Downtown Los Angeles is teeming with self-made entrepreneurs and born visionaries. We sporadically run into one another walking down the street or by coincidence at a bookstore or local coffee shop. With the dawn of Technology, we are all just an e-mail away. Bo Vu, Founder of Green Eggs & Yams, originally reached out to SUSPEND in May 2013 and since then, I’ve watched the diligent cut-and-sew artist slowly craft his independent brand, one shirt and bucket hat at a time.
DIANE ABAPO: Hey Bo! How did Green Eggs and Yams originally come about? When did you first start your adventures with a sewing machine?
BO VU: I popped my sewing cherry in 2008 at art school. Been having intercourse with her ever since. Green Eggs & Yams was inspired by me being broke, lost and wanting a different route outside the corporate world inside one of the biggest cities in the real world. I didn't get taxed on my education to build another man’s empire.
One of the main aesthetics about your hand-sewn pieces are the actual pattern fabrics that you use. I know back in May of last year, your products at the time were heavily focused on the Dr. Seuss fabrics and fabric that had nostalgic youthful prints with balloons, cartoon characters, etc. How important is maintaining that aesthetic for you? Can you walk us down what it’s like when you go fabric shopping? Are you going after a certain feeling when you pick your fabric?
BO: Very important. I grew up on urban-influenced fashion. It's bold, it's loud, it's vibrant, [and] expressive. I feel that street fashion today is very safe. Very monochromatic. Although I respect it - that's not street fashion to me. Therefore, I create what raised me: Bold, loud, vibrant and expressive.
You were kind enough to actually show our photographer, Chris Cash, the process of making one of your bucket hats during this actual photo shoot [which Chris was able to keep, as pictured here]. What’s going on in your mind whenever you sew one of your pieces? Is there a particular piece you’ve made thus far that holds special meaning to you?
BO: To be honest, I have a love-hate relationship with sewing. I'm more obsessed by the post-high effect of a completed piece than the actual process. And the sewing process for each piece is pretty mentally draining.
Compare sewing to painting for a second: Imagine me painting on a blank canvas and the end result is this masterpiece. People adore it. People are demanding for the art. I supply it. But after painting the same masterpiece 15 times, the piece eventually begin to lose [its] purpose. The piece then becomes a monster of my own creation. I then become a slave to my own creativity. So, I try not to hold any emotional attachments to my art. It's for the world to appreciate.
You recently moved to a new warehouse in Downtown L.A. It’s huge! What’s your take on Downtown L.A. right now and, as Deuxpree was telling me during our conversation, what was growing up in Florida like?
BO: I love Downtown L.A. It's a beautiful struggle out here. Growing up in Florida was a blessing. It made me hungrier to be out here. All my friends that I grew up with in Florida are out here building with me. They're my brothers, and my only family out here. Fake smiles and cold handshakes are still foreign to us.
Tell us about what’s in store for Green Eggs & Yams. What’s the one dream you have for the brand?
BO: Nothing too fancy. I want a couple boutiques in the cut somewhere in Asia. Hopefully Vietnam.
As a fellow Asian-American, I am fully supportive of all the ground-work you do not only with Green Eggs & Yams but as an active member in the Asian-American urban community. Have you had any experiences growing up that really had an impact on you as a person now? Going off of that, what’s the one best piece of advice you’ve received?
BO: Yes, growing up as a first-generation here in America, I had to basically teach myself how to be American and survive here. But I'm grateful. I have Asian tendencies and American sensibilities. I owe everything to my parents. With that being said, my best piece of advice ever received was that all trends eventually die. Why die for the hype when you can live forever?
PHOTOGRAPHY © CHRIS CASH EXCLUSIVELY FOR SUSPENDMAG.COM
LOCATION – $WEATSHOP LA
INTERVIEW – DIANE ABAPO