South Korean pop star turned New York-based handbag designer Sang A eschews the It Bag for stylish, practical purses real women can use over multiple fashion seasons.

The It bag has gone the way of fat investment banking bonuses: out of style. Women nowadays prefer to invest their money in a purse that doesn’t come with an expiration date.

That’s where Sang A Im-Propp comes in. The former pop star (the South Korean native was the Gwen Stefani of her home country) turned much-buzzed-about accessories designer has earned a strong cult following for her eponymous handbag line, which is timeless, yet modern and edgy. She’s become a hit on the red carpet with celebrities such as Blake Lively, Rihanna, Kerry Washington and Freida Pinto who love her quirky take on the evening clutch. But it’s her unexpected spin on everyday, functional bags — such as a python tote that doubles as a laptop carrier — that appeal to working girls.




How would you describe your collection?
It’s about the stand-out piece.  The collection expresses my aesthetic, which I describe as modern classic with a dose of whimsy. But this season, I chose truly original materials and colours that would give my customer a wonderful statement piece.  

Who or what is your primary influence as a designer?
I observe everyone around me, and I am inspired by these observations of individuals’ lives. 

Is that where the functional aspect of your work comes in?
Living in Manhattan, I see the mix of fashion and function here. Women are ready to take trends from the runway but there is always a wearability to their style. Fashion has to be a functional part of our lives. And in this day and age, you want to be able to get your money’s worth out of an item if you’re going to spend on it.

You were a famous pop star in South Korea before leaving it all to move to New York and study fashion. Was fashion your first passion?
It has always been a vehicle for me to express myself. My style of dressing from a young age in Korea gave me an individuality that people recognized.

How would you describe your own personal style?
My style is all about contrast, mixing designer pieces like a pair of Converse with a Martin Margiela black dress.  I am a very dramatic person and I dress to match my mood for the day.


Check out Sang A’s bags at

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