Yung Creatives is a series profiling talents of tomorrow across various fields, disciplines and mediums. Skilled in commerce and creativity, find out why these guys are generating significant buzz in the industry.
Meet Sam Sage, a 17-year-old high school student living in West Hollywood, Los Angeles. With an IG following that clocks in at just over 23K, you might be wondering what Sam actually does for a living. Unlike many of his peers, Sam is already cutting his teeth with the big wigs in the fashion industry by launching his very own label, SAGE, and is well on his way to becoming the next big name in streetwear.
We asked Sam why he started his own label, what he thinks about people taking advantage of “the youth” and why he won’t go to college.
How old are you?
What’s your background?
I’m Korean and was born and raised in LA. I grew up in Chino Hills, but I’m currently based in West Hollywood. My dad used to be a photographer for Vogue and Elle in Korea and my mom was a makeup artist—so fashion was always in the family. I started getting interested in it when I couldn’t afford the stuff I wanted so I decided to make my own stuff.
When did you start your brand?
A year and a half ago.
Where do you make your products?
Everything is done in LA and Orange County.
Why did you start the brand?
I first started the brand because I simply couldn’t afford the stuff that I wanted.
What’s the price point of your brand?
Pants are $285, hoodies are $330 and shirts are $145-150.
What stores do you see your brand sitting in?
The Box, Resolve, (hopefully) SSENSE. But right now we are just a collection.
What are some your influences?
Definitely California and the people.
Would you say he’s your mentor?
Yeah, and a big inspiration.
Do you have any other mentors?
Not mentors, but people that inspire me—like Kendrick Lamar. Most of my designs are based on my life experiences. The storyline is about a boy in a small town dreaming to make real relationships with people.
He basically gives up that rural life to pursue something bigger, but in real life he’s all alone and stuck and lonely in shallow waters. And the big world in this story is Hollywood, and that’s the story behind this collection.
You’ll see that its graphics go back to nostalgia, broken promises, things like that. He’s wanting to go back to his past. The graphics are established with glitter so that’s the juxtaposition with the starboy lifestyle.
How would you describe your consumer?
It’s for the kids. I’m 17. One thing I don’t like is when old people try to appropriate a culture, I guess.
What do you think makes your brand different from other labels out there right now?
First off, it’s young. The first collection is called “17 Years,” and is based on emotion, nostalgia and love. I wouldn’t see myself as just a “T-shirt and hoodie brand” because there are essential outerwear pieces like denim jackets and flannels that are emblazoned with glitter print graphics and prints that are reminiscent of childhood.
I want people to know that we don’t follow a fashion calendar. There’s no Fall/Winter, Spring/Summer; it’s whenever. I hope this first collection avalanches an obvious growth but I just want to tell a story while using high-end silhouettes and fabrics. Hopefully we can have a ball rolling and sell to a few retailers every time we drop. Hopefully I influence the culture and show what the youth culture actually is.
What’s your take on LA’s fashion scene?
I feel like LA as a whole is one of the biggest cities for fashion. I see a lot of brands coming out of LA. I just want to contribute to the culture that LA has right now and show another side of it from a high school kid’s standpoint.
What do your peers think of your brand?
They like it. Obviously we’re just starting—so there’s gonna be people that hate it, but that’s what really drives a brand.
Are you still in school?
Yeah I’m a senior in high school.
Do you plan on continuing your education?
It’s a personal preference. I feel like when I go to uni, since I got a pattern making, graphics, etc. I got the production down and the technicality but when it comes to creativity, I don’t think someone can teach you that. It comes down to your life experiences, so I’d rather go out and experience life and design based off of that.
What’s next for you?
Locking down retailers, continuing to build the brand, and building a huge empire.
Need more fodder in your IG feed? Check out @michel_e_b’s erotica-charged photos.