A conversation with Omar Egas, the designer, founder, and creative director of Staff NYC.
Omar Egas is an American designer from New York; the designer, founder, and creative director of Staff NYC is an Ecuadorian native, with Incan roots, who is known for his edgy designs and innovative approach to fashion.
Staff NYC has quickly gained a following for his work, which blends streetwear and high fashion to create unique collections. He draws from every aspect of his background and cultures and weaves it into aesthetics found in the designer’s clothing. The culture of Omar’s life can be seen within his work: his Incan heritage, the New York City culture, and his Ecuadorian background. His upbringing before moving to New York was a bit different.
“In Ecuador, we didn't have the luxury you have being born into this [United States] country. Just simple education was different.
Once I came here, it allowed me to see a different opportunity in this new world, and it made me mature fast at a young age. My upbringing doesn't reflect my work but the situations of my upbringing have allowed me to work and design a bit differently.”
Egas’ designs are characterized by bold colors, graphic prints, and unexpected details that make them stand out from the crowd. He says that "Staff is made from my native Inca viewpoint of a mix of New York Streetwear and High Fashion." He feels "blessed" that he was born in Ecuador, he feels it gives him a certain perspective on art and fashion. Omar is very communal and family-oriented which brings the community and individuals who have become his team and his personal friends/family, and "it makes us make clothing with love." Omar Egas makes his clothes with love and intention, to spread a message of community and connection. He tells upcoming designers that “the best resources are your own community and people. At times when there's no financial resource the best is to talk to your community and friends and see how close your vision can come into being with everyone taking a part in it."
The Ecuadorian native began to design in high school, where he found himself wanting certain clothes he saw on the “cool kids,” but was unable to attain them due to funds. So, instead, he worked on his own clothes. He would buy knock offs of name brands from vendors on Canal St., and sew it into the lining of his pants. From there he started to design and create clothes for himself, printed shirts, incorporated his own personal styling, and it is history from there. His self-starter attitude got him through his twenties, led him to his modeling career, and viral creation of the 360 Brim Yankee Hat.
“Greatness is not rushed, but help is always welcome.”Omar Egas
"The 360 Yankee Brim became a start and an end of many things. It ended a period of tunnel vision. The hat blew up, and it made it possible for me to picture myself bigger, and it gave me confidence. The viral part (thanks to “New York Nico” and a friend “Luc”) gave me the push to make more and start thinking about other garments.” While eternally grateful and motivated by the virality, Omar Egas is motivated by his family, especially his mother. His mother taught him to be independent and self-sufficient in problem solving. Knowing this about Egas, it is easy to say that without the viral hat, he would still be a successful designer with a loving community supporting him. In his own words, he says, “Greatness is not rushed, but help is always welcome.”
I had the pleasure of meeting Omar when we both modeled for Peder Cho’s Utopia NYFW Debut in February 2023. We instantly connected, as if we had known each other our entire lives, and he has taken me under his wing as his Brand Coordinator. We work as a team, teamwork is a motif that is clear and apparent through the brand's productions and work, especially clear in the brand’s name: Staff NYC. Omar says Staff NYC and its name "has no cool story on how it came to be. It came from an idea to have made-up companies in which we will make their “STAFF” uniforms so people could relate wearing the same T-shirt." Egas ran with the name. As part of Staff NYC I have been lucky enough to watch the collection come together; side by side with Omar, I helped produce the release of his Season 2: Shinjuku Underground.
Shinjuku Underground “references the famous Shinjuku district in Tokyo known for its vibrant nightlife and underground subcultures. This name evokes a sense of mystery and excitement, while also emphasizing the Japanese roots of my collection.” Egas began to study and take inspiration from the fashion in the manga he has been reading for his entire life, and incorporated it into designs. Additionally, he found inspiration in his Incan/Ecuadorian and New York culture. This background initiated his Yankee Brim design; hats designed with the “intention to join the hood into high fashion by bringing two cultures together and into the light.”
The collection is reflective of himself, growing out of this stagnant place he found himself in for a bit. When he first showed it all to me, he said, “When it’s all on the ground, it’s supposed to look like the earth, like dirt and grass and sh–.” The collection is full of natural colors, often layered upon each other. The primary colors of the collection are green and brown, with skyish blue hues, sunny yellows and oranges, and speckled with natural reds and pinks. With the collection covering his studio apartment’s floor, it felt like it was the ground, just in fabric form.
Staff NYC's potential is untapped. Egas is aware of its value, and is aiming to grow Staff NYC's name and influence, and knows his first step is to finish putting a solid team together, and has worked towards that by adding stylists, a brand coordinator, and videographer to his team.
We know the founder of Staff NYC will be taking it to the next level as he plans to continue to release into higher fashion as the year continues. Staff NYC plans to nurture its public persona in New York, and to further grow the continuity over the summer with Season 2’s release. We are excited to see which part of his life Egas taps into next for his next collection.
Written by Portia Rowley
Quotes courtesy of Omar Egas
BTS Photos by Dia Crosse
Shoot Photos by Gabriel Fiallos
Production: @staffnyc with @hotspotcreatives
Head of Production: Omar Egas @oma_art and Portia Rowley @portiarowley
Visit the Staff NYC website here.