INTERVIEW: YEGANG YOO OF IMAGO-A

ONE OF OUR NEWEST DESIGNERS CARRIED AT OAK IS IMAGO-A. A LINE OF BROOKLYN MADE, SLEEK LEATHER HANDBAGS. MELLANY HAD THE CHANCE TO SPEAK TO THE DESIGNER, YEGANG YOO FOR THE SCOOP ON THE LINE & ALL THINGS BROOKLYN.

What’s your name & what do you do?: My name is Yegang Yoo, I design for and run IMAGO-A, a Brooklyn-based handbag and accessories line.
Hometown?: Seoul, South Korea
Years in NYC?: I’ve been here over twelve years, minus a year in London, a year in China, and several months in Milan.

How do you think OAK represents your brands aesthetic and is fit to carry your brand?: I always associate OAK with a clean and minimal yet interesting aesthetic, with an architectural flavor. The Prism handbags fit perfectly into this aesthetic, and hopefully they’ll be a great addition to the OAK collection and the amazing lines OAK carries – they always keep a very strong, focused collection and I’m really excited to be a part of it. And OAK and IMAGO-A are both based in Greenpoint !
I know you’re based in Brooklyn… whats your relationship with Brooklyn like?: I have lived in Greenpoint, Brooklyn since 2003 – almost 10 years, minus a few years working abroad. I’ve always considered Brooklyn home, and have seen a lot of dynamic changes, particularly in north Brooklyn neighborhoods. It’s been always an exciting yet amazingly comfortable place to be, and every time I’ve been away for work, I’ve always missed being here. At this point, I cannot see myself living anywhere else in the world.

Why the emphasis on Brooklyn based production?: Brooklyn- or NYC-based production in general gives me the amazing opportunity to work directly with local craftsmen living and working here. I can communicate with them in a much more hands-on way, which gives me opportunities to experiment more with unusual ideas. I can be more experimental without risking too much time and effort wasted, as I can jump in and solve problems right then and there, as opposed to, for example, having pieces come back late and wrong from asia, and having to try to communicate these very physical things through phone and email, wait for international shipping, and potentially go back and forth like that for long periods of time. It’s much more interesting and rewarding for me to be completely involved, know who I’m working with, ride my bike to the factory and figure things out.

What are some of your favorite BK spots to shop…? eat…?: I am not a huge shopper – and shopping happens more online these days for me – however it is always a great pleasure to be checking out tastefully curated local stores such as Raised by Wolves, Alter, OAK, Joinery, Mociun, Bird, A&G merch … the local staples. There’s a lot of great food in the area… Paulie Gee’s pizza is hands-down my favorite pizza in New York. Le Gamin on Franklin St. is great for brunch (love the Croque Madame!), Anella’s seasonal dishes always hit the spot. Selamat Pagi is a recently opened Balinese restaurant near McGolrick park, has a great flavor and atmosphere.
What is your favorite bar in Brooklyn?: Right now, Habitat is my favorite local Greenpoint bar — hard not to like a place where you can have a $5 mac and cheese, a pint of ale, and watch a triptych of Patrick Swayze films all at the same time.
Any advice to designers looking to keep production based in NYC?: Pricing can be difficult with high development and production costs — if you can work that out, it can be most rewarding !

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