Meet the Designer: Sung Ah Choe

the sak designer qa

Tell us about how you got into handbag design.

I’ve been a designer for over 20 years. Went to Parson’s School of Design here in NYC and was an apparel designer for many years. On my first trip to Milan, I interviewed for & was hired to do European licensed apparel out of San Francisco. After working there, also with Levis and a startup, I noticed a sign for The Sak on the door of 440 Alabama Street. Having done a lot of knitwear, I knew of the crochet bags & found out who owned the company. I sent the CEO a letter, was hired quickly and have been with the company ever since.

Where do you find inspiration?

It’s mostly just inside me. I can’t turn images and thoughts off. I tell everyone I make a living based on my feelings. Whenever I feel creative block, I try to go somewhere quiet to do absolutely nothing or take a nap to quiet all the noise and focus on what wants to be the biggest idea. Of course, everything we see leaves its impression and becomes a part of us.

How do your designs reflect that inspiration?

That’s too complex to answer. I will say I love to try to get into The Sak woman’s psyche & design specifically for her. When it sells well, it’s like she’s saying, ‘Thank you!’ I love her!

How do you begin the design process?

There is no real beginning or end for me. Ideas from years ago come forward and get better or simply hit the right timing. It’s all cyclical. We follow a calendar, but for me it feels like a big wheel that comes on time & just picks up the whirlwind that happens to be flying out of my mind then.

crochet bag designer

Who’s the woman you envision when you design your collections?

I imagine an ageless, uniquely minded woman with a forever youthful spirit. She’s confident, globally influenced and doesn’t follow the crowd. She wears her personality. She knows what’s going on in fashion and only takes the bits she feels keep her relevant, fresh and modern.

What’s your go-to everyday bag?

They vary. Overall, they are some kind of pulled together looking crossbody bag. They can be a satchel, messenger, or bucket bag but because of the lifestyle here in NY, we must be able to go hands free. Usually, there has to be something kind of sexy about them…Cool hardware, a sensual shape, great material, unique graphic, or great detail.

What’s always in your bag?

A mirror, lipstick, lotion, keys, my Mastercard & Excedrin.

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You always look FAB, who are your style icons?

I don’t really have icons. I get bored too easily. I mostly admire sexy, smart, mature women who still look youthful & modern, but age appropriate. I don’t like when women look like they are wearing a costume to look like someone else. I LOVE when it’s obvious that their style is simply who they are. Amal Clooney, Angelina Jolie, Monica Bertolucci, Jessica Alba & Blake Lively come to mind.

Finish the sentence: Every girl needs _____.

Every girl needs an accessory that makes her smile.

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Shop signature crochet bags by The Sak, here.

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