clutch, which has a slanted parallelogram shape. It’s very different and it is my favorite clutch.
My favorite piece is the best selling Pop bag. I carry it every day and couldn’t live without it. The Pop is perfect for the everyday working woman…
How do you feel you benefited from the CFDA incubator program?
Being inducted as a member of the CFDA (Council of Fashion Designers of America) last year was a huge honor that has been, by far, the highlight of my Fashion career so far. I have to opportunity to work and connect with other amazing designers.
Your capsule collection with Daren Newman put a twist on your Flash clutch. Will their be more collaborations in the future?
I loved working with Daren and it was so much fun to work with a fellow artist. Working with my handbag collection I have always been dying to get into print work on my beautiful, soft lamb leathers. My FLASH clutch is the perfect canvas for all of these artists’ different mediums and graphic styles.
Was spring 2012 your first resort collection? What differentiates it from what’s to come for summer?
Yes, this is my first Resort collection. It is some thing new for me and it is expanding my brand into a more contemporary line.
You mentioned in an interview with Oakazine in May that you plan to design a line to clothing, will you incorporate skins? What can we expect?
I have always been more of a clothing person and as SANG A continues to grow, I plan to create a complete lifestyle brand. For example, I am already working on my apparel collection – stunningly chic dresses and perfectly tailored plaid coats…