Boys Town // SSAP

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Street poetry is her everyday, and NYC designer Mel Sangsomsap is infusing a radical dose of elegance to her menswear line SSAP. In her eyes, streetwear is impeccably polished, with unexpected details and urban-dwelling influences.  The Arcade chats with the designer about her home city, breakdancing and the often-surprising seeds of her inspiration.

How did you start your career as an independent designer?

I started the line right after I graduated from Parsons. Fashion design is actually my second degree, so I really had no time to fool around. I always knew that I wanted to have my own brand so I decided that it was time to make it happen

Being an independent designer, freedom is the best thing but self-discipline is very important.

Tell us about the inspiration behind your latest collection.

Subculture inspires me a lot. I think it’s cool being a minority in your own society. There is an effort that comes with it and being different leads to developing your own style. For this collection, my inspiration actually came from gang culture—the Paisley bandana, baggy pants…I think you get the idea.

You’ve mentioned that SSAP is inspired by the diversity of New York City.

If you get a chance to visit all the five boroughs, you will feel like you just traveled the world. New York is a home to all kinds of people and they are each beautiful and inspire me in their own way, without even trying.
Do you listen to music when you are designing?

Sometimes, but it is easy to get carried away in the music. I might find myself dancing instead of designing. Back in the day, I was really into breakdancing so I am kind of stuck on 80s and 90s classic hip hop and breakbeat. But for now, Pandora’s 90s hip hop station will do.

What’s up next for the collection?

New York bike messengers…there might be something there.

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