Yara Flinn, 27

North 10th St and Driggs Ave, Williamsburg, Brooklyn

Photograph: Jay Muhlin

What do you do? I'm a designer. I have a small womenswear line called Nomia. I've been doing it for a few years. We sell at Steven Alan and Intermix.

Fancy. So you just snapped your fingers and you were a successful designer at 27? Actually, I got really lucky in the beginning. I had a friend who worked at Barneys. One day, she had a meeting with some buyers and she wore a dress I'd made. She worked it so much that they put an order in for me. So I got an order from Barneys my first season. But then I didn't get an order from them the next season, so then I got unlucky. [Laughs]

What does Nomia mean? I chose Nomia in part because of my name. Nomia is a Greek nymph and Yara is a mermaid from an indigenous Brazilian myth.

So are you hydrophilic? [Laughs] Uh. Let me work my Latin roots... water-loving? Yeah. I love the beach so much. The water has so much power. And I have this weird fear of shipwrecks.

What's the story of Yara? Well, it was probably just a snake or a sea monster, but Portuguese sailors said Yara was a mermaid who'd sing and comb her hair on a lily pad in the Amazon—men would be enchanted by her singing and go to be with her and they'd drown.

So basically you're a man-killer. True in 2010 Brooklyn, too? Oh, no no no. I'm a lover. [Laughs]

More from Yara

"My Dad is Irish-Norwegian—well, he's an American guy from the Midwest, really—and my mom is Brazilian, so my name is like a representation of my recent ancestry."

"I'm, like, the head of Nomia and also the intern. I'm the everything. It's kind of intense, but I worked in an office for a couple of years and I prefer being stressed out to feeling like I have no purpose in life."

"I've lived in Bed-Stuy for three years now. The people are chill; there are a lot of families. I think people are more open to each other there than they are in Williamsburg. It's changing, though. I have mixed feelings about gentrification—it's hard when that's what people can afford, but you don't want to push out the people who already live there."